I was captivated by this powerful book, and I felt tremendous empathy for the real workers chronicled by this journalist. Good premise for a book: sheI was captivated by this powerful book, and I felt tremendous empathy for the real workers chronicled by this journalist. Good premise for a book: she takes the most minimum wage type jobs and sees what it’s like to try to live in our society, and she shows just how nearly impossible that is. Barbara Ehrenreich is a journalist who can sure write an interesting, and unfortunately sobering nonfiction, book....more
I read this book in hardcover when it was first published and found it fascinating. It’s about a family building their first house and about all thoseI read this book in hardcover when it was first published and found it fascinating. It’s about a family building their first house and about all those involved in its planning & construction. I do love houses but I was surprised how riveted I was by all the details of planning & constructing a house. And this book does go into great detail: from the wood used to the relationships between the owners, builders, architect, and everyone who participated. ...more
It misses out on 5 stars from me because no variation within countries is shown, and that's a flaw I really noticed, but it's otherwise a wonderful boIt misses out on 5 stars from me because no variation within countries is shown, and that's a flaw I really noticed, but it's otherwise a wonderful book that gives quite a bit of information about the economic status of the world's citizens country by country....more
I have the original 2002 edition, which is 663 pages; I'd like to read this longer edition as well.
This is a terrific encyclopedia (and dictionary) tI have the original 2002 edition, which is 663 pages; I'd like to read this longer edition as well.
This is a terrific encyclopedia (and dictionary) that does a good job of covering the history of the counterculture movement of the 1960s & 1970s. I’m a baby boomer and was an adolescent and young adult living in San Francisco during most of this time period – I smiled a lot in recognition while reading this book. ...more
I knew a little about this case, and before I read the book, I was certain I’d feel infuriated with the Hmong family and feel nothing but disrespect fI knew a little about this case, and before I read the book, I was certain I’d feel infuriated with the Hmong family and feel nothing but disrespect for them, and would side with the American side, even though I have my issues with the western medical establishment as well. Not that I didn’t feel angry (and amused) at times with both sides, but I also ended up empathizing with the people in both sides of this culture clash, which is a testament to Anne Fadiman’s account of the events. My culture is definitely that of an American (well, a subculture anyway, as there are obviously many cultures within America!) and I am fairly wedded to it, but I really appreciated this look into a culture so different from my own.
Anne Fadiman does a remarkable job of communicating both sides of this story; it’s probably one of the best examples of cross-cultural understanding that I’ve ever read. It’s ostensibly about a young Hmong girl with epilepsy and her family’s conflict with the American medical establishment, and there is much about them here.
But it’s also a wonderful history book. There’s much background about the Hmong people going back centuries and recent history also. It also made me sympathize with the difficulties of the immigrant experience, especially for those who settle in a place so different from their homeland.
I learned so much about the Hmong people; I knew very little before reading this book, and what I knew contained some inaccuracies or at least a lack of context. And, as I was reading, I was really struck by how cultural differences (and the cultural differences between the Hmong and American cultures is about as far apart as it gets) can completely hinder communication if they’re not acknowledged and attempts are made to bridge the gap. This is a great book to read if you want to try to understand any people who are different from you in any way.
Beautifully written and an enjoyable read. ...more
I have to say that I was not in the mood to read this book. In fact, I’d decided I wasn’t interested in reading it at all. When it first was publishedI have to say that I was not in the mood to read this book. In fact, I’d decided I wasn’t interested in reading it at all. When it first was published I’d heard good things about it so I bought it, but then heard some negative things and put it aside. However, my real world book club decided to read it as our October selection so I read it, but I was not enthusiastic.
I was a bit irritable reading this as I felt as though I should be taking notes and memorizing material as I would while reading a textbook for a class, and I longed to be reading fiction instead. However, the book was better overall than I’d anticipated.
First the bad:
I was warned that this was not a “vegan” book but the authors completely lost me when on page 242 fish is in the category to minimize consumption, not eliminate it, after spending the rest of the book advocating eating 100% plant products. Well, fish are animals, not plants. the authors claim that for losing weight or maintaining an ideal weight calories don’t count so much if one is eating a whole foods plants only diet, and I know this to not be true.
Also, reading this made me anxious. I haven’t taken that great care of myself for the last 5 ½ years, ever since I suffered knee injuries from running too much. Perhaps had I read this 5 ½ years ago, I’d have felt empowered rather than frightened. This is not the book’s fault of course, but it did diminish my ability to enjoy the reading experience.
Now the good:
I liked how he talked about his life and work; it kept the book from being too dry.
There’s a lot of excellent nutritional information included, including the dangers of consuming animal protein (worth at least a star all by itself) and other lesser known nutritional knowledge. Also, there’s important information about the lack of nutritional education for medical professionals, the power of the food industry to keep Americans eating unhealthy foods, and other cogent arguments for recommending a 100% plant based diet. A lot of diseases and conditions are covered, with nutritional reasons for their occurrence and nutritional solutions for their improvement or cure.
Not much of the information was new to me. The two areas that gave me something to think about were what was said about the role of genetics (less than I’ve always assumed) and information about supplements (I have to rethink what supplements I take, which will involve some more research on my part.)
The research he’s conducted and evaluated was more sound than I expected, for which I was grateful.
What a shame that immigrants to America so often give up their healthier national diet for America’s often inferior fare, which is something I’ve often thought.
Most importantly, this book has gotten some people to become vegan or adopt a diet with many more plant products and fewer animal products, so I can’t really criticize it too strongly. So, I do hope that many people read this book. If everyone self educates with the information this book provides, at least they can make a truly informed consent about how they choose to eat.
Oh, and I usually read books cover to cover but I did not read the References on pages 369-404....more
One of the few times I enjoy the movie or tv show (in this case: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) more than the book. Took me a while appreciate the bOne of the few times I enjoy the movie or tv show (in this case: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) more than the book. Took me a while appreciate the book, but there are many funny and clever parts in the book....more
I was intrigued by orphans and orphanhood for several years before my mother died when I was 11. Not an astonishing interest, as there’s a multitude oI was intrigued by orphans and orphanhood for several years before my mother died when I was 11. Not an astonishing interest, as there’s a multitude of orphans as characters in children’s literature, and I loved to read.
This book is divided into 2 sections: Part 1 is a memoir of the author’s early orphanhood and how it affected her growing up. Part 2 I found particularly interesting – it’s basically five sociological essays on: history of orphanhood, orphans in autobiography, literary orphans (characters in fiction books), the changing aspects of orphanhood (including the phenomenon of psychic orphanhood), and an essay called A Mythic Orphan about Little Orphan Annie. The parts are intertwined: In part 1 she quotes from many works of psychology and sociology as she analyzes her own life, and in part 2 she mentions her own life experience. I especially liked reading about orphans in autobiographical and fictional books. The author is literate on this subject; I have never read another book like it.