Behind in the Times

I apologize for not reviewing sooner… Since the last recommendation, I’ve finished quite a few other books:

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Twinkies, Deconstructed
      It was a joy to read this. Parts of it read like stereo instructions cut-and-pasted with an out-of-date science textbook, but the author adds his own comic relief and nifty bits of info to create a charming tell-all about what our nation is really consuming. Nifty (I like that word today) things I learned: 
                 *Sugar is used in flame retardant, water-based ink, cleaning cement mixers, curing tobacco, and is a charcoal substitute in gunpowder.
                 * 8 out of 39 Twinkie ingredients are made from corn.
                 *the yellow corn pigments in chicken feed are what makes yolks and baby chicks yellow.
                 *The enzymes that extract sweeteners from bases used in Twinkies are also used in stonewashing jeans.
                 *Dextrose (a sweetener) is the base for Vitamin C and Penicillin. You can buy Dextrose in European supermarkets, but its labeled as glucose.
                 * Speaking of Glucose, its the compound that brings glossiness and pliability to leather, stabilizes adhesives, prolongs the setting of concrete (all those sweeteners in cement! wow!) and prolongs the shelf life of lotion… its like a moisturizer for your moisturizer.

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– Kite Runner
     The Kite Runnertells the story of Amir, a well-to-do boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, who is haunted by the guilt of betraying his childhood friend Hassan, the son of his father’s Hazara servant. The story is set against a backdrop of tumultuous events, from the fall of the monarchy in Afghanistan through the Soviet invasion, the mass exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the Taliban regime.” (Wikipedia)

This book made me cry. It is such an adventurous read, that you cant help but feel for the characters. It challenges an American view of the Taliban, and brings a bittersweet (thank you, Shakespeare) love to the friendship between Khan and Hassan, one I had long forgotten existed.

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– Dollanganger III, If There Be Thorns
This book was a bit of a disappointment. If you haven’t read my review of the previous two, please do. It will save me time. In short, brother and sister end up living together, and raise her two children (from different fathers) as mom and dad… the youngest (and child of mother’s husband and daughter) is as mentally ill as the rest of the female bloodline. His narration in fragmented sentences and “baby talk” got to be quite irritating halfway through the book, but his older brother was admirable. Both Cathy (the daughter) and Chris (the son) got far less sympathetic with every page, and I found it to be the least believable book yet.

Next on the Shelf:

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– The Know-It-All, which is about a man who decides to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, and discovers more about himself than the world. He begins as a leading authority on pop culture and soon discovers that its all rather superficial, and that’s not the kind of knowledge he wants to pass onto his children (when they appear). He struggles through trying to one-up his father, trying to get pregnant, and trying to retain all the information. Its one of the books that I started this summer and never got back around to, so I’m eager to read what R-Z has in store… a list of amazing facts to come.

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  Recommended by a teacher, I felt a bit guilty when I moved it to the front of the line, but I’m sure all will be forgiven once I finish it.

Published in: on November 7, 2007 at 8:19 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Ah, Twinkies, Deconstructed sounds very interesting! I have heard that it is good, but have not had a chance to read it. I loved The Know-It-All! I read most of it while on a plane and was laughing out loud.

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