Even as I begin the painful process of packing my 5,000 or so books for the move (yes, we’ve sold our house and found a new one in Hadley) I keep adding to the collection. During one of our trips to the Pioneer Valley I insisted on stopping at Bookends and wound up getting Svetlana Boym‘s Common Places (“Boym studies Russian culture in a broad sense of the word; she ranges from nineteenth- and twentieth-century intellectual thought to art and popular culture”) and David Shub‘s classic biography of Lenin (sure, it’s out of date, first published in 1948 and revised in 1966, but Shub, born in 1887 in Russia, knew most of the Bolshevik leaders personally, including Lenin, Trotsky, and Bukharin, and his perspective is irreplaceable). I just finished Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero, which my wonderful wife gave me for my birthday (we’re both Ondaatje fans). Publishers have sent me some intriguing books that I expect to report on soon. And just today I got in the mail a gift from frequent commenter Noetica, a book I’ve been dying to read ever since it came out: Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World, by Nicholas Ostler. Just looking at the list of maps and tables thrills me. So I wanted to offer my heartfelt thanks, while noting the irony of my situation: voluntarily taking on water even as I bail out the boat!


  1. I’m very curious to hear what you think of the Ostler. Without wanting to dampen your excitement, it was not as awesome as I had hoped it would be — but for reasons that it would be interesting to read you write about, if you know what I mean.

  2. I’m curious. What will you do about the physical location information in LibraryThing? Change it as you unpack? Keep the old descriptions for new logical locations?

  3. Change it when I have the time and energy. Fortunately, I enjoy fiddling with my LT entries.

  4. “while noting the irony of my situation: voluntarily taking on water even as I bail out the boat!”
    Heh. I think every book lover goes through that. I’m way behind on reading all of my books, but I’m still acquiring more and more. 🙂

  5. A few dozen books I purchased last summer–Varro on the Latin language, Bede on the reckoning of time, obscure 19c. French books of philological essays, and so on–have mysteriously vanished. My hope of recovering them is slowly dwindling. My motto: never move again.

  6. Well…sounds like you’re moving closer! The book-packing sounds grim but I’m impressed you actually UNpacked them all after the last move! Congrats on the new house; hope you’ll tell us something about it.

  7. Glad you like the book, LH.
    I enjoyed looking through your preferences at Languagehat’s Amazon wish list. A great system they have for these things. So easy to use.
    Good luck with the move!

  8. Hadley…good for you…smack-dab in the middle of wonderful Northhampton and Amherst and UMass and Smith (watch out for those Smith girls)—be careful, though, Emily Dickenson’s ghost wanders all about the Hadley area looking for lost love.
    Good move,Language, hats off to ya.
    ur fiend,

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