The descriptions of Paris kept me mildly interested, but this bit of chick lit/romance was so predictable I wanted to shake the author. Bad breakup, g...moreThe descriptions of Paris kept me mildly interested, but this bit of chick lit/romance was so predictable I wanted to shake the author. Bad breakup, girl gets fired, goes to Paris, works with French rock star and a strangely attractive reporter. She also likes the food and fashion there. (less)
King never disappoints me; even her mediocre books are well written and researched. This was an excellent creepy mystery, filled with the kinds of cha...moreKing never disappoints me; even her mediocre books are well written and researched. This was an excellent creepy mystery, filled with the kinds of characters and setting that make you spend an hour online researching Man Ray, Lee Miller, and other denizens of Paris in 1929.
I would have given this five stars if the main character was more likable and/or interesting. He was way too much the world weary private eye. I found many of the ancillary characters much more intriguing.
The bones theme was awesome, and this is perfect for a pre-Halloween read. Or for anyone who is interested in art history, surrealism, the history of serial killers, shadow boxes, clocks, and "found objects". (less)
This is a somewhat repetitive but often enlightening history of food and language (not just the English language, despite the subtitle!).
Lipkowitz ex...moreThis is a somewhat repetitive but often enlightening history of food and language (not just the English language, despite the subtitle!).
Lipkowitz excels in combining disparate threads from a mostly European past, contrasting the British Isles and the Mediterranean, Romans and Celts, and haute cuisine and peasant food. I enjoyed the interweaving of Christianity's role in our modern American & English food preferences, too.
Apples, leeks, milk, meat and bread are featured, but these topics are encompassed by more general discussions of fruit, vegetables (& weeds & foraging), dairy products, and civilization vs. barbarism in Western history. (less)
I'm beginning to think that philosophers should not write books on feminism or motherhood. This short book wasn't as bad as Linda Hirshman's polemic (...moreI'm beginning to think that philosophers should not write books on feminism or motherhood. This short book wasn't as bad as Linda Hirshman's polemic ("Get to Work"), but it was still infuriating.
Badinter's basic premise is that "An underground war is now being fought between naturalist and culturalist proponents of motherhood" (p. 31), and that children's needs are being pitted against women's needs. By "naturalist", she means anything that people argue is "natural" - especially attachment parenting advocates. So maternal instincts, any kind of natural hormone-enhanced "bonding", natural childbirth, cloth diapers, T. Berry Brazelton, and especially breastfeeding and La Leche League, come under sharp attack here.
I didn't find Badinter's arguments convincing. Ironically, at one point in her critique of evolutionary biologists, she states that "All this is simply asserted; there are no references or citations of explanations or demonstrations." On the contrary, this was the problem I had with "The Conflict's" premise - there were references and citations, but they weren't scientific, and I thought her demonstrations were weak on logic. Her whole premise centers on changing ideologies of motherhood and women - and I wasn't convinced that she wasn't putting the cart before the horse, reversing the causality of ideology and practice. Her use of government statistics, comparisons of European policies on parenting, and the little tidbits of sociology and anthropology that she does bring forth are really rather feeble when you consider her premise.
Finally, the text is awkward - maybe it read better in the original French. I found myself going over sentences repeatedly, trying to ferret the meaning out of her tangled phrases. And I was annoyed by several off-the-cuff insults, especially to authors and researchers who don't deserve to have their work grossly over-simplified or misrepresented, like Sarah Blaffer Hrdy.
At least it was short. And there were some interesting perspectives on French and Scandinavian parenting, government policies, and feminism. (less)