Tag: Linguist

R. L. Trask – Mind the Gaffe | Review

Title: Mind the Gaffe

Author: R. L. Trask

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 310

Rating: 7/10

 

R. L. Trask - Mind the Gaffe

R. L. Trask – Mind the Gaffe

 

This book is nothing more and nothing less than an interesting dive into the murky world of the English language and of grammar. Trask highlights a number of common mistakes that plague our society, and in this book he explains what makes them wrong and how to fix them.

It’s an interesting enough read if you’re a linguist or if you love the English language, but this definitely isn’t for everyone – it digs pretty deep, and it’s not always easy to follow unless you’re familiar already with a lot of the concepts that you’re supposed to be taught in secondary school. Sure, it can be a dry read, but it also seems like a vital one, at least to me – if you’re an author, you’re always looking to improve your writing, and there’s plenty for you to learn here whether you’re a writer or not.

I’m not sure that there’s much less for me to say about Mind the Gaffe – the concept is simple enough, and the author stretches it out across a full length book. If anything, it feels like it could’ve been a little shorter, but it could also have been a lot longer – there’s a lot to take in and a lot of common mistakes, and even though some of them are more common than others, there are still omissions because there just has to be, by the very nature of this sort of book. The English language is so vast that it would be impossible to encompass it all within the pages of a single book, but Trask has a pretty good go at it. Not a book to be taken lightly, but it’s worth having a copy of it if you’re a writer.

 

R. L. Trask

R. L. Trask

 

Click here to buy Mind the Gaffe.

 


J. R. R. Tolkien – The Return of the King | Review

Title: The Return of the King

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 560

Rating: 8/10

 

J. R. R. Tolkien - The Return of the King

J. R. R. Tolkien – The Return of the King

 

The Return of the King is a weird one, because I found that at one point it was the slowest of any of the books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and yet at another point, it was the most action packed. I also felt more accomplished when I finished this than I did at any other point in the trilogy, but that’s probably because it took me so damn long to complete it – I had to read a couple of hundred pages of each book at a time, then switch over to something lighter to make sure that I didn’t lose the bug for reading, and then come back to it. Because of that, it took me over a year to read the trilogy, and The Return of the King took me the most time of all.

That’s not to say that it’s a bad thing, though – in fact, one of the interesting things about the book is that, in many ways, it has a second ending, which occurs back in The Shire after our heroes’ quest is over. It wasn’t featured in the films, which is a shame, but I’m not going to say any more about it here because I don’t want to spoil it. For some readers, who’ve managed to avoid spoilers so far, it’ll be a surprising twist; for others, it’ll be the ultimate culmination of everything that happened throughout the series.

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Tolkien’s writing style isn’t always easy to swallow, but you get used to it, and once you’re submerged in the story line, you can find yourself whizzing through 50-100 pages at a time, if you’re lucky. Still, despite how difficult it can be, it’s definitely worth sticking with, and if you’ve read the first two books in the trilogy then you’d be a fool not to go on and complete them. And if you get to the end and you loved it, then there’s always The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, as well as plenty of other Tolkien books of short stories and legends and lore.

And Tolkien being Tolkien, this isn’t just a book that you read from cover to cover – there’s also plenty of extra information, including maps of Middle Earth, which will help to bring the story to life, and to explain what’s happening to you when you find yourself in the middle of a long retelling of an ancient story, as tends to happen. I always felt as though Tolkien wrote more like a historian than like a novelist, and that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is effectively the great history book for his fictional world.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that the author is an incredible linguist, too – many of the languages that he created have syntax and grammar laws, and it’s even possible to speak some of them, if you want to. It’s fun to watch Tolkien playing with his languages, in a way that no author has ever really been able to match. So read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and work your way up to The Return of The King, but be sure to read them in order. They don’t really work out of order.

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Click here to buy The Return of the King.

 


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