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Elaine Chaika

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Member: echaika

CollectionsYour library (1,402), Wishlist (1), All collections (1,403)

Reviews298 reviews

Tagsnovel (390), film (127), history (78), biography (45), action (39), linguistics (35), sociolinguistics (35), dogs (33), memoir (32), discourse (30) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror

Recommendations2 recommendations

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, 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 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


Also onblogspot, Facebook

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameElaine Chaika

LocationSouthern New England

Favorite authorsNot set

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/echaika (profile)
/catalog/echaika (library)

Member sinceFeb 12, 2009

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Ah. Yes, "No"

I've changed the title to "No"
OK, I put the novel up on Pubit as "Yell" by Alex Austin. It says it takes 24-72 hours to become available on B&N.

I couldn't find "Bones" on B&N. Does it stand for one of your other books?

Let me check out Pubit. I'll also get on "Bones".

Of course I would love for you to read the entire manuscript, but I only meant that you might read the two chapters published in the lit magazines. IJ is always funny and clever, but I'm not drawn to the characters despite their brilliant rhetoric. I'm not sure it has the stuff of a big novel, the reward for the time spent. I think if you're doubtful about IJ at page 30, you wouldn't be any less doubtful at page 200.

Hi Elaine,

I've been struggling with a new novel for about four years. Some of it is at least surfacing.

Two top literary magazines have just published excerpts from my novel-in-progress THE FATHER WHO NEVER YELLED. One excerpt (UV-30 ) is realistic, robust and sad, the other (Night Swim is surrealistic, sensual and mysterious. Read in tandem, they should give you a solid feel for the new book.


Comment on this image. Image comments only appear on your own profile page and the image page itself.
At my grandson's wedding. Gee! Am I that old?
Love your poses in the photos....they are neat.

Stopping by to say hello and to look around and to tell you about two giveaways on my blog.

I have two separate giveaways going on…one is for NIGHT TRAIN and one is my Blog Hop giveaway of HOW TO READ THE AIR.


Stop by my blog for a giveaway of LINEN QUEEN courtesy of Sarah from Hachette Books.
I am trying to get through GREAT HOUSE...I thought it was going to be a great read, but I can't even follow what is going on.

I saw your review...maybe you could shed some light on it for me.

All I have gotten is this desk was hers for 25 years and then it is taken away and then the next chapter she is at a seems disconnected to me...very complex.

Help if you can...does it get better? I am about to stop reading it. It looks you feel the same way as I do...I just can't connect with it. Maybe I need to give it a few more pages?
Thank you for letting me know about the mess up on choosing too many people for the book "Therapy:A Novel" It helps to know what to expect so I can plan the time I need. I am doing something new by writing reviews! Too I am slower than many experienced reviewers so one less book gives me the extra time I need right now!
I got the book "Therapy:A Novel" by Harrie Rose from the members giveaway last month (one that you offered in exchange for a review) and wanted to find out if is was an e-book. I am pretty new with involvement in this aspect of LT and worry about missing or having a family member accidentally delete one of the e-books that may come via my regular email. I am hoping that they will get used to being careful about the emails the longer I am involved in LT, but we are a big family and I am not gifted in being organized. I am sorry to bother you with so minor a detail - I am still getting use to the system and am not worried about books that come in the mail. I am still getting use to trying my hand at reviews and am slower to get it all done so I just noticed that I didn't see this book yet and want to make sure I didn't miss it if it was an e-book. Thank you for patience with me as I get use to how it all works and what time frame is normal etc...
Sabrina Kidd - Angleton,TX
I recieved the book Therapy and have begun reading it. The protagonist had parents, particularly a mother, much like my own. I too had to originally find self esteem in the office of a therapist. You hit the nail on the head when you said I thought I had had some hard knocks in this life and I have only told you so little! I try each day to live in the moment and not let the past affect me so, with this newest situation, doing so has been quite the challenge yet I strive to continue. I am very intersted to see how the book continues on. Finally now, I will have more time for reading. Work has been really hectic with the wind down of Summer Reading Club which ended Sat. And I have been watching my 4 month old grand-daughter for my son and his family as they have just completed a large move across town. So now I will have my regular free time back for myself. There is so much for me to do that I have had to neglect lately.
How are you doing? I have thought of you often. Hope all is well.
I am off on Sundays and Mondays, today I have much business to attend to, a therapy app't and errands that have been piling up that need to be done. Yesterday I cleaned and did laundry all day and then went out in the evening with my oldest son to celebrate my b'day a few days after the date. We have heat index warnings issued for today, actual high predicted to be 96! My friend from San Diego has been visiting, she leaves today, bet she will be glad to get home to her perfect at all times weather. She lives by the ocean and doesn't ever need the AC, they just open the windows to cool ocean breezes.
One night last week after work my 33 year old bachelor nieghbor came over with a bottle of wine and to make a long story short, he seduced me. I don't know how I feel about it really. It was so pleasant to be carressed and told that I was beautiful but the whole experience left so many questions. How do I act when I see him next? Up until now, he had been a very private person. I am assuming it was a one time event but what if he wants to do it again? I am not ready for an affair! Or what if he is chagrined? I have not talked to him since except to say hi once when we saw each other in the hallway going out. I am so confused! Truly, it was an in the moment thing and now I don't know how to be around him. And I don't truly know what I want myself. Maybe I could let it happen again as long as he understood the limits. Then again who knows what he may be thinking, like 'Oh God, what have I done?' All these weeks since I have split with my ex I certainly was NOT thinking at all about finding or taking a lover. I didn't even realize how vulnerable I was. I am so surprised by myself that I actually did it. Any advice for me?
I will write again soon as I get more into the book. Please take care, Ronda
I am sorry to hear that you are going through treatment for breast cancer. Physical illness is such a drag, especially I imagine for one so emotionaly and intellectually strong such as yourself. You have my best thoughts for a speedy recovery.
Thanks for your wise comments and good advice, they certainly have given me food for thought.
Have not been able to write this week, several things happening in my family and work life at a rapid pace. Will hopefully have time on weekend to catch up and take a look at your blog as well as check out Goodreads. Will write again soon. Thanks very much for friending me on LT, I am honored. Take care, Ronda
I never heard about Goodreads before, will check it out for sure! And thanks for Harrie Rose e-mail address, I am most anxious to read book.
Do you read fiction about dogs? I am now reading One Good Dog by Susan Wilson, a story about a dog bred to fight who found himself free on the streets. There, his life intersects with a hard-nosed business man who has lost everything in his life. I am quite enjoying it.
I have to change my profile on LT, I no longer live with 5 cats. My ex and I had to split them up. Due to my reduced financial circumstances I was forced to take a studio apt and felt I could only support 2 of the cats. It was so hard to leave the others behind! Still, I am so grateful for the companions I do have with me. I find myself being so grateful for so many things these days, having lost so much puts great perspective on life in general.
I was not able to attend college until all 3 of my children were in school at which time I enrolled and majored in social work. I particularly enjoyed my sociology courses. Unfortunantly, I was only able to attend 3 years and then I began working at the public library where I have been 18 years. I love everything about my job, it sustains me through all.
Thanks for responding back and being willing to be my friend. Please reccomend to me a book about being a woman in her mid 50's if you know of one off the top of your head. I need inspiration! My b'day is coming up on the 28th and I would like to feel something positive about it other than it being better than the alternative. Of course, just reading your profile is encouragment, how I admire you! Ronda
Many thanks for your post and for choosing me to be the lucky one to receive your members giveaway book, Therapy A Novel. I think it will be a very good book for me to read especially at this time as my significant other of 11 years has just recently dumped me for another woman 20 years younger than I. I am struggling with many issues that you touched upon in your library thing profile.
Yes, I am very interested in reading about the Civil War. Have you read Widow of the South by Robert Hicks?
I do love cats but I love dogs also. I have great respect and love for all creatures, even humans!
Would you be interested in corresponding regularly? I would love to make a new friend. Ronda
Interesting page, Elaine Seagull. Was just looking at all your exchanges with Alex Austin. Looked almost like he was bullying you a bit. I've just written him rqsting a book swap - his Red Album for my Soldier Boy. Now I wait. Ain't retirement grand? More time to read and write. Keep on reading, hear? Maybe the publishing industry will come back to life. - Tim

They sell both versions on Amazon, so if you didn't order the "Remixed" version, they would have sent you the original. If you send me an address, I'll mail you a Remixed free.

I would prefer that the Goodreads review be taken down.


Hi Elaine,

Thanks for taking it down on LT. If you could do the same on Goodreads, I would appreciate it.

I'm sorry that Amazon sent you the original edition. They shouldn't be selling anything but the "Remixed" version (published November 2009), at least if it was sold as new. I warn people off used copies. Unfortunately, I've had a couple of recent reviews that were based on the old edition.

As Vonnegut would say, "So it goes..."

I look forward to the piece on the subjunctive.

Hi Elaine,

I am relieved. In the "Remixed" version, I toned down much of the squalor and reworked Sam's character. I also introduced a note of hope into the ending. The changes are extensive enough that I consider it a different work. Thinking that I'd done all that but still got a largely negative reaction to the tone of the novel baffled me. I'd prefer that you took down the reviews until you've had a chance to read the "Remixed" version. I realize that might be some time but I'd rather have that than a misleading review.


Hi Elaine,

Thanks for the review. Forgive me asking again, but I don't see "Remixed" as part of the title and the cover you use isn't the "Remixed" cover. But it is "Remixed?"
Hi Elaine,

I am on Goodreads, which I like but can be overwhelming with its updates and requests to participate in discussions. The grammar information is great. How about something on the subjunctive?

I hope you got the "Remixed" version of The Red Album. It should be the only new vesion that's available, but....

If you've ordered it, of course. By the way, if you get to see Shutter Island, I'd love to hear your opinion.


Thank you for the kind advice. I'd be pleased if you read The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed. I look forward to following your blog posts.

Hi Elaine,

Nice to meet you. I requested you as a friend on Goodreads, and I put your blog in my favorites. I'm always interested in learning more about grammar and linguistics. Yes, I was lucky to work with Steve. He's brilliant and an original. I hope you won't be too disappointed if you ever get to my work.

I see you're a fan of Steve Erickson. Le Salon is interviewing me about my novel The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed. I'm currently discussing the years when Steve and I collaborated on music reviews and critiqued each other's work. You might find some of it interesting.

Earth Is Enough

We men of Earth have here the stuff
Of Paradise - we have enough!
We need no other stones to build
The Temple of the Unfulfilled -
No other ivory for the doors -
No other marble for the floors -
No other cedar for the beam
And dome of man's immortal dream.

Here on the paths of every-day -
Here on the common human way
Is all the stuff the gods would take
To build a Heaven, to mold and make
New Edens. Ours is the stuff sublime
To build Eternity in time!

- Edwin Markham
Oh, my friends should love the Austen book! I will pass along the information. Also the info on War and Peace, your post has encouraged me to read it!

I am just now reading your post on the Kindle. A friend of mine is trekking around the world and she took the Kindle with her in her backpack -- clearly a handy tool in those circumstances!

-- Patsy
Last night I met with my Jane Austen book club. We have finished almost all of Jane Ausen -- leaving aside Sanditon and are ready to move on. It's a fun group to read with -- all bright, professional women who are not English majors and so bring a fresh perspective to the books. Next we plan to read Jane Eyre and then several novels by D. H. Lawrence, but then . . . War and Peace was floated as a possibility! And not by me, but I heartily seconded the thought. So I may actually read it this year.

-- Patsy
It's not a chore. The new translation is very lively. Once you've mastered the characters' names, remembering who's who, it flows. What I do is try to schedule two hours five days a week at least. I will say that I neer saw the sense of having Amazon's Kindle, but War and Peace would be great on a Kindle as the book is so heavy, and it would have been easier to be able to keep searching backwards to recall who Bokonsky or Rostov is. By 350 pages in, of course, I need not do that. I'm throughly engrossed with each of them. I bought The Idiot to read next.
the next few months will be Russian novelists for me.
Oh, I have been meaning to read War and Peace too! I have been shying away from it because of the time commitment, but I will keep it on my mental list.
Oh, I meant to tell you -- a few weeks ago I sent you a long note which was then lost when the LibraryThing server went down. It was about [[Plainsong]] which I saw you had just added. Terrific book! One of my absolute favorite contemporary novels. It's sequel (the title of which I forget) is also very good. Very ordinary people, leading ordinary lives that-- like our own -- have their drama. Excellently written as well.
Dear Elaine,

I look forward to looking at your library in more depth. I am pleased to hear that you give your books to the state prison library. I worked for many years in correctional education and the inmates are eager readers! I have not read any of the books in my librarything library. I use it as a holding place for books I may want to read. I seldom have much time to spend on the site, but would like to spend more time reading and thinking about books. I just finished [Molly Gloss]'s [[Wild Life]]. It is told from the point of view of a woman writer at the turn of the century and touches on many themes: the conflict between working as a writer and motherhood; how to find your place in the world if you refuse to adopt a traditional role; the conflict between development and nature. The narrative includes selections from other writers and from the writings of the main character -- all commenting, of course, on the action. It is part adventure story, part fantasy and I found it compelling. I am just back from the public library where I picked up an armload of fiction meant for pure entertainment -- 2 [Walter Mosley] novels and [Frank Delaney]'s [[Shannon]], among others.

I will check out goodreads. More later, Patsy
Dear Elaine,

It occurred to me I should say something about myself! One type of book I enjoy quite a bit are the classic dog books -- Beautiful Joe, the books on collies by Terhune, Shiloh, Thurber. I feel strongly that dogs should be respected as individuals and I think I learned to value them as individuals both by having dogs in my life and by reading these type of books. Good luck with your own dog book!

-- Patsy
Dear Elaine,

I see you have added two books that I read last year -- The Dogs of Babel and The Vanishing Act of Esmee Lauder. I can see why, with your interests in language and dogs, you would be interested in The Dogs of Babel. I enjoyed it, but thought perhaps the author had not teased out the full extent of her ideas. Esmee Lauder I thought a stellar novel. Really one of my favorite new reads of the year. I hope you enjoy them.

-- Patsy Murray
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