This is a truly fascinating look at the classic plays of Shakespeare through a very different perspective than I typically use. Not only is it an inteThis is a truly fascinating look at the classic plays of Shakespeare through a very different perspective than I typically use. Not only is it an interesting look at how relevant 400 year old literature can be to our modern society, it's a poignant reminder that intelligence and the ability to connect to literature is not something found only in the rarefied air of a collegiate campus; it's also found among those doing time in solitary confinement, perhaps even at a more astonishing and personal level than a typical college student manages....more
I love Marion Nestle's writing. She writes about a tremendous number of complex issues with clarity for the ordinary person. You don't need a degree iI love Marion Nestle's writing. She writes about a tremendous number of complex issues with clarity for the ordinary person. You don't need a degree in nutrition or food science to understand the issues she presents.
On a virtual walk through our supermarkets, she clarifies the dilemmas facing anyone trying to make sense of the dizzying array of choices. I've read "Why Calories Count" and this earlier book fills in some of the information about what's in those calories. The amount of manipulation and influence exercised over our eating choices by companies whose top priority is their bottom line, not the healthfulness of their products, is worrisome.
As Michael Pollan says, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Marion does a great job showing you why. ...more
This had its moments, but also had times where I would lose the thread of a story because of a two or three page break in the layout for some sidebarThis had its moments, but also had times where I would lose the thread of a story because of a two or three page break in the layout for some sidebar type information. The information was overall enjoyable, but maintaining continuity was challenging. The wealth of pictures is fun in and of itself, as well as the detailed glimpse into a glitteringly wealthy set of American society....more
There's a lot of really interesting information in here -- fascinating science. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to bring the steadiness of attention to iThere's a lot of really interesting information in here -- fascinating science. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to bring the steadiness of attention to it that it needs. It's quite dense as well; I'd estimate at least a third of what I was reading was completely over my head. I'd like to try again someday, so "failed reads" shelf is a little premature. Consider this a "failed for now" read....more
Reviewing The Wilder Life rather requires reviewing my own continuing love of the Little House series of books. Wendy McClure indulges her childhood lReviewing The Wilder Life rather requires reviewing my own continuing love of the Little House series of books. Wendy McClure indulges her childhood love as an adult obsession, all the while questioning why the books have such a hold on her. I won't spoil discovery of her inner journey. We differ at several points and it's fascinating to consider the myriad ways readers who love the Little House series connect to them.
I don't remember when I first read the Little House books, which suggests to me that I must have read them when I was no more than first or second grade. Like many girls in the 1970's, I fell in love with the prairie story, the family that seemed so together no matter the hardships.
Laura's world was so different from my own. I think that's the key to my Wilder experience, to understanding my longing for the world of the books. I grew up in a world that was questioning the validity of modern living, whether I understood that consciously or not. The stylings of the 1970's -- the vinyl, the plastic, the colors -- all had their counterpoints in the decade's back to the earth movements, even the anti-littering ad on TV with the native American with the single tear on his face. We still struggle with this, I think, trying to answer the question, what's "real" life? Is the story of how one pioneer family faced the work of providing for their wants and needs more real than our own stories? Laura and her family faced grasshopper plagues -- I faced what? Parents who were reluctant to acquire cable television?
I often wonder what we've lost over the decades as we've filled up our landscapes and turned into a nation of suburbanites. I was fortunate to be able to spend a lot of my time outside as a child, finding things to do in the woods around our home, but this is something my kids haven't done. We live on a plain quarter acre lot, next to a plain grassy park area. Not much for kids to explore -- you can see all the way around that park without stirring a step from the back yard. Even my outside had more unexpected discoveries and risky paths to take, like discovering the way to another subdivision off another road, a fifteen minute drive by car. Or like discovering that when the ice is melting on the nearby creek (really a large drainage ditch, but creek to me), you can balance on the floating ice and feel like an Arctic explorer on an ice flow -- well, for a few minutes at least, before the ice betrays you and you wind up soaking wet. At least the walk to home for dry clothes and a cup of hot chocolate was a short one. No life threatening experiences in my explorations, no near drowning or freezing to death stories to liven up my childhood recollections.
I want to visit the homesteads and museums like Wendy did, continue to try to unravel my interest in these books that has persisted for decades. I also love the "what happened next?" questions, learning what became of the characters in her books. I don't find these characters diminished when I can find out their real life stories -- for me, they're enriched and widened. I can see more clearly what Laura did as a writer when she processed her experiences, shaped her story to communicate something she felt important to a generation of children who would never know what homesteading and pioneering was like.
Reading Wendy's story is reigniting my interest in the books and their connections to the reality of Laura Ingalls Wilder. This should be an interesting journey!
I enjoyed Carrie Fisher's stories -- her sense of humor and irony is wonderful -- but I found myself wishing for more depth to them, a little more uncI enjoyed Carrie Fisher's stories -- her sense of humor and irony is wonderful -- but I found myself wishing for more depth to them, a little more uncovering of what it was like to become Princess Leia and then have that person chase you around for your entire adult life. Her anecdotes are humorous, but not as much a window into her experience as an addict and someone living with bipolar as I would have liked to have read....more
This was a fascinating look at the sources of human creativity, across many disparate endeavors. Lehrer combined neurological, cultural and educationaThis was a fascinating look at the sources of human creativity, across many disparate endeavors. Lehrer combined neurological, cultural and educational perspectives, narrating a fascinating look at one of the most difficult to pin down human traits. I picked this book up hoping to figure out what was missing for me personally: why I felt as if I had little to no creativity percolating. I've come out with some thoughts about my personal creativity, but have also come out with a new appreciation for what needs to be done in our society to help foster creativity, a trait we desperately need....more
This is a great survey of the science behind nutrition and the factors that create the obesity epidemic in the US. This is a great starting point forThis is a great survey of the science behind nutrition and the factors that create the obesity epidemic in the US. This is a great starting point for anyone who wonders how to interpret conflicting diet claims and how our food environment affects our perceptions and choices. ...more
This is a fascinating look at what it means to be an introvert in the most extroverted nation in the world. I recognized myself on nearly every page -This is a fascinating look at what it means to be an introvert in the most extroverted nation in the world. I recognized myself on nearly every page -- often in ways I didn't expect. In some ways, all the little "A-ha!" moments I was having probably caused me to miss some interesting aspects of the book. I'll definitely benefit from reading it again.
As an interesting note, I was reading "Imagine: How Creativity Works" at the same time I was reading Quiet -- and the crossover between the two is fascinating.
I'm looking forward to reading this book again, to increase my understand of my own personality and learn ways to nurture myself and find my own power in our extroverted world....more
This is an unusual book to say I've "read" -- while reading is involved, there's also quirky, lovely artwork on every page. The book isn't a farming mThis is an unusual book to say I've "read" -- while reading is involved, there's also quirky, lovely artwork on every page. The book isn't a farming manual for those really engaged in, say, backyard chicken raising, but in the way she presents the information she shows us the depth of knowledge that's been accumulated in the human race over the ages of agriculture. Ironically, some of this knowledge (presented in a high level survey here) is vanishing as we increasingly consume from a mass market food supply with limited variation and need for local knowledge. The family farm of picture books is disappearing and we're left with factory farming; which looks so little like what's in this book as to be nearly unrecognizable. It was a pleasure to visit farming in this beautiful way....more
Kathy Harrison presents a compelling look at why we are more at risk from systemic failures in the power, food, transportation and communication netwoKathy Harrison presents a compelling look at why we are more at risk from systemic failures in the power, food, transportation and communication networks than ever before and offers ways for families to prepare to meet those challenges. This isn't a "survivalists" manual. It won't tell you how to live in a fortified bunker so you can be ready for the apocalypse. But it will tell you how to assess your family's exposure to risk, prioritize your planning and prepare for disasters of different degrees and duration. There's a lot of good information here, more than can be easily absorbed in one reading.
The e-pub version leaves much to be desired, however. When the book is in plain text, it manages to be very legible, but the chapters with recipes are poorly formatted, with measurements failing to be properly converted. You're left wondering if "v cups" is a quarter cup, half cup, three quarter cup, or something else; not the best way to read a recipe. In addition, what are presented as sidebars or notes in the print book are dropped haphazardly into the text in the e-pub version, suddenly breaking into the middle of a sentence with an unrelated paragraph, leaving the reader wondering what the hell just happened. It's a pity the publisher couldn't have taken a bit of extra time to properly prepare the text for the electronic version....more
If you have a daughter in late elementary or middle school, this is a very important read. I think Rachel Simmons brings out a lot of important issuesIf you have a daughter in late elementary or middle school, this is a very important read. I think Rachel Simmons brings out a lot of important issues about how we view girls and anger, what tools are given as tools for their difficult emotions and experiences of jealousy and anger, and is an important jumping off point for discussions of emotional experience in the lives of girls....more