Books for the New Year

Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte. This is like the garbage version of the corpse book -- what happens to garbage when we throw it out. I have only two things to say: Royte is not as funny as Mary Roach, and people who deal with garbage are much less keen to talk about it than people who deal with bodies.

Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This was pretty good -- about the authors' motorcycle trip from London to New York, overland (apart from that awkward Bering Strait bit). Perhaps not surprisingly (being that they are both actors) they seem like emotional types; I certainly wouldn't sign up to bike around the world with either of them.

Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynne Truss. Truss is a grumpy woman, and I can't say I disagree with her that people could stand to be more courteous, but I think this book makes a lot more sense in England than it does here -- Canadians are in general polite and friendly to each other, just like the stereotype suggests. Whereas the English... not so much.

Also Truss's Internet bears no relation to my Internet. She seems to conflate her technical problems with computers and her problems with the culture of the Internet. Anyway, some of my best friends are from the Internet, so there. (I had a more reasoned response to this earlier, but it's been a while since I finished the book and now I've forgotten what I was going to say. Hmph.)

Incidentally, this book references a book which is also referenced by the book I am currently reading (American Backlash by Michael Adams) which I selected independently of the Truss book. The referenced book is called Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam. Does that mean I should read it? Probably. God, this reading will be the death of me. Maybe I should give up watching TV so I have a chance in hell of keeping up with my own "to be read" list.

With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed by Lynne Truss. Funny and a little silly. Kind of Douglas Adams-ish, although that might just be because it's an English comedic novel. Also kind of Jasper Ffordish, but without the annoyingly clever literary references.

I'll be the Parent, You Be the Child by Paul Kropp. I got this from the Gender book, and I wasn't sure what to expect, whether it would be a conservative, spare-the-rod kind of thing, but to my pleasure it turned out to be by a Toronto writer who wrote for my favourite parenting magazine. It's a common-sense overview of various parenting issues, reviewing the available evidence and giving the bottom line according to Kropp. Very sensible advice. It made me think that I probably don't want to work full-time until my children are grown -- that the best thing I can give my children is my time. But since I would like to buy some new clothing before I am fifty, I will be working part-time.

And now Cordelia would like some of that time, so I can write no more.


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