Books 2014

My plan for this post is to keep track of the books I read this year. Being the slowest reader on Earth it will likely be a very short list. Part of my problem is that I tend to be reading multiple books at the same time and that does not encourage completion.

Here’s the first entry. More will be added as, or when, I actually finish another book. *fingers crossed*

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman.

Bought myself. A great, fast read and would definitely be worth rereading if I had the time to invest in that sort of thing.

The Smartest Kids in the World and how they got that way by Amanda Ripley. (+ 16/4/14)

Christmas gift from Mutti and Mac. A quick, easy read, definitely intended for a general audience. A reasonable introduction to the subject but I would have liked something a little more substantive. Fortunately, there’s a substantial bibliography to explore.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. (+ 20/5/14)

Bought myself. Brilliant novel that I would recommend be added to anyone’s must read list. Disturbing as heck but reverberates with reality, especially every time a piece of legislation regulating the use women’s bodies hits the law books. My only quibble is with the Historical Notes, the last chapter seemed incongruous with the rest of the book. There was something about the tone of that section that felt off.

Call the Midwife. A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (Originally published as The Midwife.) by Jennifer Worth. (+ 3/6/14)

Bought myself. A wonderful read. It really opens your eyes to the conditions people were living under back then and makes obvious just how important the founding of the NHS was to the improvement in people’s well being. (Plus it makes clear home births are entirely feasible with properly trained midwives, even in this day and age.) I would also recommend the tv show, Call The Midwife, on PBS and Netflix in the US, it really captures the emotional tone and detail of the book very well.

The Diet Myth. America’s Obsession With Weight Is Hazardous To Your Health by Paul Campos. (+ 10/6/14)

Bought myself. A depressing read. Time and again it becomes clear that facts are not necessarily a significant factor when it comes to human behaviour. Even when ‘experts’ know the truth about the lack of efficacy of dieting, they continue to push them as a solution to who knows what problem. I’d definitely recommend this book as a starting point to informing yourself on the issues related to the current obesity hysteria as seen in the media. The issues are complex and can’t be answered with simple platitudes. We need a well-informed health policy, perhaps those responsible should read more books like this.

Orange is the New Black. My Year in a Woman’s Prison. by Piper Kerman. (+ 19/7/14)

Bought myself. A glimpse inside the US federal penal system. Once again here is evidence that imprisoning women for mostly non-violent crimes is a waste of human potential and damaging to the prisoners and their families. The complete lack of educational opportunities and vocational training that might facilitate a successful reentry into society seems senseless.

The book was a good read though I got the impression that the author went a little easy on herself to make a better impression. I think this undercuts her story which would have benefitted from a little more honesty. I would also have liked to have heard more from some of the other inmates as to what they thought about their experiences.

The only people who seem to benefit from the ‘justice system’ appear to be the shareholders of the businesses who operate it. The rest of us lose.

From here on I’ll be posting reviews on Goodreads and linking to them here.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

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