I had to skip my long run! I have painful muscle soreness from an interval run that I did two days ago :( I’ll be back running on Monday.
It’s been a while since I did some book reviews! Here’s what I read over the last few weeks, in case you’re looking for something good to read by the pool this summer (or on the metro bus, in my case!).
The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan (non-fiction)
This was a really interesting book that discussed how we have had a significant impact on the development and evolution of certain plants. It told the story of four plants – the apple tree, the tulip, the potato, and marijuana plant – and how we have altered these plants in permanent ways. I found the history of the potato most fascinating because it addressed some of the significant genetic modifications we’ve been making to the potato to increase crop resistance to various bugs and balanced the GMO discussion with the herbicides and pesticides used to grow non-modified traditional potatoes. At times, the author waxed a little too poetic for my taste, like in the apple chapter where he cast Johnny Appleseed as a modern Dionysus and our current apple industry as Apollo. I was really just looking for the history and interesting facts :) Overall, I really enjoyed the analysis that went into the book and found some of the themes thought-provoking; I’ll have to check out Pollan’s other books!
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (fiction)
I loved this book. The frame of the story is that it is being told by an elderly lady, Ninny Threadgoode, to a woman visiting her at the nursing home, Evelyn, who is going through a tough time with her husband. Ninny begans to tell the story of her life and others in a small town in Alabama from the 1920s through the 1960s or so. The Threadgoodes are a big and generous family, and Ninny is adopted by them early on in her life. She goes on to marry one of the Threadgoode brothers, but the main focus of the story is the relationship between Idgie Threadgoode, a spirited tomboy, and Ruth, a girl who stays briefly with the Threadgoodes over a summer. Idgie and Ruth fall in love, and somehow the town accepts this relationship and takes it for granted without a word. I don’t want to spoil the plot so I won’t say anymore, but it’s an entertaining and heartwarming read (reminded me a little of The Help)! Occasionally the narrative got confusing because the timeframe jumps back and forth between the “present” with Ninny and Evelyn and the past, and the narrative jumped around in the past as well and followed different characters. It’s possible that the author was trying to mimic Ninny’s memories, now that I think about it.
If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t) by Betty White (memoir)
Of all the memoirs written by comedians that I’ve read (Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Rob Lowe), Betty White’s was my least favorite. It’s written as a series of essays, and while I felt like there were a few interesting thoughts and stories here and there, I didn’t feel that there was a lot of meat to the book. It is interesting that Betty’s TV career began right around when TV itself did, so she’s seen how much the industry has changed from the very beginning.
What I’m reading now:
I’m reading It Starts with Food as I do Whole30 to better understand the premise behind the diet/ cleanse! I’ll let you know what I think after I’m done, but you’ll probably see me mention it more than once over the coming weeks.
I picked out an armful of books from the library as usual: 1776, by David McCullough (history), The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (classic novel, I guess?), The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner (chick lit!), The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts (fiction), and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (fiction).
To read my other book reviews/ thoughts, go to the “Books” category on the right hand side!
I’ll be back later today with a review of how this first week of Whole 30 went for me!