March Reading

These are the books I read (or didn’t read) in March. The fail report:

Ongoing projects:

  • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
    Total fail, I didn’t proceed at all. I have however already caught up my March and April quota, so I’m back on track for April.
  • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy
    Total fail. Didn’t have time for Burton at all.

Poetry:

Total fail in March, but I’ve started back up in April and plan to get caught up.

Short stories:

Total fail in March as well. Also starting again in April but not caught up yet.

Non-fiction:

David W. Anthony, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World
I wrote a post on this one here: Proto-Indo-European. This book was part of the reason I couldn’t keep up with my goals. It was a dense book and took me about 10 days to finish.

Graphic novel:

Total fail. Planning to catch up in April, hopefully on the upcoming long Easter weekend.

Novels:

  • Charles Dickens, Bleak House
    Loved it, my favourite Dickens so far. Here’s the blog post: Bleak House.
  • Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
    Great novel. Loved it a lot and am still planning to write a blog post on it. Update: the post is written, here it is: Song of Solomon.

Although March was a big fail on meeting my goals, it wasn’t a total fail, because I read just as many pages, even a bit more than I did in February. It wasn’t so much that I fell down on the reading volume, it was just that the three books I read were long and complex. I couldn’t just zoom through them. Also, my goals where meant to be hard to meet. Where’s the fun in easy goals? Let’s see how it goes in the next months.

Proto-Indo-European

At the beginning of this year, I decided that I wanted to listen to podcasts on my commute. My commute is about 25 to 35 minutes and has some mind-numbing boring stretches with lots of hold-ups due to traffic back-up at traffic lights. I remembered that I’d always wanted to listen to the History of English Podcast. I found this quite a few years ago but didn’t manage to listen to a lot of episodes, because I didn’t have a good time slot for podcasts. But now I do and am really enjoying it.

You can find it here: https://historyofenglishpodcast.com/

It’s excellent and what’s more, there are more than 130 episodes, and I’m only on number 26. Oodles of goodness to look forward to! I average about one to one and a half episodes per workday, but as I only work four days a week and one week out of four is home office (and currently all days are home office), I’m not very far yet.

In one of the earlier podcasts the creator Kevin Stroud mentioned the book The Horse, the Wheel, and Language by David W. Anthony. It sounded fascinating, so I looked it up on Amazon and got if for my non-fiction reading for this month. It’s about the origins of Proto-Indo-European, the (reconstructed) language which is at the root of a lot of modern European (and other) languages. The book explores all sorts of questions around this language, like who spoke it, what was the culture of the speakers like, where was it spoken, how did it manage to become the root languages of all the modern languages, political exploitation (some very nasty stuff to do with rabid nationalism), and how linguistics and archeology together can reconstruct the history and development of the language and the people who spoke it.

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I found it very interesting, but also a demanding read — took me about ten days to read and now I’m behind on my other reading projects (doesn’t matter, I’ll catch up). The linguistic part was familiar, at least in parts, because I studied English Linguistics at University, as part of my Master’s in American Literature, but the archeological parts were very detailed, in depth and a bit of a slog (all that stuff about pottery). Ultimately still interesting, though. It was very dense, full of intriguing details of which I’ve forgotten at least half. I’m probably going to re-read this sometime in future. If you are interested in Proto-Indo-European, linguistics and archeology, this is a book for you.

I’m putting a short summary of the main findings under the cut, mostly for my own use. If you’re interested in reading the book, you may wish to skip this.

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