Monthly Archives: August 2015

** Why Grow Up by Susan Neiman


Don’t be fooled by the cartoonish cover: Why Grow Up?: Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age is a philosophy book (I know… brainless beach reading one day and philosophy the next, it’s quite a shock!).

From the jacket cover I see that the author is, apparently, skewering our society’s obsession with youth. I must be a little thick because I did not quite grasp that from reading the book.  Still, amongst the intimidating Kant and Hanna Arendt quotes, she makes a great point that becoming an adult is all about reconciling what the world ought to be with what it is. That’s a child-rearing insight that could change the world.

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Filed under Non fiction

* China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan


Even by the minimal standards of beach reading, China Rich Girlfriend is amazingly thin. It starts out like People on steroids, with a dozen brand names to describe each protagonists’ outfit, and the private jets, jewels, and out landing lifestyles carry it for the first few chapters. After that, the spoiled (adult) kids and their decadent parents got a little less interesting, even in a voyeuristic mode. The best part for me was the Chinese New Year’s party centered on fondling and wearing the party giver’s astounding jewelry collection. Hilarious, but pretty early in the book…

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Filed under New fiction

** The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker


It may be a tiny bit uncomfortable to eat processed food after reading The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor, which shows how the food industry manipulates flavor to make us eat anything as long as it tastes like something else… Happily the author (mostly) stays out of rant mode and instead gives us lively retellings of experiments of all sorts, including some that follow sheep grazing in Colorado (they are good at selecting the very foods that tame their parasites, it turns out). Fortunately, the solution is simple: seek out real food, and although the author indulges in $405 shipping fees for tomatoes, needs not be quite that extravagant!

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Filed under Non fiction