Monday, July 13, 2009

What is Arika Okrent reading?

The current featured contributor to Writers Read: Arika Okrent, author of In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers and the Mad Dreamers who tried to Build a Perfect Language.

Part of her entry:
I ... wouldn't have thought to pick up Science from Your Airplane Window by Elizabeth Wood if it hadn't been suggested to me. I wrote about how Mark Shoulson, my guide to the world of Klingon, pulled it out of his bag when we settled in for our flight to a Klingon conference in Phoenix. That detail was meant to add to a portrait of his nerdy pursuits, but I later bought the book, thinking it would be a fun, educational diversion for my son the next time we took a flight. (Here's to the passing along of nerdy pursuits!) I haven't yet remembered to pack it for a flight, but I have been picking it up occasionally to learn a fascinating tidbit about the shapes of lakes, the polarization of light, or the plow lines in farms. It is written in a very simple, direct style that gives you exactly what the title promises. The simplicity is almost poetic; it captures the essence of good non-fiction. It says, "Here, sit by me. Let's look out of this tiny window together. I will show you things you never noticed and change your perspective on the things you have noticed. Even though this window is tiny, through it you can..."[read on]
Read excerpts from In the Land of Invented Languages.

Arika Okrent received a joint PhD in the Department of Linguistics and the Department of Psychology's Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Program at the University of Chicago. She has also earned her first-level certification in Klingon. She lives in Philadelphia.

Learn more about Arika Okrent and her work at her official website and at the In the Land of Invented Languages website.

Writers Read: Arika Okrent.

--Marshal Zeringue