Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic, by John De Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H. Naylor.
The Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton. Absolutely loved it.
Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent, by Meredith F. Small.
Dead Reckoning: The New Science of Catching Killers, by Michael Baden, MD, and Marion Roach. Sorta gruesome, but I liked it. I think I liked Dead Men Do Tell Tales by Dr. Maples better, though.
Interesting coincidence that Dead Reckoning is also the title of a Grateful Dead album.
The Shelters of Stone, by Jean M. Auel. Eh.
City of the Beasts, by Isabel Allende. Eh, it was okay, but certainly not my favorite of her books.
Secondhand Smoke, by Patty Friedmann. Very funny.
Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
The Territory of Men: A Memoir, by Joelle Fraser.
After the Quake: Stories, by Haruki Murakami. Loved it. Love Murakami. Strange and wonderful.
Selling the Work Ethic: From Puritan Pulpit to Corporate PR, by Sharon Beder
Back to Mississippi, by Mary Winstead.
Borrowed Finery: A Memoir, by Paula Fox.
I liked this book.
Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in The Age of Crisis., Christian Parenti.
We've Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture, by Rebecca Blood
A Better Woman: A Memoir, by Susan Johnson
I finished The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory. I liked it. I didn't love it, but it was a fun read. I enjoy "historical fiction," usually. The part of Mary and her husband was sort of weird, though. I didn't mind that she decided to be "Nobody," but she and William fell in love so quickly, so completely, it seemed really out of left field. But then, maybe that's sort of how love is, just comes at you from weird places, at weird times. Still, I didn't get a sense of them really falling in love, more like he saw her, she saw him and all of a sudden it was this big passionate love affair.
Words of the Witches, edited by Yvonne Jocks. This is a book of short (fictional) stories by Witches. How to say this? I enjoyed reading this book, quite a bit, actually. I liked all of the stories and I liked reading the spells (especially the one for children, to get rid of bad dreams). The writing is a bit rough in places. Just, um, I don't know. See, I just don't want to say that the writing sort of stinks. But it does. Most of the stories read with a wooden feel (sort of like Keaneau Reeves' acting) with unbelievable dialogue and stiff, cliche descriptions. This is not top-shelf fiction writing.
However. I genuinely liked ever bit of it, wooden writing and all.
I finished Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser last night. I already knew a lot of the stuff (and more, really) about the quality of meat in the US and about conditions for workers and animals in feedlots and slaughterhouses. Unless you live in a windowless box, you must have heard *something* about those issues.
But still, the book shocked me a few times. There were a few things I'd never really thought of before, some that I'd sort of willfully ignored in order to not have to question my own life.
We don't eat as much fast food as a lot of people because we're vegetarian. But still, I get a hankering for a McDonald's sundae (don't ask, I can't explain it). Or we're just in a hurry or we're lazy.
Screw that. We don't want any part of it.
The things in this book are important for Americans to know. If you haven't read it, you probably should.
I finished Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich, over the weekend. What to say... I enjoyed reading it (even though the subject matter isn't so happy). It's a worthy book, I guess. But I think it would have been better if she had done three months in a row instead of separately. Or a year. I think the whole thing would have been a lot more interesting if I'd felt she'd taken a real risk instead of a month-long slummy holiday or something (not like she had fun or anything, of course). I don't know, I just don't see that there was a real sense of how hard it is for people who live their whole lives this way, making minimum wage.
Lots of people can fall on hard times and probably survive a month, a few months. And I'm sure it's very hard, but, oh, I'm repeating myself, but I just don't think she conveyed the reality of trying to make it in the world, raise a family, living this way.
It was humbling for me, though, to think about all of this. We don't have a lot of money, but our lives are much more secure and easy compared to so many.
I put up the book list from The Mombat Situation. I should put a permanent link in the sidebar...