I went on a little family vacation at the end of February/ beginning of March to Saint John, USVI. I’m not really into “beach reads” because they usually fall into categories of books that don’t leave me feeling fulfilled. Instead, these are the books I took with me to read at the beach.

I found this through a review in the NY Times. Through the Language Glass begins with some history, explaining what previous scholars said and why studying the relationship between language and thought is a rather fraught topic today. Woven in is Deutscher’s thesis, which is basically this: while a person’s mother tongue does not restrict what they are able to think about, it influences which things they must consider and that may have an influence on thought. So where does culture shape language? The main examples he gives are orientation, gender and how we describe colors. He writes extensively about color in these discussions, but in the end I wanted to read more about how the other examples support his thesis. Interesting, either way.

My love of short stories is well documented. In this case, I felt the art form would perfectly suit my desire to read at the beach without causing me to ignore my family. (I can get very involved in the books I read and I’m very good at tuning out external noise when I’m reading.) The stories were longer, on average, than in the 2006 O. Henry Prize collection and more of them seemed to center around a calamity, but I enjoyed it very much. Actually, I still have a few more to read before I’m finished. Favorites so far are The Necessity of Certain Behaviors by Shannon Cain,Village 113 by Anthony Doerr and Prison by Yiyun Li.

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