Thursday, August 03, 2006

Romancing the drone

If you, like me, like to occasionally indulge in a bit of pot boilery, you need, nay, MUST check out the Smart Bitches so that you, too, can howl at their reviews. And then run to the library to check it out (ha!) for yourself.

When I lived in Minndeanapplelips and worked at the Fed, I was mired in a pretty brutal depression. When I'm depressed, I like to live vicariously. That tends to involve reading about other people's lives turning out better than mine. What better venue than a bodice ripper?

I hatehatehate getting into a book and finding it poorly written, untrue to the era (historical only, please!), and just plain lame. Enter romance reviews! I used to read them at The Romance Reader (actually, I still pop in now and again for kicks), but I've pretty much moved my fidelity to all things Smart Bitchery. Come on, they're smart. They're bitchy. What more can you ask?

An aside to the non-romancers out there: they do other reviews too, so you have no excuse to abstain. Get thee hence and laugh your ass off. Then go read a book.

Speaking of books: I hereby demand that everyone rush out and find a copy of The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Even if it doesn't change the way you eat (and I lay odds that it will), it will change the way you think about food, and that's just as important. Did you know that producing 1 calorie of prewashed, bagged salad takes 57 calories of energy (read: petroleum)? And that the "organic" produce at your local grocery store is still grown on an industrial scale, which is antithetical to the whole concept of organic food? Oh, and a commercially grown carrot is not as healthy for you as an organic one? It's true! I've been doggedly trying to finish it for the last month (what, me read?) and probably once a day, every day since I started it, I've demanded that someone read it. Seriously. It will change you and the way you look at and think about the food you eat.

When (if) I manage to finish it, I'm totally blogging about it in depth.

What books have changed your life or your views of the world? I propose a trade; you read mine, I'll read yours. Of course, this could take a while...

First on my list: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien to my list. Spectacular. If I could write half as well as he does, I'd be a happy camper. I read it at least once a year. If you know anyone who was in Vietnam, read it. If you don't, read it anyway.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Your brain will melt but you'll keep reading anyway. It's funny, mindblowing, and thought-provoking. Or are those the same thing? Whatever, read it.

And because no book list is complete without a kids' book, The Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg. Partly I love this book because of the illustrations. Partly because of the moral of the story. But mostly because I love the word skog. Skog. Marmot is good too. Mar-mot.

ETA: I am kicking (KICKING!) myself for neglecting Philip Pullman. If you have not read the His Dark Materials series, I demand you put down whatever else you are reading and concentrate on these books. Oh. My God. It is sublime. I can't for the life of me fathom how it's marketed as youth fiction, but don't let that scare you away. The ideas in this book are huge, the characters are engaging, and the story is absolutely luminous. I actually cried at the end, and I do not cry at books. Or get scared (barring House of Leaves which freaked me the fuck out. PS, don't read this unless you have A Lot Of Time On Your Hands.). Please. Do yourself a favor and read these books.


Devan said...

My alltime favorite children's book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
I am not picky when it comes to myself. I will read nearly anything. I am a book whore. I am reading This Body right now and liking it. I finished The Time Traveler's Wife last month and liked it as well. I read anything from trashy novels (love the site!!) to literary works of genius and love each and every one of them. :)

macboudica said...

I am currently reading Stephenson's quicksilver series---that will keep me occupied for quite awhile! He is a good writer, makes you think.

Northwoods Baby said...

I have that series. I figure if I can read 10 pages a day (ha!), I could finish the entire thing in three years. Let the weeping commence. Can I just say, that man has a brain the size of a planet? I cannot imagine what else he has swimming around in there.