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Greg

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holidays, book reviews [Dec. 28th, 2005|10:59 am]
Greg
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[Current Mood |chipperchipper]
[Current Music |Everything but the Girl - "Walking Wounded" (Pandora)]

Quick summary of holidays: they were good! I had fun at home, wonderjess made me delicious mochas. Funny things happened, played a lot of Taboo and some other games, and watched a fair bit of Arrested Development (and read about the Simpsons (one of my presents), so I have a lot of quotes in my head. Watch out!).

Outrageous Firsts in Television History (not entirely SFW)

Christmas is a bad time to try to lose weight. Also, weighing one's self right before bed can lead to having an angry sleep. Ugh.

I got a lot of books for Christmas, so I'm going to review them. Here are the ones I've read so far:

The Scorpion's Gate by Richard Clarke. The tagline for the book is "Sometimes you can tell more truth through fiction", and the book seems fairly realistic. It's a tad...idealistic, maybe, that a few people could stop such a major thing from happening, but then again maybe that's how it works. The secretary of defense is evil, and although his name isn't Rumsfeld, you get the idea. It's a pretty good thriller, similar to Tom Clancy but a lot shorter.

Bait & Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich (borrowed from my mom, who had checked it out from the library). I liked her other book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, where she tried to live off of the salary of very blue-collar jobs (working at Wal-Mart, being a waitress in a diner, etc.). In Bait & Switch, she tried to get a white-collar job by hiring image consultants and resume guidance counselors and things like that, but I didn't quite see the point. Overall it was mostly depressing and I didn't get much out of it except being worried about losing my job. Not really recommended.

Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting too much out of this book (maybe because in my copy the pages weren't cut correctly, which irritated me at first), but it blew me away. He talks about lots of things that have changed under this administration that he credits the rise of fundamentalism to, and although the list of things that have changed wasn't terribly new (science vs. religion, separation of church and state, etc. - you can see the table of contents at amazon), he presents his case very well, and manages to maintain a sort of composure while still conveying a sense of urgency. He includes a few chapters on foreign policy and nuclear proliferation which had material that I wasn't familiar with. Also, the writing style is very straightforward, and he often talks about what the Carter Center (nonprofit organization that he and his wife started) are doing to alleviate the problems he lists. Overall, I was highly impressed, and would definitely recommend it.

I really like Pandora when I want to listen to music but nothing in particular. You should try it if you haven't!

Oh, and this SNL rap video about the Chronicles of Narnia has been making the rounds - quite amusing!
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: omega697
2005-12-28 06:23 pm (UTC)
If you liked Carter's book, it sounds like you might like this book. I have it if you'd like to borrow it.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: gregstoll
2005-12-28 07:14 pm (UTC)
Ooh, interesting - I might after I get through my stack of books to read.

Ah, right, the other thing I wanted to mention is that the books I own are available for borrowing. *shrug*
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