Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Books I've Been Reading
This week is already 10 times better than last week. Most of my team are back from their annual leave time, and I am busy. I feel useful, fulfilled, and overall just - you know - awake. This is a really good thing, as I've always been the kind of person who needs to feel useful. I've been reading a few books lately. I won't do full-on reviews for these ones, as there's a few of them and they weren't moving enough for an entire review. They were entertaining enough for an honourable mention though...
The first one was "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser
I never saw the movie that was based on this book, but I can tell you that the book was certainly eye opening, and taught me a fair bit about the fast food industry that I didn't know before. I've said it before in other book reviews, but the thing about food is that it touches absolutely every aspect of life as we know it. Food is basically what we're made of, food is business, food is political, food is environmental, food influences absolutely everything in the world that lives in many different ways. The thing about fast food is that it's full of crap (quite literally), it holds very little nutritional value (if any), and it is a business that is corrupt right through the entire system, from the earth to the animal, to the slaughterhouse, to the restaurant where we so greedily gobble up those cheap meals that really aren't so cheap when you look at it in it's proper perspective. Though I was averse to fast food before I read the book, I certainly am 150% more averse to it after reading it. Thanks Eric for opening our eyes further. (I know I said that none of the books were moving enough for an entire review, but if any of them really were - it was this one. It was just a while back that I finished it, and therefore is not as fresh in my mind as some of the more recent ones)
The second one was "Elephants On Acid and Other Bizarre Experiments" by Alex Boese
This was a really interesting book. I read almost the entire thing on my bus trip to Leeds which took an entire day. I discovered it when I was at Sue Anne's house. Typical kind of book to find at a Scientist's house I suppose. The title and bright colours attracted me at first, (let's be honest) but then I opened the book and found LOADS of fascinating stories about whacky experiments that have been performed through the years by Scientists with the best of intentions. The one which the author got the title from was quite possibly the saddest thing I have ever read. Some scientists thought it would be a good idea to see what an Elephant would do on LSD. Unfortunately nobody knew how much LSD an Elephant could handle, so they gave poor Tusko a whopping 297 milligrams of LSD. Unfortunately this proved to be a huge mistake. Poor Tusko died quite a painful death all in the name of Science. None of the other stories are quite as sad as that one though. They're fascinating really, and totally worth reading even for the likes of non-scientists such as myself.
The third book I read recently was "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
You may remember that I mentioned discovering this one a few months back. Well, yes - I finally read it and umm - I have to say it was mildly entertaining. But, for a true Jane fan, it is difficult not to pick out the glaring errors that Mr. Grahame-Smith made when re-writing the classic beloved by so many. You can also tell that he doesn't really have much literary experience. It seems to me that he just had a thought one day along the lines of - "Pride and Prejudice - AND - Zombies" and thought - how brilliant is that. Likely his girlfriend made him watch the BBC P&P and the thought came to him in a blinding flash of sheer brilliance. It is a brilliant idea really, but I feel that if he really knew the characters better, and the general period that the book was written in - he could have taken it and run with it in a really intelligently creative, yet still hilarious manner. However, that being said - it was good. I laughed out loud at some points. Good fun overall. The character Elizabeth Bennet and even Mr. Darcy have totally different personalities altogether in this book. Don't expect gentility and cordiality. These people are true killing machines!!!! I mean, they take out the living (mainly Ninjas) and the un-dead with sheer ruthlessness. Any guy who's girlfriend has made them sit through BBC P&P will probably think it is the MOST brilliant thing they have ever read.
The book I'm currently reading is "Stardust" by Neil Gaiman
I am REALLY enjoying this book. Neil is a genius. How DOES he know the world of Faerie so well? I'm not sure, but I have a theory that he's been there before. I saw the movie for this book when it first came out, and I thought it was brilliant. The book though - is better as I'm discovering at the moment. This man has amazing talent. I think I'll be reading his other works in the future.
That's all I have for book reviews today folks. Happy Reading!!!