Monday, July 30, 2012

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four MealsThe Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first read this book in 2007, I gave it 4 stars. Since then I've read other books on the farming-industrial complex, and on a reread I found a lot to appreciate about this book in particular. It's a well-researched, thorough look at different ways we can choose to eat an omnivore diet. It talks about the corn industry, the chicken/egg industry, the beef industry, small sustainable farms and farmers' markets, and hunting and gathering in America.

My reread reminded me to pay more attention to what I'm eating since after 10 years I've slipped back a little to including some processed foods in our diet again.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in ScarletA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read this when I was 12, and apparently, I loved it then, so I'll leave the five stars I gave it back then. I reread it as an adult because my dad had The Complete Sherlock Holmes and it's the first in the collection. Maybe more of a 4 star, because seriously why is this story all over Utah, and why doesn't the murderer just use a fake name? But delightful in its vengefulness.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Gods of Mars (Barsoom, #2)The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was bored. I wanted John Carter to find Dejah Thoris and make this into a romance instead of an adventure/ pulp sci fi. Maybe I would have preferred it be more fantasy-sci fi, with more emphasis on a magical world or fantastic technologies... or anything. I don't know. It took me forever to read because I was so bored, and my eyes would glaze over entire paragraphs.

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Some very on-point blog posts

A nice little post on how to decide which books to keep and which to donate.

"All you have to do is look at something and see how it makes you feel. If your initial reaction is sadness or guilt or indifference, you don’t keep it. If it makes you feel glad, you keep it. Simple, yes, but effective."
http://smallnotebook.org/2012/07/17/declutter-the-reading-list/

Although, I'm not sure if I actually agree, since looking at my dad's books does make me sad, but I definitely want to keep them, but maybe I can loosely apply this idea.

And a blog that posts photos of New Yorkers reading on the subway! I don't ride the subway much anymore, but when I did, I spent most of the time reading.
http://undergroundnewyorkpubliclibrary.com/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Polling and the Public by Herbert B. Asher

Polling and the Public: What Every Citizen Should KnowPolling and the Public: What Every Citizen Should Know by Herbert B. Asher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is actually one of my graduate school books, so I figured I would review it before getting rid of it. Since it's 11 years old now, it's probably better to read more recent editions of the book. The main points of the book are probably the same, but newer editions might have more recent examples and perhaps review more advanced poll-taking technology and analysis.

The main points are not that enlightening. Polls can be useful or they can be misleading either by accident or on purpose. It might give the public a way to participate beyond elections, or it can manipulate the public.

Furthermore, some people don't care about the issues they are being polled about, and these "nonattitudes" might be misconstrued by the pollsters. Some people might care very deeply about the issue, but be undecided. Pollsters can mislead through not only question wording, but also question wording, and this is more difficult to detect.

The book also explains sampling error and types of sampling in some detail. This is useful mainly if you're planning on conducting your own poll. A 4% sampling error is usually adequate, but obviously not very determinative when 52% of respondents feel one way (really means 48-56% of respondents feel that way). The error of subsets of the sample might actually be much higher. The method of interviewing affects the results, the timing might affect the results, the release of the poll results might influence the public's actions.

Mostly, I enjoyed the political cartoons in the book. ISBN: 1-56802-582-3.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a GeishaMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really entertaining, but left me kind of cold. The voice really sounds like that of a woman, and the time, place, and circumstances of the main character's life are really interesting. But there's a lack of depth to the story generally and also in the characters. I also didn't really enjoy the ending that much, though I think I should have as it's supposed to be liberating.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

The Lonely American by Jacqueline Olds, Richard S. Schwartz

The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first CenturyThe Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-first Century by Jacqueline Olds, Richard S. Schwartz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being too busy is bad, but even worse is checking out of social life. When this happens people get depressed, then use alcohol, drugs, or pharmaceuticals to deal with their depression. Therapy is better but still unideal. The authors admit this is a societal problem - both being too busy and being isolated- but then sort of vaguely suggest we just force ourselves to socialize.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blasphemy by Douglas Preston

Blasphemy (Wyman Ford #2)Blasphemy by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Probably 3.5 stars. Started out really well but eventually I got bored of the obvious "surprise" coming and the religious war really dragged too.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston

Tyrannosaur Canyon (Wyman Ford #1)Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe 3.5? I did like it. It was almost a relaxing read for an action/ adventure story. I loved the parts about dinosaurs. The government's reaction to what was happening seemed a bit of a stretch though.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The writing isn't good. The main character seems dimwitted and annoying. The romantic interest is a walking cliche, but at least he's a little interesting. The plot is kind of bad too. The end is especially poor.

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