The author, Eve Schaub, is such a sweetheart. Cheerily self-deprecating and silly. I'd love to have coffee with her every once in a while. But..she baThe author, Eve Schaub, is such a sweetheart. Cheerily self-deprecating and silly. I'd love to have coffee with her every once in a while. But..she basically watched a 75 minute YouTube video and decided to write a book on the effect it had (or mostly had) on her life for one year. I wasn't expecting scientific rundowns in the book, but a base knowledge of sugar and its effects on the body would have been nice - better than "...if a diet were a western film, fructose would be wearing the black hat and spitting chewing tobacco at children and small animals."
The title is a misnomer...it's a year of no added fructose most of the time, except for the standing exception containing fructose every family member chooses to have the entire year, plus one decadent dessert a month, plus exceptions at events outside the home, plus dextrose, plus the most sugary of the fruits (bananas and dates), plus manufactured lemon juice (why not use a lemon?!), and many other case-by-case transgressions... Accordingly, it was kind of silly to read the numerous passages dedicated to "the effect of no sugar for a year on my family" - there was perhaps a decrease in sugar intake, but in no way possible to see effect of no sugar due to copious sugar-eating. I will concede that, WOW, people with kids in a middle class lifestyle (girl scouts, birthday parties, potlucks, school) reallllllly face a lot of sugar. I thought I was decadent for eating a chocolate bar or 2 in a week, but this family is eating weekly birthday cakes, daily cookies, daily desserts after dinner, daily sugary treats at school (at one time in my life, i was eating almost daily cake-then I became pre-diabetic, and then I cleaned up a bit.)
The most interesting aspect of the book is that she tries to prove a point that fructose is added to items that an average person doesn't even believe are sweet - ketchup, salad dressing, bacon. So her moral of the story (spoiler alert) is essentially: let's only eat poison (fructose) when we mean it, not incidentally. That's fair. A more intentional and aware approach to food seems healthy.
*I loathe hearing stories of people who are obsessed with clean diets and get cancer and die at 50, like the author's father-in-law. Cancer seems inevitable! Though I might add that the father-in-law's "anti-cancer diet" of a watermelon and baked potatoes is a little curious, due to the high carb content....more
So hard to trust ANYONE! The deception is rampant, hard to keep up.
Though I’m still trying to figure out what is so captivating about this series, I hSo hard to trust ANYONE! The deception is rampant, hard to keep up.
Though I’m still trying to figure out what is so captivating about this series, I have hints that it may be just a great story. It makes me think of the idyllic image of a tale someone is telling around a fire, 200 years ago, with lots of action and lots of characters. We also have the rounded perspective of what is happening – with the vignettes switching from person to person, we’re in the POV of the victim, and the victor. I’m totally absorbed.
What is UP with the end of this one, it was giving me heart palpitations?
I needed to tear myself out of this world for a bit, so I’m taking some time before the 3rd book. I also have large concerns over George Martin’s ambition to write a 6th conclusive book, so I need to figure out separation anxiety before I reach the 5th book. ...more
How different the dialogue and narration in the beginning of NW, so abstract and dreamlike. Although gaps are filled in as the story continues, it remHow different the dialogue and narration in the beginning of NW, so abstract and dreamlike. Although gaps are filled in as the story continues, it remains largely a story told in pieces. While this is not my favorite by Zadie Smith (that’d be On Beauty), it nonetheless hinted of why I enjoy her. Her characters are always so full! This book is actually more of a novella, very short, but still the characters are so lively. The relationship between Keisha and Leah, the evolution of 2 childhood friends, scant descriptions but chosen well – becoming different people, growing apart, growing back together, both struggling. I ended up wanting more, either more about them, or more stories like theirs. The relationship between Leah and Michel, the man more beautiful than the woman, “and for this reason there have been times when the woman has feared that she loves the man more than he loves her. He has always denied this. He can’t deny that he is more beautiful.” Two quite different people, coming together through physical attraction, and then as an afterthought trying to make their lives work together. All this told in Smith’s native (Brit) language is charming, “innit.”
There seems to be the underlying theme of alienation in a city brimming with people. This is especially so in Keisha’s life. Surrounded by so many loved ones, yet lonely and desperate, grasping at random relationships online. All the characters are loosely related, yet similarly troubled…Did Nathan kill Felix ? It was extreeeemely circumstantial if so (calling the cops in the end, Nathan panicking), or am I over-reading?
Lastly, I need to include this because it’s haunting me...sorry in advance: “He grabbed the mouse-tail [tampon string] between his teeth and pulled. It came out easily. He left it like a dead thing, red on the white deck. He turned back to her and dug in with his tongue. He looked like he was frantically tunneling somewhere and hoping to reach the other side. She tasted of iron, and when he came up for air five minutes later he imagined a ring of blood around his mouth. In fact there was only a speck; she kissed it away. The rest was quick.” ...more
This story! The prose! Ay yi yi. I lost 2 weeks of my life to it because I couldn't step away. The characters really touched me - Theo and Boris. WhenThis story! The prose! Ay yi yi. I lost 2 weeks of my life to it because I couldn't step away. The characters really touched me - Theo and Boris. When I was at work, I found myself thinking, "I wonder what Theo and Boris are doing.." --> very big signal.
The essence of the book follows a metaphorical memory that Theo writes in a suicide letter - about how he and his mother found a sickly pitbull puppy on the street one day. They took the puppy home, fed him, nourished him, loved him, but the pitbull would not get better. They finally took the pitbull to the vet, who said that the pitbull accrued a disease when younger and was going to die, and it didn't matter how much they fed him or loved him. Because sometimes, dogs/people have been dealt such shit conditions, that it is either really difficult, or impossible, to overcome and survive. In the end, life is disgusting but it is still possible to go about it with dignity & joy like the chained bird in the Goldfinch painting.
I will note, I did start reading this book when one of my parents died, which also happened to be a large thread of this book, and may have extra-engaged me.
“Because I don’t care what anyone says or how often or winningly they say it: no one will ever, ever be able to persuade me that life is some awesome, rewarding treat. Because, here’s the truth: life is a catastrophe. The basic fact of existence – of walking around trying to feed ourselves and find friends and whatever else we do – is a catastrophe. Forget all this ridiculous ‘Our Town’ nonsense everyone talks: the miracle of a newborn babe, the joy of one simple blossom, Life You Are Too Wonderful To Grasp, &c. For me – and I’ll keep repeating it doggedly till I die, till I fall over on my ungrateful nihilistic face and am too weak to say it: better never born, than born into this cesspool. Sinkhole of hospital beds, coffins, and broken hearts. No release, no appeal, no “do-overs” to employ a favored phrase of Xandra’s, no way forward but age and loss, and no way out but death.... ...That life - whatever else it is - is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.” ...more
In 1938, this book was read over the radio as a broadcast in New York City. It’s funny that despite clearly announcing the radio show was a productionIn 1938, this book was read over the radio as a broadcast in New York City. It’s funny that despite clearly announcing the radio show was a production of a book 3x throughout the broadcast, and despite numerous media attempts to quell suspicions on same, New York City panicked in epidemic proportions: people nevertheless thought NYC was being attacked by martians. From insert in back of book: “…listeners started calling their local police stations seeking advice, the nation’s switchboards were soon jammed…many hysterical people actually claimed to have seen Martians…people crowded the streets…highways were clogged with terrified motorists trying to escape the attack.”
The real-life simulation of immediate and widespread panic is a sharp contrast to what occurs in Wells’ story. When the town realizes a spaceship has landed and the top of the ship is being unscrewed, or “with the swift fate hanging over us, men could go about their petty concerns as they did.” Throughout the first couple of chapters, there is a significant ignorance or nonchalance to the people of England regarding the attacks. A poignant time to read this book, a lot of comparisons can be made to 21st century climate problems. As an analogy, although scientific predictions are terrifying, people go on about their petty concerns. But would it be better to have the above situation, widespread panic?
It was enjoyable to read this book on 2 levels: social commentary or symbolism + the surface action story. As far as commentary, I’ve read that Wells was a proponent of natural selection and Social Darwinism, which can be seen in the struggle of humans v. the more intelligent martians trying to take them over. Then what are we to make of the fact that bacteria ends up killing the more intelligent species?...more
This book is pure fantasy & I read it up in 3 days. I needed to see what happens when a single girl goes on a 3-month hike with just a backpack. IThis book is pure fantasy & I read it up in 3 days. I needed to see what happens when a single girl goes on a 3-month hike with just a backpack. I want & need to do this, a long-term hike by myself. (I’m in discussions with my friend to bike across country for 3 months, but it’s just in dream stages right now, as jobs and lives hold things up.) It could be the Pacific Crest Trail, which the author chose, or the Appalachian Trail, which Bill Bryson attempted in A Walk in the Woods (attempted, being the key word of that book – the focus is more on a funny tale of misadventures v. a tale of self-overcoming-obstacles as it is in Wild).
There is such a huge degree of mind control with that much physical exertion, pain, loneliness, unknown factors, and extreme weather/discomfort. The author deals with this in a somewhat cheesy way, but I bought into her mantra about fear: “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” Total mind control.
Yes, I know, she is a really shitty person for sleeping around on her nice husband & doing heroin. HOWEVER, losing a mom, and effectively a family, in addition to having prior daddy issues --> cut her some slack.
The book is at times self-serving (circa dialogue concerning author being super tough because she is hiking the PCT, being a woman alone) – though what memoir isn’t? There is also a lot of cheesy writing involving everything coming full circle. But at its core, it’s really an escapist book, more than it is anything else. Reader puts self in author’s shoes, wants to be self-revelatory author. But this book wins an award by fulfilling what I attempted to fulfill with Hiking Alone (Mary Beath), which had some of the same pitfalls but to a much greater extent (the cheesiness, the self-serving stories, etc).
The author’s feet – a gruesome tale. I must remember the terrors of the bloodiness involved with ill-fitting shoes when I go on my trip. ...more