Monday, September 05, 2011

Currently On My Bathroom Bookshelf

What I'm reading right now:

The Godforsaken Sea
I've just started this gem of a book, partially for research but partially because I'm just a wee bit obsessed with the sea and sailing.  If I was really, really obsessed I'd be sailing right now and hardly anyone would hear from me, but I'd rather be writing and gardening (though doing those things near enough to the ocean to go play in and on the waves daily would be ideal.)  Anyway, the author is doing a great job so far of trying to explain to landlubbers why the Southern Ocean is so friggin' dangerous.  I've never been very far from the shore--out of sight of shore, but still pretty darned close.  I've also sailed in a notorious boat-eating area where we lost a kayak we were towing to some pretty powerful wave action.  So I have a basis of comparison.  I'm not sure that someone who hasn't been on a boat small enough to be overshadowed by a waves and completely surrounded by water with no sign of land can get it.  If you're one of those folks, I'd be curious to hear if this book would do it for you.  He's already referred to my favorite-est book on the subject, Heavy Weather Sailing.  Wee!

The Murderer Next Door
I'm poaching when I read this book.  I have a habit of picking up stuff that my DH is reading and then getting sucked in.  Every time I read a book about crime and human nature that starts to break the barriers between what we think criminals think and do vs. what they actually think and do, I can't help but get the feeling that our legal system is screwed up.  I think the checks and balances work okay, but the actual laws and stuff--it's like trying to run a space program using only Newtonian physics, a 1950's machinist shop and a bank of calculators.  You can hobble along, but it becomes impossible and overwhelming very quickly.  Anyway, this book is no different in that regard.  Where it is different from other books I've read on this stuff is how it connects murder back to me, personally.  Some of the insights so far are depressing, but most are extremely enlightening.  This might end up on my list of highly recommended books.  We'll see how it pans out.

Lieutenant Hornblower
'Cause I need some salt sea in my veins.  Always good to remember each ship is a small community connected to a larger community of many ships, and that gets political fast, and that's without taking the navy stuff into account.  I'm loving the way the author uses characters to describe his protagonist in extremely immodest ways.  After reading more subtle prose for a long time, it's a lot like having someone shout in my face that I must love this character he's so awesome!  I don't care, though.  The story is good, and besides, reading prose like this is it's own fun.  Just like I enjoy a really broad range of music, I enjoy a broad range of writing styles.

The Vegetarian Myth
Talk about courage.  A former vegetarian (20 years of the life choice, so we're not talking someone who dipped their toes in) exposes her throat and her research on what plant-based dietary choices actually do to the planet, with an occasional mention of what it does to the human body long-term.  (I had no idea there are doctors that specialize in treating former vegans.)  I know that just the idea of this book will earn her death threats and the undying hatred of lots and lots of people, and yet she wrote it.  Bravo.  Also, unbelievably fascinating.  I haven't checked up on her research so I can't comment on that, and sometimes her feminist views set me back on my heels a bit (and I consider myself a feminist--but yowza!) but I'm not caring about the details and whether she's right or wrong on a given point.  I'm not trying to save my friends, or even save the planet, though I care deeply about both and take care of them the best I can.  Nor am I trying to prove or disprove anything to anyone.  It's just an incredibly entertaining book.  It can be mind-bending, in a good way, to read a call to arms in the name of environmentalism to start eating responsibly-raised meat.  It's also a scathing criticism of current agricultural methods, including so-called organic agriculture.  Another potential book for my list of highly recommended books.  

I've also got a couple of technical manuals on gardening that I'm paging through, a book on architecture through the ages, and a dictionary of architecture.  I read them, but I'm not reading them end to end like a regular book, so I'm not technically counting them.

That reminds me, I need to pick up that Acorn book again.  I got sidetracked by other stuff.

So many books, so little time ...

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