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About meI am Professor Emerita of Linguistics at Providence College and am an internationally known scholar and writer in schizophrenia research, sociology of language, and modern English grammar. Since everything humans do is mediated by language, I am interested in too wide a variety of things to list. Although I am a scholar, I also appreciate --and love-- popular culture. Novels and movies are my favorite pastimes, along with cooking. And, of course, writing. Now that I'm retired, I can finally write books about the marvels of language and communication so that everyone can find out what we really do when we are just talking. There is nothing "just" about it. We talk in ways dictated by our culture. We talk when our culture says we can and we talk about what our culture says we may. But we also talk to project our personae. We also talk according to our gender. Do you think women talk more than men, for instance, or use fewer taboo words, or talk more properly than men? How do children learn to speak? How and why did language evolve? Why don't all humans speak the same language? Why are there different dialects and accents in English and other languages? I have a lot to write about, and I've also written several books. You don't have to be a scholar to read them, either. I write in a jargon-free narrative style and my book "Language the Social Mirror" now in its 4th edition, has been widely read by ordinary readers. I know because I hear from them. By the way, Amazon has erroneously labeled it as being about teaching methods. It is decidedly NOT about teaching, although much of it would serve as good background for teachers to understand why their students talk as they do.
I belong to goodreads.com, and Facebook. I am very active on goodreads and heartily recommend it to avid readers and thinkers.
I have cataloged over 1320 books on Library Thing and am still not through. Now that I have an eReader, I have abpout 200 digital books as well. This number increases at least weekly. I have started to catalog those now. You can see them if you search my tags for eBooks--or is it ebooks? Has any editor made a decision about the correct capitalization for references to electronic media? I can't even estimate how many thousands of books I've bought in my life, not to mention those I've borrowed from libraries.
Periodically, I send cartons full of books to the library at the State Prison. The inmates have little to do and often take up reading for the first time in their lives. Since I read widely on all sorts of topics, the prison librarians love my donations.
Note: Since I wrote the sentences on books I want to write, life has intervened. Through bouts of cancer, severe injuries from an accident, and my husband's unexpected Alzheimer's, I haven't had time to write, but I do keep two blogs.
About my libraryIn my library, I have a plethora of novels, a large history collection, especially about the Civil War and World Wars I and II, biographies of Civil War personages and many other people as well. Of course, I have books in linguistics, sociolinguistics, and psycholinguistics. I read very little Fantasy, but I loved Neil Gaiman's American Gods, and I don't read science fiction or books on mathematics. My collection includes books on the evolution, behavior, and cognition of dogs. I also have several books on human evolution and on the minds of neolithic peoples.
The modern library should include movies and other videos available on inexpensive disks. I have about 1400 videos. I wish these could be cataloged on Library Thing. I do have most of them on gurulib.com if anyone wants to see what I have. I must admit that I've been remiss in cataloguing the movies I've bought in the past several months.
On our first RV trip, I succumbed to getting an eReader, a NOOKcolor by Barnes and Noble, which was the first 7" color tablet. I've upgraded that to the Nook Tablet, which is super. The ability to google things as you are reading enhances the expereience greatly. Also, if you're reading about another culture or another age, you can google places, events, costumes, whatever is mentioned. SIL read a book about Iran and actually found pictures of the streets she was reading about as well as the actual kinds of clothes and fabrics.
Another help is the "Find" feature. As you're reading, if you come across a name and can't remember who this person is, you lightly touch the word, &, on the Nook, 5 popup windows show. One says "Find." You select that, and immediately you see a list of every sentence in which that name has appeared. This is superb when reading 1000 page Russian novels, biographies, and mysteries.
What has happened is that books themselves are coming out in speciaL electronic editions, called Vooks or Enhanced Editions. Barnes & Noble has many of these. They can be wonderful. While reading Beevor's D-Day, as I read about Eisenhower's giving the troops the "orders for the day," I clicked on the embedded video, and heard Eisenhower himself while viewing archival footage showing the soldiers getting ready. I read about bombings and watched a newsreel of the bombing. It literally makes the events come alive.
This past year, I've concentrated on studies of evolution and, genetics, especially DNA discoveries, the effect technology is having on our minds and on culture, biographies, and histories. I love being able to take notes or highlight what I read on my Nook, and then when I want to look at what I noted, I just go to the book, then to its TOC, and there's the list of my comments and highlights. It sure beats going through a physical volume and searching each page for marginalia, an hours' long pursuit, often yielding no results. I did a blogpost on The New Reading, which discusses the way eReaders are changing how we read, and this is for the better.
I love reading electronically. Wherever I go, I have books, British TV shows, and magazines with me. I just slip the reader into my purse. Also, there's no problem with back issues of magazines. You just leave them on your device or archive them, so you can retrieve them later. You can also just delete them. As for books, there's no rearranging shelves and no dusting. Again, you can archive books or delete them.
Another unexpected benefit to eReading is that, if you are reading a large, heavy book, the eReader is easier to hold. Library Thing doesn't have space for magazines, but I'm an avid magazine reader. I subscribe to several from the Weider History Group which publishes articles by respected scholars in its various magazines. I get The Civil War Times, America's Civil War, American History, Military History, World War I, and World War II. The latter 3 are for my husband, but I sneak peeks in them at times. I also subscribe to Scientific American Mind, Archaeology, and Biblical Archaeological Review. On my Nook, I get National Geographic, Discover, The Scientist, American Scholar, The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, and the electronic version of Time, which is a wholly reimagined magazine. It's odd that nobody seems to include such publications as part of their libraries, but they certainly have an impact on both your reading time and on your mind. eReaders are the future. Once you've read a few books on one, you won't want to go back to paper. Clearly, this will affect publishing as we know it, and doom bookstores as we know them. However, Barnes & Noble has Nook centers in their bookstores, so you can get tech support, always free, and browse through physical books as well.
Already libraries are lending e-books. I get scholarly books from my college library and regular ones from the public library.
Although earlier eBooks were loaded with typos and formatting errors, publishers have apparently figured out how to make them right. I even have facsimiles of 1st editions on my Nook.
GroupsFreebies, Book Giveaways and Contests, Hobnob with Authors
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Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway
Real nameElaine Chaika
LocationSouthern New England
Favorite authorsNot set
Account typepublic, lifetime
Member sinceFeb 12, 2009