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June booklist

1. Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman
 
A modern classic that I just now got around to reading.
 
2. Finding our Way Again: the return of ancient practices, Brian McLaren
 
I was disappointed in this book mostly because I expected something else - I had ordered it with the understanding that it focused on Orthodox practices. Still, it is not a bad book and is thoughtful in its look at a variety of the "ancient practices" making a resurgence in the modern world.
 
3. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Stephanie Meyer
 
I would not have read this at all if it hadn't been for the Twilight connection, and now that I have read it, I would not read it again. It's interesting in its own way ... but really, since WHEN is Edward's hair red? Srsly.
 
4. The Mill on the Floss, George Elliot
 
Is it giving the plot away to declare that practically everyone in this story ends up miserable or dead? I enjoyed the tale well enough in the telling, but my, what a downer of an ending.
 
5. Nuture Shock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
 
Absolutely worth reading if you have kids. Or if you might someday have kids. Or if you have grandkids. Or if you once were a kid. It's not that you should accept every word in this book as gold, but it is certainly thought-provoking.
 
6. Twelve Little Cakes, Dominika Dery
 
I so very much enjoyed the reading of Twelve Little Cakes. Dominika Dery has a charming way of writing and even though life was very difficult growing up in communist Czechoslovakia - especially if your parents were dissidents - each tale of her childhood is presented with such love and humor that it really is a "feel good" book.
 
This is my pick for the month!
 
7. Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely
 
Another great addition to the pop-science Freakonomics-style books. Honestly, I just love this stuff. There are things you have to take with a grain of salt, but it does give you a lot to think about.  (Also, download Dan Ariely's lecture from the London School of Economics website. You won't be sorry.)
 
8. God's Gift to Women, Eric Ludy
 
I think all I'll really say about this is that as usual, the books aimed at men are marginally better (less sappy, more substance), but while I am all for supporting Godly masculinity, there is still something that just gets under my skin about the presentation.
 
9. Perfecting Ourselves To Death, Richard Winter
 
I have some perfectionist tendancies (although at a healthy level, according to this book). It was good reading, helped explain why I react to some things the way I do, and ideas of ways to harness perfectionism and use it for good, and not let it impact relationships. Also, this book gets points for being from a Christian perspective.
 
10. Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us, Daniel Pink
 
I found this "surprising truth" not so surprising, but very true: people do their best and most creative work when they are given the freedom to do it when and how they wish.
 
11. Jane's Fame: how Jane Austen conquered the world, Claire Harman
 
I've read more than my share of biographies of Jane Austen, so it was nice that this one focused more on how her books rather took on a life of their own after her death. It still felt like the book could have taken the subject further - or maybe I just had hoped for more discussion on Jane-as-popular-culture.
 
12. Princess Ben, Catherine Gilbert Murdock
 
Very charmingly presented fairytale/anti-fairytale, if that makes sense. It has all the classic fairytale elements (a princess, a dragon, handsome prince) but several surprising twists, a dash of magic, a more-or-less traditional ending. The writing seemed a bit repetitive, but I think I noticed it more because I listened to an audio version.

Books read from The Pile ... absolutely none. :(

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
main_hoon_emily
Jun. 30th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
I wish I could find an interview with Stephenie Meyer that I read years ago, right after I first read Twilight, where she talked about always having a soft spot for redheaded guys, and so she made Edward a redhead. I guess because of that, the Edward/red hair thing in Bree Tanner didn't faze me, though it seems everyone else must have missed that interview!
eattheolives
Jul. 1st, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
I guess! It just seemed so odd that she spent the ENTIRE Twilight series calling his hair "copper" or "bronze" or "caramel" ... none of which really bring red to my mind! Then to have him be referred to as "the redhead", it was like, wait, who?
jmcphers
Jun. 30th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
The thing that totally surprised me about Drive was not that creative work is best done with freedom and autonomy but that traditional rewards actually make performance worse. Even if they didn't help much I didn't think that they'd actually hurt!
eattheolives
Jul. 1st, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
Yes, I still wonder a little bit about that. How it was described makes sense, and yet ... if someone offered me a traditional reward, I feel like it would motivate me!
ransomedsea
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
I've decided that George Eliot I will forever love for The Lifted Veil and forever want to kill myself for anything else she has written. Lifted Veil was the first thing of hers I ever read and loved and everything since then I've read has just been so miserable that I don't even care how well it is written. I'm bummed now because I've had Mill on the Floss and been afraid to start it (because of said misery) and now I think I never shall.

/ramble

I may just have to take you up on the Princess Ben recommendation. It sounds just quirky enough to work.
eattheolives
Jul. 1st, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
Mill on the Floss was REALLY well written. No quarrel there. But so, so miserable. You just want to pick these people up and transport them to a Happy Land and give them flowers and hot tea and, I dunno, a unicorn.
kiwiria
Jul. 1st, 2010 06:48 am (UTC)
Which book was your favourite read of the month?
eattheolives
Jul. 1st, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
Twelve Little Cakes. :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )