No thanks to the hosting issue that saw my blogs effectively offline for the most part of last month, I’ve got heaps of reviews to catch up on, so here’s a quick round up of a two non-fiction books that I got through last month.
Words Words Words, by David Crystal
David Crystal is a man passionate about words. He is to linguistics what Richard Feynman was to quantum physics, or Carl Sagan to Cosmology although sadly the study of words and language doesn’t elicit the same emotional tug as the inner workings of reality or the imagination-filling possibilities of space.
Off the back of How Language Works, Crystal zooms in from the macro to the micro, looking at the atomic parts of communication. Like the othe book, he takes the reader on a whirlwind tour in each chapter, showing the enormity of the subject but keeping things light and entertaining, not overwhelming the reader, through the use of amusing anecdotes and interesting trivia.
A much more readable book that the title or topic suggests. Recommended to anybody with even a passing interest in language.
How To Draw Manga Style, by Ilya-San & Yahya El-Droubie
I picked this up cheaply at the Borders closing down sale and read it in dribs and drabs over last last few months. The text is amiable but dry, and seems to be the efforts of a few passionate amateurs who thought they might be able to make a buck putting something together as cheaply as possible. It shows mostly in the quality of the artwork, which, while competently rendered, seems to have all been sourced from cheap Chinese artists – there’s barely a Japanese name to be found in the book (the odd nom-de-plume of one of the authors – “Ilya-san” – notwithstanding).
It’s one of those books that sits in the awkward “in between” category: too lacking in soul and energy to attract beginners beyond the initial premise, and too simplistic and preachy to be of any use to veterans.
Suffice to say, you won’t be seeing manga-style drawings in my blogs any time soon. I’ll stick to my crude pencil drawings.