3 Book Reviews


Back in April I wrote about three books I’d bought at the used book store. I finally finished all of them, the last one last weekend. Here’s a bit about what I thought of them.

Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson: I was familiar with Bryson’s work from A Walk in the Woods but had only thumbed through his other books at the store. This one was on clearance so I nabbed it and was immediately fascinated with the book. The book begins with the initial colonization of the U.S. and how the English language was brought over from England and the British Isles and evolved even in the several hundred years before the American Revolution. Even by 1776 American English was drastically different than it was when the initial so-called Pilgrims came over. I thought it was funny some of the criticism that their English counterparts wrote upon visiting the frontier areas of Ohio and surrounding regions. I also thought it interesting that we’ve actually held onto some of the older English words than some of the present day modern English have. Bryson also writes about the evolution of words through modern conveniences such as radio and television. This book was written in the mid 90s so it doesn’t have much about the internet in it and I’d imagine there’d be a whole other chapter on the subject if he wrote an addendum.

I definitely recommend this book if you are interested in the English language or have an interest in Anglophilia.

The May Queen by Various Authors: Loved, loved, loved this book. It’s all about essay’s from women in their 30s or reflecting on how life was in their 30s. The typical subjects were incorporating work to family life, realizing they weren’t at the supposed goals they’d set for themselves 10 years prior, love life and well, just every day social aspects of 30 year old women. Of course this resonated with me since I’m about to turn 31 and love having this vagabond type life but also want the settled family life, too. How frustrating it is to have a biological clock! If only I’d known to do some of this in my 20s!

Definitely check this book out!

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray: I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this book. I expected more ecology less autobiography. However, it was interesting reading about this woman’s childhood in the late 60s early 70s in rural and impoverished Georgia. Sometimes she was able to tie in ecology at the end of the chapter and ecology of the longleaf pine forests were more prominent in later chapters. Ray also has a few other books that sound more ecologically driven that I might check out in the future but the taste of longleaf pine ecology has left me wanting to check out Looking for the Longleaf even more, previously recommended to me by a fellow coworker.

If you are interested in culture and ecology of the rural south this is a book to check out.

My next books to read are to finish Northanger Abbey, and read An Everglade’s Providence, The White Queen, and Pathfinder: Blazing a New Wilderness Trail in Modern America. I might also sneak in the last Harry Potter book for the last movie in July. We’ll see. These should take me through the summer!

What are you reading?

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