Monday, January 26, 2015


Named as one of the ten best books of 2013 by New York Times, Americanah has been on my 'to read' list for some time. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Two Nigerian high school students fall in love, one moves to England, one to the US, and they both end up back in Nigeria. That's the bare bones of the plot. There's so much more to the book. Against the backdrop of the love story, there unfolded a nuanced description of family, ambition, separations, and race. Especially race. The distinction of being an NAB - non American Black and how your attitudes are so different from those of American Blacks. The significance of letting your hair go natural instead of continuing to use relaxants (which by the way sound like cruel and unusual punishment).

I enjoyed the book and recommend it.

Links to past book reviews, with some of my favourites at the top:
Non Fiction:
The Innovator's Dilemma
The Wave: In Search of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean (my most viewed book review)
Curiosity (my second most viewed book review)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 
The Checklist Manifesto
The Lean Start-up
The Upside of Irrationality
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Steve Jobs
Global Warring

Life After Life
A Possible Life (I love anything by Sebastien Faulks)
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Rules of Civility
The Taliban Cricket Club
The Vault
Before I Go To Sleep
A Son of the Circus
Still Alice
Faithful Place
Defending Jacob
The Strangler
The Help
The Housekeeper and the Professor

Some series I've liked:
Donna Leon's series about the Venetian detective Guido Brunelli: A Question of Belief
Canadian Peter Robinson's series about British detective Alan Banks: Before the Poison, Bad Boy
James Church books about a North Korean detective: A Corpse in the Koryo, Hidden Moon, Bamboo and Blood, The Man with the Baltic Stare
Gianrico Carofiglio's series about an Italian policeman: Involuntary Witness
Jo Nesbo's series about Norwegian detective Harry Hole: The Redeemer, The Redbreast, Nemesis
Alexander McCall Smith's series about the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Andrea Cammillieri's books about Sicilian Inspector Montalbano: The Shape of Water
Martin Walker's series about French local policeman Bruno, Chief of Police
Louise Penny's detective series set in the Eastern Townships of Quebec: Still Life
Jussi Adler-Olsen's series about Danish detective Carl Morck: The Keeper of Lost Causes
Ruth Rendell's books about Chief Inspector Reg Wexford
Arnald Indridsadon's books about Finnish detective Erlendur: Arctic Chill, Hypothermia and Outrage

Other books I've also liked:
The Spoiler
The Secret Race
The Blondes
San Miguel
The Better Angels of our Nature
The Believing Brain
Hellstrom's Hive
22 Britannia Road
The Imposter Bride
Murder as a Fine Art
The Invisible Bridge
This Body of Death
Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air
Berlin Crossing
The Marriage Plot
The Paris Wife
The Forgotten Affairs of Youth
Turn of Mind
The Secret Speech
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
The Makioka Sisters
Suite Francaise
The Man from Beijing
At Bertram's Hotel
Red April
You Are Not a Gadget
Five Smooth Stones
River of Gods
Nasty, Brutish and Short: The Quirks and Quarks guide to Animal Sex and Other Weird Behaviour
The Ghost
The Council of Dads
The Elements
The Elephant, The Tiger and the Cellphone
The Janissary Tree

Some books I didn't like very much:
A Perfect Heaven
Potsdam Station
The End of the Wasp Season
The Dark Room
Dead or Alive
A Vintage Affair
The Finkler Question
When the Devil Holds the Candle

Sunday, January 11, 2015

What's in a Word? Handy

Speaking of great German technology words, I also love Handy, for mobile phone. In Canada, we use the silly term cell phone, which describes things from the point of view of the communications provider, who owns the cell tower, rather than the user, who wants mobility. We're at least starting to use the term mobile phone now, but wouldn't Handy be even nicer? Such a lovely double meaning in English, something convenient and something you carry in your hand.

Here's a web page to help you choose your mobile device - the Handy Finder. Note the rest of the page is in German. Is there a rule that when you use one word of Denglisch (Deutsche Englisch) you can only modify it with another word of Denglisch or English?
When I was looking to make sure I had the correct information about Handy, I found this delightful collection of English words used in German. Note that these pseudo English words don't always mean exactly what they mean in English, as with Handy.

I seem to have suddenly had a run on commentaries on Words:
Digital Slime