Saturday, June 30, 2007

Better by Atul Gawande

I love Gawande's writings and many of the essays in this book were excellent and thought-provoking. But it was disappointing to find two that I had already read (in the New Yorker) and another essay (and the conclusion) that seemed irrelevant to the theme and mere padding. Oh well.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Rethinking Thin by Gina Kolata

Kolata points to evidence that humans have a (very narrow) weight preset and that it is virtually impossible for them to diet their way below that amount (at least, for the long term). I'm no scientist and can't judge the evidence, but one would think that given the discrimination obese people face in this culture that if it were possible to be thin, they would be. So I'm inclined to believe her and think that all of the cultural focus on losing (large amounts of) weight will someday join leeches in the history books.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Wow! This was excellent. This was another pre-read for studying ancients next year, but I totally got into it--amazing suspense for a children's book. Highly recommended. Would be a great family read-aloud, too.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Boy of the Painted Cave by Justin Denzel

I read this since it will be part of Simon's reading for our study of Ancients next year. I think it is a good, if not stellar, choice for pre-history.

Monday, June 18, 2007

House Update

OK, this is supposed to be a book blog, but I haven't been reading much since I've been working on the house so . . .

. . . brace yourself for a pretty scary 'before' picture. (Two people had the same reaction on seeing this bathroom for the first time: "That paint looks just like baby poop!")

And here's the after pictures:

(I think the first picture is a truer representation of the paint color.)

Here's the master bedroom, which also has a scary 'before' (yellow and gold/orange spongepaint; mercifully, I don't have a picture):

Now, I think that wall needs something, but I don't know what. Also, should I paint the nightstands white or black?

Here are a few more views of the master bedroom:

I'm pleased with how the stencil turned out; definitely the best way to cheaply add interest to a huge, blank wall.

And this if from my yard (how cool is that?):

This is the library; over the bookcase, it reads "I have always imagined that paradise is a kind of library."

This is the master bedroom. I like the tile but I don't like the paint. Any ideas on what color would be better?

This is one of the walls in the gameroom (AKA the DMZ):

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Normally I read until midnight, but last night I was so wiped out at 10pm that I decided to set aside my Serious Book and read a few pages of a new Fluff book to get to sleep.

At 4:04am, I finished My Sister's Keeper. I literally couldn't put it down--this book's strengths were its incredible characterization of a half dozen major characters as well as its compelling portrayal of a family ripped apart by a child's illness.

Now that it is the light of day, I've been vacillating between thinking that the twist at the end was pure stupidity and thinking that it was the perfect encapsulation of the idea that we, ultimately, don't control . . . anything.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

On the one hand, Barbara Kingsolver is a delicious writer who chronicles well the tale of her family's year of eating mostly home-grown food. On the other hand, this book suffers prodigiously in comparison with The Omnivore's Dilemma, which covers much of the same ground without sounding preachy or elitist. Despite Kingsolver's repeated reminders that she wasn't being preachy or elitist, she was. I'd have a helluva lot easier time eating locally if I could hire a caterer for a family party or calculate food costs without counting labor costs (or time).

Friday, June 01, 2007

River of Doubt by Candace Millard

I can't remember the last time a non-fiction book gave me so many nightmares; let's just say I won't be canoing down the Amazon any time soon. This well-told tale of Theodore Roosevelt's near-death while exploring an unknown tributary of the Amazon is worth reading.

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