Thursday, January 10, 2008

Reading Update: 1-10-08

Girl with a Pearl Earring -- Tracy Chevalier
I somehow missed this one when it was really popular a few years back. I may have thought it was too Oprah's book club. I dunno. In any case, what a lovely little gem of a book. It's a quiet book in a lot of ways, not a lot of big action. But it was so compelling that I could barely set it aside to work and sleep and eat. Love the main character. Chevalier does a really nice job capturing this girl caught on the cusp between child and adult, dealing with things that are both over her head and exactly what she wants at the same time. Loved it.

Feed -- MT Anderson
Futuristic young adult novel that won a lot of critical praise a few years back. It was okay, I suppose, but nothing all that exciting. I much prefer Margaret Atwood as the writer of my future dystopic novels, thank you very much.

The Omnivore's Dilemma -- Michael Pollan
I think I'm behind the game on this one, for someone who lives in the Bay area. It seems like everyone was all a-buzz over this book last spring and summer. I finally picked it up and I have to say I quite enjoyed it. It wasn't a fast read for me. Not a page turner, for sure. But it was interesting to get a view behind where our food comes from and think about my eating on a new level. Reading it was a little like reading Fast Food Nation a few years ago -- it's really made me think a lot more about my food choices -- I was horrified by some of the stuff about how even supposedly "organic" and "free range" chickens are treated, for example. In fact, there's a local poultry company that is mentioned in the book. I've been eating chicken from this company since I moved here, and I really thought I was doing right by the animals. It turns out, though, that despite the organic, cage-free, whatever else labels, the lives of the animals actually aren't that much better than in an industrial poultry factory. I don't see myself ever being a vegetarian -- I just don't believe in it for health or for moral reasons. But this book does make me wonder how ethical my food choices really are, even when I think I'm doing the right thing.

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