Book Reviews: June 2018

I’m kind of indifferent to all of this month’s read, but here we are:

Word by Word by Kory Stamper:

It’s interesting how all of the books on language I’ve read so far all have the same sentiment: language changes, so despite how you feel about them, even words like “irregardless” have their places in the dictionary. This book, which revolves around the author’s time as an editor for Merriam-Webster, reinforces this more than anything else. It’s quite funny and reveals some interesting things about dictionaries as well as the persons behind them (actually I never even thought about the writers and editors of the dictionaries at all, but now that I think about it, dictionaries, like any other book, need to be written by someone). 4/5

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevallier:

I took this with me on my trip to Da Nang. Since it’s a beach trip, I figured a book about two women hunting for fossils on the beach of England in early 19th century would be appropriate. It’s too bad that the book itself is boring. There are some interesting bits about fossil hunting and the way women are written out of history, but none of those really pans out. I don’t connect with either of the narrators (Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot), and I hate the fact that when they have a falling-out, it is because of a man. So much for feminism. 2/5

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco:

I saw the movie adaptation of this a long time ago, and all I remembered about it was Sean Connery and Christian Slater in funny haircuts solving a series of murders at a monastery. The book is so much more than that. In fact, the murder mystery part is only incidental to the book. It is mostly a book on Christianity, philosophy, history, and much else. However, it is the murder mystery part that I’m interested in – it’s basically medieval Sherlock Holmes (the main character’s name is William of Baskerville, and in the movie he even says “It’s elementary.”) So I admit, I skimmed through a lot of the other parts to get back to the mystery, which becomes frustrating after a while. Just as the mystery is getting interesting, it is interrupted by a long discussion about the poverty of Christ or a description of an altar or a hallucination or something like that. And of course, being only incidental, when the mystery does get resolved, it feels anticlimactic. I’m not saying it has to be some stupid conspiracy like The Da Vinci Code or something, but I wish the murder mystery could have been a little more intergrated into the whole thing. 3/5


2 Comments on “Book Reviews: June 2018”

  1. Kezzie says:

    I really enjoyed The Name of the Rose when I read it. All that stuff about the hidden library and the mad monk was fab! It IS very dense though!x

    • Salazar says:

      Yeah, I really had to slog through it. I have read some dense books, and I don’t mind if the denseness actually served the plot. Here, it feels like two different books combined into one.

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