17 October 2006

Lengthen Your Stride and Empires of the Word

I've been looking forward to reading both of these books for a long time and finally was able to track both down. I was a bit disappointed with Empires of the World, but loved Lengthen Your Stride.

Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World
by Nicholas Ostler- When I first heard about this book, I hoped it would be a bot more global in its coverage (and certainly, it goes a long way, with sections on Middle Eastern languages, Sanskrit, and Chinese), but overall, it focused on Europe and European languages for more than half the book. The main title is better for describing the book; I didn't quite find it to be a language history of the world. There were way too many gaps for that. But it was still an interesting book, and if you're interested in language and world history, you'd probably like this book.

Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball by Edward L. Kimball- This was a completely enjoyable biography of President Kimball's years as president of the LDS Church. It's topical instead of chronological, and spends quite a bit of time on the 1978 revelation allowing all worthy men to hold the priesthood. This biography is different from most typical biographies of church leaders (although quite different from the recent one about David O. McKay), partly because it was written by President Kimball's son and recounts his entire tenure as president; usually the biographies are written near the beginning of a presidency and you miss a lot of their lives. President Kimball is also the first prophet I remember, although I only remember his later years when he was not well. It was heartbreaking to read the chapters about his last few years; you're left to wonder why he had to wait so long. Highly recommended.


  1. Hi Amira,
    One of my most favorite book on languages that is very comprehensive in explaining grammar distinctions, etc is The World's Major Languages
    edited by Bernard Comrie. It is published by Oxford university Press 1990.

  2. That's one of my favorites too- it's been on my wishlist forever. I was able to check it out of the library once. I'd love to own it myself.

  3. Hey Amira!
    I just thought I'd have to share my new favorite persian grammar books.
    Persian Vocabulary
    and Persian Grammar
    both by aks lambton

    cambridge press 1954
    the edition I have was printed in 1993--so they are probably around

  4. Thanks. And do you mind if I ask who you are? Do you have a website or a blog? You leave such interesting comments all over and you've made me very curious.