Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Aspects at 50

June 25, 2015

Geoff Pullum’s column in the Lingua Franca blog (of the Chronicle of High Education) on the 22nd, “Revolutionary Methodological Preliminaries”, went back 50 years to a signal event in linguistics publishing. Geoff begins:

It is rather surprising that more has not been done this year (thus far, anyway) to commemorate a significant semicentenary: the 50th anniversary of what could reasonably be called the most influential linguistics book of the 20th century. [Aspects of the Theory of Syntax] was published by MIT Press in 1965 as “Special Technical Report 11” of the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT, and has recently been re-released with a new preface, but it doesn’t seem to have inspired any major conferences or other celebrations. Yet it gets more than 25,000 citations, according to Google Scholar, and it laid the foundation for 50 years of interdisciplinary research on how human minds could possibly create and manage the extraordinary complexity of language.

I was there for the occasion.


Morning Zorn

June 21, 2015

It was a morning name many days ago, but it led in so many interesting directions that I’m just now getting to post about it: Zorn’s Lemma, a remnant of my days in logic and set theory (now almost entirely forgotten).

From the lemmatist Max August Zorn, with a brush against his newspaperman grandson Eric, to Max’s wife Alice, on to the amazing musician John Zorn (no known relation to any of the above), and then to James Thurber’s The 13 Clocks.


It’s not hoarding

June 21, 2015

… if it’s books:



June 13, 2015

Today’s Zippy, about the comics:


Ant-Man goes on, in fact.


Graphic autobiography: Harvey Pekar

May 31, 2015

Another “graphic novelist” from the list in my posting “Comics books”: Harvey Pekar. A self-portrait:


Earworms, snowmen, and parodies

May 30, 2015

In the June 1st New Yorker, this cartoon by Bob Eckstein:


Not the first posting on this blog about earworms.


Three New Yorker graphic Xists

May 28, 2015

Collected recently, three New Yorker cartoonists producing graphic fiction, graphic memoirs, etc. (often lumped together as graphic novels, though only some of these works are novels in the traditional sense; novel has developed a widespread new sense as ‘book’.) Roz Chast, who’s appeared in postings here a number of times; Chris Ware, who’s appeared here just once, with a New Yorker cover for Mothers Day; and Adrian Tomine, new to this blog.


Great beauties and unconventional lives

May 27, 2015

(Not much about language, but about books, art, great beauties, and unconventional lives.)

A coincidence of two items in the June 4th NYRB: an essay by Robert Gottlieb on Lady Diana Cooper, ‘The Most Beautiful Girl in the World'; and an ad for the book The Prince of Minor Writers: The Selected Essays of Max Beerbohm — Max Beerbohm, the author of Zuleika Dobson, a comic novel about a woman so stunningly attractive that men fall hopelessly in love with her at first sight.


Bill Watterson

May 25, 2015

Just arrived at my house, this excellent 2014 volume:

Bill Watterson, Exploring Calvin and Hobbes: An Exhibition Catalogue (Andrews McNeel, Kansas City MO)

The exhibition took place at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum of the Ohio State University, where Watterson has placed his collection of Calvin and Hobbes materials.

The volume has a preface by Jenny E. Robb, the curator of the exhibition; an extensive interview of Watterson by her; and a nice assortment of essays by Watterson about things Calvin/Hobbesian. Here I’ll talk about the influences he cites on his work.


Reading out loud

May 18, 2015

In yesterday’s NYT Book Review, a set of reviews of audiobooks, including one by by Kathryn Harrison of Jo Nesbo’s Blood on Snow as read by Patti Smith. Harrison sees a mismatch between the novel’s protagonist Olav as she understands him and Olav in Smith’s speech style (which Harrison refers to as diction).



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 853 other followers