Monthly Archives: April 2011


News: The Rise and Fall of Languages

Posted 28 April, 2011 by Lianne in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

So despite my grovelling and whining about hammering grammar rules and vocab words into my head (which, btw, I have to start doing again soon for the second round of my Russian translation exam), I am rather intrigued by languages and its development, transformation and dissemination over time. Friends have caught my attention that new studies have been made concerning its development and I’ve actually picked up last week’s issue of The Economist to read their article on it (have yet to read Doctors Atkinson and Dunn’s articles on their take on language); while I find some time to read it, you can read it yourself over at Economist.com.

In the meantime, I came across this article a few weeks ago about languages–Language at risk of dying out – the last two speakers aren’t talking–and it just struck me how language is constantly changing: some become the franca lingua and others grow into disuse and eventually die out. I was reading some of the comments to this article and the ones that talk about how people should just let the unused languages die out frustrate me because, as I’ve learned through my research and my studies, languages are important to a distinct culture, a distinct national/ethnic/social identity. To ignore it, let it die, erase it without some record is essentially to let unique culture die. People may laugh off humanities and cultures as unimportant compared to economics, sciences and politics but it’s just as important because in a way it tells us who we are as people. I mean, try telling the people in Basque Country that because their language is not significant enough for trade on the international level that their language should just be allowed to die out—they’ve been fighting for over two centuries for their right to retain their heritage, identity and, most importantly, their language. It’s an important cultural factor and I appreciate those who go out to record these languages before they completely become dead.

This article also caught my attention some time ago although I realised upon reading it that it’s a bit hefty to go through because it’s a French philosopher who wrote it -_-; She makes it sound like Sarkozy is some kind of communist who wants to do away with the past, including the structure of language. While I understand that the French have been fighting tooth and nail to ensure that French continues to be an important language on the scene (as I understand it, the French are growing concerned that it’s not adapting as fast as English and Mandarin to the ever-changing vocabulary of the modern age), this article comes off more as an attack on Sarkozy the political figure as opposed to the overarching concern of the state of the French language. But there it is for anyone who’s interested in checking it out.

Review: A Feast of Crows

Posted 28 April, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

A Feast of Crows
By: George R.R. Martin

After centuries of bitter strife, the seven powers dividing the land have beaten one another into an uneasy truce. But it’s not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters of the Seven Kingdoms gather. Now, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous alliances are formed while surprising faces–some familiar, others only just appearing–emerge from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges of the terrible times ahead. Nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages, are coming together to stake their fortunes…and their lives. For at a feast of crows, many are the guests–but only few are the survivors.

Okay, this isn’t so much a review as it is a bit of a commentary on the book as there a few things that struck me about it and a number that didn’t interest me as much. I also chose the blurb at the back of the new paperback editions as the old one was rather spoilerish for those who have not read the third novel. So without further ado…massive spoilers ahead!

Read More

Meme: Teaser Tuesdays

Posted 26 April, 2011 by Lianne in Meme / 3 Comments

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
– Grab your current read
– Open to a random page
– Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
– Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Should Be Reading

I have two teasers this week. The first one is as follows:

“The farm folk gave her curious glances, but no one spoke to her. It is for me to talk to them, Brienne told herself, but she had always found it hard to speak with strangers.” – p. 184, A Feast of Crows by George R.R. Martin.

I finished A Storm of Swords last week while waiting for my bus and I was literally all O_O/=O for a good chunk of the book. So much stuff happened! (you can find my semi-review/discussion/spoilers head! of the novel over here) Now I’m on to A Feast of Crows, which I’m quite excited for xD

And here’s my second teaser:

“It is not strange that card-playing flourishes in Upper Armudan and the local players are famous all over Sakhalin. Because of lack of money they play for small stakes, but make up for this by playing continually, as in the play Thirty Years, or the Life of a Card Player.” – p. 59, A Journey to the End of the Russian Empire by Anton Chekhov

I was in the mood for a travelogue and what better way to ease this mood while working through my Russian history thesis than by reading a travelogue from the late tsarist period? I never read Chekhov’s works (yet) but his letters are easy to go through and it’s interesting how he made the travel all through Siberia to the Sakhalin islands.

Review: A Storm of Swords

Posted 25 April, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

A Storm of Swords
By: George R.R. Martin

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . . .

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .

Okay, so I’ve avoided reviewing any of the books from the Song of Ice and Fire series because there’s just so much going on, I wouldn’t know where to begin in commenting them. It’s also taken me a while to get around to the rest of the series because the first book shocked me quite a bit with one of my favourite characters (I was quite young when I first read A Game of Thrones) but the books are good and with the HBO series airing now (and the new book being released in July), I decided to get around to the rest of the books. I felt like commenting on A Storm of Swords because I could see why everyone particularly enjoyed this novel; it’s a game changer novel so by the time you start A Feast of Crows, the entire dynamic of the political struggle and the relationships between characters have changed immensely. So yes, while I’m not commenting on every single story line that took place in this novel (as it was a massive one), I will comment on a few that have caught my attention. So yeah, super, massive spoilers ahead!

Read More

Meme: Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 19 April, 2011 by Lianne in Meme / 8 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic: Top Ten Tuesday Rewind

Okay, I’ve decided to go with Top Ten Books I Resolve To Read in 2011 for this week’s rewind 😉 In no particular order:

01. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky — This book has been sitting on my shelf for over a year now and I really need to get to it. I’ve heard good things about it.

02. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky — Another book that has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year now. I have been eyeing this book for a very long time and I know that when I read it, I have to not be in school in order to fully enjoy it xD

03. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy — Another Russian classic that has been on my TBR pile for a very long time. For some reason I’ve been putting off reading it year after year…don’t know why, especially since I got through War and Peace (and enjoyed it!)

04. Bleak House by Charles Dickens — I watched the miniseries a few years ago and absolutely enjoyed it so I hope to get around to the novel this year. It’ll be my annual Dickens book or something xD

05. Confessions by Saint Augustine — It’s been on my want-to-read list for years now but I always seemed intimidated to get around to it. Spending time with my Augustinian friend last semester also prompted me to pick it up. Well, there’s no excuses now, it’s sitting on my shelf so I should read it sometime soon.

06. Pandora’s Star & Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton — I’ve heard wonderful things about Peter Hamilton and I am in need of a good sci-fi/space opera (as there doesn’t seem to be any good ones of the telly at the moment *le sigh* *misses the good ol’ Babylon 5 days*). I grouped these two together by the way because they’re a duology

07. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri — I actually read Inferno years ago during my first year undergrad course in English (first and last—while I appreciate getting around to reading all those classics, my prof was rather annoying) but have yet to read Purgatorio and Paradiso *has to yank the volume off her brother’s shelf*

08. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami — I’ve heard about this book for years now but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. *another volume to yank off her brother’s shelf*

09. Kieli, Vol. 3: Prisoners Bound for Another Planet by Yukako Kabei — Been waiting forever to read the latest volume on this wonderful series (volume 4 is coming out next Tuesday!!!) and I have yet to read it. Soon xD

10. A Feast of Crows by George R.R. Martin — I’m finally catching up! Thank you HBO for releasing the mini-series when you did!