The last 5 books I’ve read –
“Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” – Amy Chua – Your kids are are your own dammed fault as one author I’ve read put it simply . Chua criticises indulgent Western parenting methods which place children’s self esteem before accomplishment, and celebrate mediocre kids with abundant entitlement attitudes. In these memoirs, Chua lauds the Chinese parenting model, applying near-suffocating boundaries and discipline to her children’s lives. Predictably, her methods have stirred a backlash among the Western soccer-mum-set who label her methods borderline abusive. While I agree with 99% of what she says and does, Chuas’ motivation seems bound to living vicariously through her children’s success and validation of others. Her tone is also overly self congratulatory at times. (Incidentally, this is first book I’ve read written by a female in over 55 reads.) 3/5
”Under the Banner of Heaven” – John Krakauer – Explores the history of the Mormon church, from its origins as a religious excuse for founder and self-proclaimed prophet Joseph Smith to smash as much pussy as he could, to the world’s fastest (and one of the richest) growing corporate-religious empires today. Krakauer chronicles Mormonism’s rise from persecuted sect- its early sanction of polygamy, misogyny and racism as well as the irony that the Mormon state Utah is home to the U.S. highest rate of white collar crime. (Many early Mormons also developed a fondness for weed) The book isn’t a hack job on Mormonism per se, and has a lot of positive things to say about the religion’s membership. But as Krakaeur aptly puts it, ”If only we could have Mormons without Mormonism.” 4.5/5
“The Omnivore’s Dilemma” – Michael Pollan – Eat this, don’t eat that. The choice over what to eat agonises many, but rarely do any of us consider the ecology of our food. How does what we eat get here and what is the true cost and consequence of each meal consumed? Pollan traces the food chains of four distinct meals – one from Mcdonalds, another from Organic Wholefoods, a farm raised meal and one hunted and gathered by the author himself. The facts regarding how each are cultivated is eye opening and Pollan to his credit is never judgemental nor preachy. Easily rated as one of the ten best books I’ve read, I now see my food in a different light. Also highly recommended is the documentary, Food Inc in which Pollan was a narrator/ contributor. 5/5
”In The Plex” – Stephen Levy – I freely admit that I have a hard on for Google. As an educator, I find its tools invaluable. Its ethos, culture and visionary direction, inspiring. Levy lays Google’s history bare in this balanced and up to date examination of the company that revolutionised search and stands as a strategic threat to giants Apple and Microsoft. (Micro-who??) Set to release its very impressive (i.e. amazing) looking social network utility Google Plus any day now, I’m wondering if this move represents the first serious challenge to Facebook’s reign. 4.5/5
”Born to Run” – Scott McDougall – Psst! Wanna know a sure fire way to raise cortisol levels, reduce testosterone and GH, disrupt immune function and cause whole body inflammation all the while potentially fucking your feet, knees, and back AND developing the physique of an Auschiwtiz victim? Well, distance running is for you! McDougall, a dedicated (i.e. retarded) distance runner investigates the feats of the Tarahumera people who are renown for their feats of blitzing ultramarathon times as a matter of course. The adventure story driving the narrative is well written and his exposition of how expensive running shoes contribute to most running injuries is interesting. His assertions that humans are evolutionarily designed for distance running however is laughable, borders on the fucking absurd and ”runs” counter to any real evidence a simple Google search could have pointed to. 4/5 for the narrative. 1/5 for McDougall’s erroneous misrepresentation of the facts.