At the end of my Books of 2010 post I said I wanted to make it through 20 titles. In 2011, I only conquered 12. But I have high hopes for this year because I’ve already finished 5 and January isn’t over yet. Between the Kindle and a folder full of audiobooks, I’m raising the stakes the and declaring that I want to double my last goal and hit 40 by the end of the year.
If you’re looking to introduce someone to the idea that we need to eat less meat, more whole grains, and make more of our own food instead of reheating what a factory produced for us, I consider this an excellent place to start. I recommended it to my dad, and he liked it too. I bought the Food Matters + cookbook version as an e-book and I really regret it because it’s too difficult to navigate through and actually utilize the recipes, even on my iPad.
The Culture of Fear
My thoughts on this book can be found here. I liked it because I like folklore and urban legends, AND because it helps me remember to not get worked up over silly media hype. It was very repetitive and a bit dry at times though.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Tells a fascinating story and makes you think about some hard questions. I really appreciated how hard Rebecca worked to not take a side and let the reader attempt to come to their own conclusions. A discussion thread on this book can be found here.
The End of Overeating
Loved this book for two reasons. It was like an inside look at how food is marketed and produced (the author talked to several different industry insiders to learn how they manipulate the food they produce to be as appealing as possible), and because he got into how the brain works when it’s around food. After I read this book, I was able to admit what a binge eater I am, and how that doesn’t make me sad/bad/weak/little/etc. Years of bad food choices have essentially conditioned my brain. I heard the author on NPR and he mentioned the book The Compass of Pleasure, which I also want to read.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Janssen told me she liked Omnivore’s Dilemma more than In Defense of Food. I didn’t believe her, and yet, somehow it’s true. Pollan follows four different meals from conception to digestion, including a hunting trip and making yeast with bacteria that is apparently floating in the air all around us right this moment. I think this is my favorite non-fiction food book of them all (which is saying something because I’ve read quite a lot from this genre by now).
Our Babies, Ourselves
My friend is at Columbia and gave me this book talking about how fascinating he found it as an anthropology student. It was very interesting, and somehow freeing. Our current American way of raising children is neither the only way, nor the best way. You can read more of my comments here. It can be a bit dry, and I did struggle with the portion on breastfeeding (she made me feel like if I had just tried harder, tortured myself longer, breastfeeding would have worked because everyone else is doing it).
The Hunger Games
Note: Do not start this series while on vacation with your spouse. Your spouse will hate this book for the many ways it sucks you in. We were staying in Florence in a beautiful hotel and all I wanted to do was LISTEN TO MY BOOK.
I loved this one too.
And this one.
Why We Get Fat
I can’t fully get behind Taubes because I like my vegetarian ways, and eating zero carbs AND zero meat would be incredibly difficult, but I found a lot of this ideas thought provoking. I actually think his theories helped my workouts because now I do them for the endorphins and the stronger me, not because I want to burn calories.
Behavioral economics is fascinating, and I love turning to That Husband and saying “It’s just like in Ariely’s book!” I recommend you and your spouse both read this one so you can have those moments as well. Favorite sections include the power of free, how arousal influences our decision making skills (read this section if you have teenagers and want to figure out how to keep them from getting pregnant/getting someone else pregnant), how price and placebo work together.
I listened to this one in audiobook form (there are some F-words scattered throughout) and I highly recommend it because Tina reads it herself. I love 30 Rock and particularly enjoyed the section where she talks about how the show came about and gave some little behind-the-scenes bits (shoutout to one of my favorite quotes from 30 Rock that’s mentioned in the book: Stop eating people’s old French fries, pigeon. Have some self respect! Don’t you know you can fly? – Tracy Jordan).
What were some of your favorite books from last year? My Goodreads to-read list is always growing.