This was a book club recommendation which came with a verbal footnote from my friend Ali: "It's full of facts, you'll love it". Indeed. "Bonk" took meThis was a book club recommendation which came with a verbal footnote from my friend Ali: "It's full of facts, you'll love it". Indeed. "Bonk" took me about 3 days to read and I did go back and re-read parts. "Bonk" studies how we (in modern, and not-so-modern science) study "Sex": everything from the G-spot to ED (so much nicer than saying "it don't work like it used to"). Often humorous and again, with that surprising depth of character (see my review for "Stiff", and I can't wait to read "Spook") Mary Roach has done an excellent job of taking a juicy topic, shoving it full of science, and rendering it just as, or possibly more, juicy. ...more
Shoptimism was a book touted on NPR and by my boyfriend, how could I turn it down? After a decent wait it arrived, and the boyfriend dispensed with itShoptimism was a book touted on NPR and by my boyfriend, how could I turn it down? After a decent wait it arrived, and the boyfriend dispensed with it in a week. This, then, was going to be a good time: if it isn't extremely well written and diverting, then the boyfriend cannot be bothered.
Lee has worked at Land's End and Esquire, lives in Chicago, and has a well-funded wife and two children. Lee's life and mine are about as diametrically opposite as you can make it, except that we are both fiscally conservative and we seem to enjoy watching how people behave (and why they behave that way). Shoptimism looks at the quasi-American (I say quasi, because there are more cultures than ours that enjoy endulgence in expenditure, see Japan) tendency to purchase and the very very thin line, at least in this vocaublary, between "want" and "need". He relegates people into two groups such as 'Buy Scolds" ("don't buy that! it's spending money! research it for 60 days first and purchase only then on a full stomach!) and the opposite, those who would want you to buy ("Buy this! It's shiny and cutting edge!). I am a horrific Buy Scold with some splurchase tendencies (another wonderful phrase from the book: a "splurchase" is a purchase made in splurge to either self-congratulate or self-medicate). Having read "The Millionaire Next Door" and "The Millionaire Woman Next Door" and "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" etc., this only affirms that you need to have a very good grip on "want" vs "need").
I loaned it to my Dad... and now I really want to read "Freakonomics". ...more
This was a recommendation by a dear (never met him, but he's dear all the same) friend in Tucson who is an Information Researcher. He said I should reThis was a recommendation by a dear (never met him, but he's dear all the same) friend in Tucson who is an Information Researcher. He said I should read this book and so, having placed it on hold at the local library, and then waited 4 months to get it (a good sign, indeed), I read it.
I read it in 2 nights.
It is NOT light fare -- it is full of amazing complexity and you will indeed find yourself re-reading passages to see if you've got things right. My friend indicated that there was a character he thought was much like me in it: I agree, with caveats. That didn't propel me through it, though: the vivid descriptions of the Swedish countryside and characters, how everything seemed "so like home" (descriptions of living conditions -- I live in Seattle) and so not (everything in Kronor! I had to pull out Google to get Standard-of-living equivalents). It was written in the early 2000's and the author has since deceased, and there is ONE HELL of a turnaround at about the 75% mark and again at the 90% mark --another one of those re-read bits. Lars does an excellent job of showing the fullness of human emotion, temperament, ambivalence, cruelty, horror, and tenderness. I must look and see what else he has written. ...more
"Stiff" was, to all appearances, written in that early-2000's period where "Six Feet Under" and "Bodies" came out, so it would be easy to dismiss it a"Stiff" was, to all appearances, written in that early-2000's period where "Six Feet Under" and "Bodies" came out, so it would be easy to dismiss it as a trend-driven piece.
I don't care if it is, it is an exceptionally well-written potentially trend-driven piece with more depth than you would think possible.
Stiff looks at what we do, as a society, with our dead: how we use them for research, what sorts of research that is, the benefits, and the potential (usually moral) detractions. It looks at what physically happens with *you* (or rather, the chattel that is your body) when you die: cooling, rigor mortis, bloat, decomposition, all of it. This sounds stomach-churning and, in truth, in parts it is.