Books read in March

Man, there’s a lot of nonfiction going on this month? What’s up with that?

Read
Positive Addiction
William Glasser
This book is a bit dated it its psychological theories, but makes some good points. The author examines two groups of people: those addicted to running and those addicted to meditation. He supports such addictions, and sees great benefit to getting yourself addicted to some sort of positive activity. It also includes tips to establish your own positive addition.

Uprooting Racism
Paul Kivel
The guide (maybe even The Guide) for white people wishing to examine their own racism. Also the guide for white people who are sure they are not racist, but are concerned about other people’s racism. (Note: both of these groups most likely has some white privilege things to acknowledge.) Each chapter ends with discussion questions making this a very good book to use for a study group. Well written and recommended.

Mediterranean Women Stay Slim Too.
Melissa Kelly
I’ve successfully cut back on the reading of diet books, something of a hidden addiction for me. But I seem to have not actually divested myself from books that are about being slim and still eating good food. It isn’t such a bad thing. This book has a lot of good recipes and points. However, its tone can be slightly grating. It is clear from the text that the author grew up in a family that valued food and the communal ritual of eating food together. Today, the author runs a restaurant where she can continue this tradition. I am happy for her, and wish that we were all raised the way she was and strive to eat the way she does. That said, I think she may have laid out a bit of a tall order for most Americans.

Juliet, Naked
Nick Hornby
(first “Lucky Day” book)
I was excited, but cautious, about this book as I really love Nick Hornby’s writing, yet really did not like A Long Way Down. Happily, this book captures all the gleeful Hornbyesque dialogue and descriptions. As Hornby is aging, so are his characters. Because I am aging too, I don’t mind a bit.

The setup of the story was delightful, as were the life and musings of an aging former big deal rock star.

Math: Facing an American Phobia
Marilyn Burns
I was reading part of this book for an assignment at school and Burns was so funny, I just kept reading for pleasure. Burns analyzes why the vast majority of the country “hates” and “can’t do” math, and also points out that any efforts to teach math in a different, possibly more accessible way, are often loudly protested. It seems that people want their children to learn math in exactly the same way they did, even if the result was that they themselves hate math and describe themselves as not very good at it.

That makes me a little crazy. But Marilyn Burns, though troubled and confused about this, cheerily looks at a variety of math strands, how we use them in daily life, and how she would teach them in a classroom. This was so witty, interesting and thought provoking, I recommend it to everyone, not just “math” people.

Search for Dinosaurs
Bischoff
Another in the “Choose Your Own Adventure“-esque series from my youth. I had a very difficult time with this as my eyes tend to glaze over at words like “Mesozoic” and “Jurassic” and so I had trouble picking up the clues from each chapter.

Downtown Owl
Chuck Klosterman
I’m just going to say right now: prepare yourself for the ending. You will be breezing along enjoying the story and the writing and Klosterman’s incredibly unique way of seeing things and then BAM! The ending just hits you over the head and there is no real resolution and you will walk around in a kind of book daze for the next week feeling angry. But it is an anger tempered with some other emotions such as embarrassment–Why didn’t I see that coming?–and rationalization–Well, it is his book and he can end it anyway he wants, and indeed there were so many other memorable parts.

Ultimately, this is an awesome book, with several laugh-out-loud-read-them-to-any-one-who-is-willing parts. People who have spent any amount of time in a small town would enjoy the explanation of the change in the Town of Owl’s mascot, which I meant to read out loud to my mother, but the book went back before that could happen. His competing analysis of George Orwell’s 1984 from an adult/teenager perspective has clearly been fermenting inside of him for years, possibly since high school. The hidden rules of the single woman in a small town are hilarious, as are the twin internal monologues during a conversation between a man and a woman in a bar.

“Glee” is one word to describe how I feel when I read Chuck Klosterman. In this, his first work of fiction, I felt a sustained glee for 250 of its pages. Those last six pages? Be prepared. They are coming.

Olive Kitteridge
Elizabeth Strout
Yet another book that I didn’t have to wait for 187 people to bring back from the library. I love, love, love the “Lucky Day” cart at the Kenton branch library. I also loved this book of interconnected short stories. I didn’t love Olive Kitteridge, but I came to respect and feel sympathy for her, which I think was the point.

The Pleasures of Cooking for One
Judith Jones
I liked that the focus on the cookbook is using your leftovers in two or three delicious meals. I’ve found this method in cookbooks with “normal sized” portions, but this was the first time I’ve seen it in a “cooking for one” cookbook. I enjoyed Judith Jones chatty tone and her discussion of techniques and equipment used in cooking for one. This cookbook seems to me to be very French inspired, which is fine with me, but might not be good for some. Overall, it was good enough for me to buy in hardback, which says a lot.

Started but did not finish:
Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression
Mildred Armstrong Kalish
I would like to read the rest of this book as I always find depression-era tomes interesting, even if they make me feel guilty for not scraping the extra bit of egg white out of the eggshell with my finger, as the author pointed out the women in her family always did. Nothing was wasted.

2 thoughts on “Books read in March”

  1. As always, I am super impressed with all that you have read. Especially the nonfiction. Since I really only read children's lit/YA and very rarely any nonfiction, I thoroughly enjoy seeing a different taste in genres. 🙂

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