Things to Read - New Reads on the Nightstand

12.20.11 (3 of 9)

Every year for Xmas my mother-in-law "surprises" me with books off my Amazon wishlist. My wishlist is up to 300+ items and I don't prioritize, so I never know what I'm going to get, other than that it will be something I want, which is the best kind of surprise. Plus she always tries to pick a good variety - fiction, nonfiction, art, etc. This year I received the books photographed above and I'm having a lot of fun with them.

1. Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (illustrated by Maira Kalman, written by Michael Pollan). Anyone who knows me knows that I would want this book. I love Maira Kaira Kalman (check out my review of her children's book, Smartypants, here). And ever since I finished The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals Michael Pollan has achieved rock-star status in my mind. Pollan begins the book by noting that nutritional science is a very young discipline (he compares it to surgery in 1650), so many holes in the research still exist. Despite nutritional science's inadequacies all experts acknowledge that the Western diet (defined as "lots of processed food and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains") causes health problems. Hence, Pollan's guidelines, which he summarizes in the following seven words "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." All of Pollan's 83 derivative rules rest on this concept. I like #22 - "It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car" and #7 -"Avoid foods containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce" But most of all I like #83 - "break the rules once in awhile" because "obsessing over food rules is bad for your happiness", hence why I love Michael Pollan.

2. The Museum of Innocence (Vintage International) (Orhan Pamuk). When this book first came out in hardcover the New Yorker published an excerpt (disguised as a short story) that made me want to read the whole novel immediately (Istanbul? a forbidden relationship? love? drama? OF COURSE i wanted to read it). But I hate paying hardcover prices (I'm cheap like that). So I waited. And waited. And now I own it and will soon dive in (but first I have a few other books to finish).

3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (Mindy Kaling). I love the title of this book. And I love Kelly Kapoor on the Office. So I really wanted to love this book. And I did LIKE the book, especially towards the end when Kaling stops talking about her life history and starts being funny. Regarding the autobiographical aspects, I enjoyed learning how Kaling became famous, but I became a little bored by her message that high-school dorkiness makes you more successful (I too had dorky moments when young (no surprise there), but I don't quite see how this has made me so much happier in life. nor do i see the cool kids from high school looking like life has passed them by. in fact they all seem cooler than ever). All in all a three star read (sorry Mindy).

4. Keri Smith Boxed Set (Keri Smith). I find Keri Smith books endlessly inspiring (click here to read my review of Smith's "How To Be An Explorer of the World") and this set was no exception. Most of her "creative" suggestions are silly and some are simply inane, but ALL of them are creative. Especially if you have children. If you can imagine that a book is not a book (instead let the book become a: window, portal, school, form of movement, etc.) then you can imagine much else as well. Smith helps me think out of the box (or maybe I should say "out of the book").

5. A History of Women Photographers (Naomi Rosenblum). Whenever I discover the existence of a seemingly great photography book, I always hope that the book contains more photos than words. And I'm usually let down. This was no exception. I'm excited to spend the next few months (who am I kidding? i mean the next few YEARS) learning about the history of women and photography, but I wish even more photos accompanied the (expansive) text.

What about everyone else? Anything you've been reading lately? or looking forward to reading? I'm still making my way through 1Q84, which (so far) has been a joy to read. an absolute joy.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard so many great things about 1Q84. I'm so glad that you are enjoying it!

    My MIL does something similar with wishlist books--sometimes she gifts me them for no reason at all, which is great of her. I don't have any of the ones on your nightstand now, but I'm definitely adding them.

    Happy reading!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...