Quarks, Elephants and Pierogi

December 27, 2022

     To my shame, as half-Polish, I cannot speak the language; I can just about get by, if I need to. This is a result of having one English and one Polish parent, and being born and raised in England. The Polish language is an extremely complex language grammatically; the pronunciation is the easy bit, trust me. And I’ve attempted a number of times, in different places, to learn Polish properly, but never came across a decent teacher in all my attempts. Excuses, excuses.

There is a marvellous website, Culture.pl, which publishes a wide range of articles explaining and showcasing Poland, its places, people and culture, and this book is an offshoot of their articles on the language. It reminded me of both how much I knew and how much I didn’t; it’s full of fascinating information and details, links and connections with other places and other languages.

But what pleased me most about the book is that it’s a beautiful object per se, in a day when production values of books have generally plummeted with the aim of keeping price low and maximising profit. It’s a solid hardback, printed on good quality paper, with excellent design and illustrations – hardly a surprise, given the country’s reputation in the graphic arts. It’s nicely bound, and the red stitching contrasting with the white paper was a nice detail too. It was a real pleasure to read, and I shall be revisiting it often….


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