14 Oct

Next Book Club Pick

Posted by Jenna, Under book club

You might remember I switched up the format of my Non-fiction Book Club a bit, abandoning the timeline and just reading the book when I could. I actually really enjoyed this, as it felt less stressful and I was still able to leave my thoughts in the comment section and interact with others a little bit, even if it was drawn out over a long period of time. See my comments, and those of the others who read the book with me, here. (And feel free to read the book and add your thoughts at any time!)

We recently started listening to audiobooks, which has completely revolutionized the number of books I’m able to consume. Hello, why didn’t I think of this earlier? I’m just about done with the Hunger Games trilogy (I loved it, if you’re wondering.)

I’m trying to decide between three different titles for my next listen. Would you like to join me in reading one of them?

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

We all witness, in advertising and on supermarket shelves, the fierce competition for our food dollars. In this engrossing expose, Marion Nestle goes behind the scenes to reveal how the competition really works and how it affects our health. The abundance of food in the United States–enough calories to meet the needs of every man, woman, and child twice over–has a downside. Our overefficient food industry must do everything possible to persuade people to eat more–more food, more often, and in larger portions–no matter what it does to waistlines or well-being.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin?

Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?

When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we’re making smart, rational choices. But are we?

In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They’re systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth. [Mary Roach happens to be my favorite author :) ]

8 Comments


  1. I read Packing for Mars last year and it’s a great book.

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  2. Food Politics is actually one of my textbooks for my Food Politics & Nutrition Policy course this semester!

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  3. Have you tried listening to stuff at double speed? (I listen to all my audiobooks that way now, and it has changed my life. I can FLY through stuff and I don’t feel like it’s going SOOOOO slowly).

    Jenna Reply:

    Yes! In fact this is TH’s biggest complaint with the new Android he got. He misses being able to listen to stuff at double speed.

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  4. Yay! I’m glad Packing For Mars made the list. I was involved in the research Mary did for that – there’s a chapter about the Haughton Mars Project, where I’ve spent three seasons. That said, I do have one issue with her telling of it, best said by a dear friend in her blog – http://madameverdi.blogspot.com/2011/09/role-models.html – essentially, she skipped the women.

    Jenna Reply:

    So interesting to see hear an insider’s perspective! And it must be frustrating for the women involved to be left wondering if their roles weren’t “interesting enough” to make it into the book. I hope that wasn’t Mary’s perspective?

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  5. Woo hoo! Excited for the next installment! I work for a food industry association so would secretly love to read Food Politics (Shh) : ) The Mars one looks cool too!

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  6. I love books on tape. I have heard quite a few and with the way I drive and travel so much they are perfect companions to long drives and trips. I really have too many favorites to name, but another quick note is all Cracker barrels, have these books for rent, you pay 3 dollars plus the price of the book then you have 2 weeks to listen and when you return it they give the cost of the audio book back to you. Great way to save money on them and you can turn them into any one of their locations.

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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