Thursday, January 30, 2014


It's time to be honest about some books I'm either not going to review to their justification, or not going to finish.

No Man's Nightengale - Ruth Rendell

Because, I mean, No Man's Nightengale, right? What was that even ABOUT. Oh right, a mixed-race lady-reverend who is found STRANGLED because people are still sort of shitty about things like that. And then Inspector Wexford, retired, is asked to assist and advice, and because he's retired he can't just waltz in places demanding things, but because he's retired he doesn't have to fall in line with protocol in quite the same way.

And it's Ruth Rendell, who is Barbara Vine writing with a crime-fictionier slant, so it's GREAT. I shouldn't even have to tell you that. It's nuanced and exciting and top notch.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened - Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh is the internet's Spirit Animal. You'll recognize her from this graphic

even if you've seen it with a different VERB ALL THE NOUNS caption (and if you've never seen that image, welcome to the internet, help yourself to some lolcats but please don't feed the trolls). She writes honestly and hilariously about being a sad-sack adult and mental health issues and her dogs and grammar, and really my only criticism of this book is that it contains all of her best posts except 'The Alot Is Better Than You At Everything.'

So if you want your favorite…would you describe it as a webcomic? If you want it in paper form, with a few new stories, then here. Here it is. Allie Brosh is in your brain, understanding your relationship with chocolate chips as ineffective motivational tools.

And when I was done, I gave it to Eleanor and she read it for, like, an HOUR, and periodically picks it up because there are drawings of puppies in it.

Cooked - Michael Pollan

Oh man, Michael Pollan, I am totally your bitch. This book is divided into the Captain Planet elements (minus heart), each of which corresponds to a cooking method (fire with roasting, water with pot-cooking [braising and such], air with baking, and then earth with fermenting [because you bury your kimchi crock in the backyard, apparently]) and after each segment you are like, MAN, I need to build a fire pit and slow-roast some meat (or mix up a sourdough get what's happening).

One Thing I Learned was how cooking is basically an external pre-digestion method that allows us to not have eight stomachs, which helped us to become smarter as a species because we have hungry brains, and cooking allows us to get more calories into our bodies and thereby those brains. INTERESTING. And then also long, loving, hungry-making descriptions of the process of bread-making, or chopping crackling to put in a bbq sandwich. And also Science and Research.

But it's the chapter on fermenting that really got me, and that wooed me over to a fascination with gut health. SO MUCH DEPENDS on a healthy internal garden, you guys. Love your intestinal flora, feed them with yogurts and kimchis, do not scour them with antibiotics unless you have to. Which leads me to...

Clean Gut: The Breakthrough Plan for Eliminating the Root Cause of Disease and Revolutionizing Your Health - Alejandro Junger, M.D.

This guy is totally selling something. I don't want to hear about your Clean Gut program or your supplements because it makes me doubt the purity of your intentions. I ALSO don't want to hear about your mystical out-of-body meditative experience where your consciousness is suddenly everywhere. That's not why I'm here. I don't want to hear about how you fell 'instantly in love' with a woman's photo, prompting your foray into healthy living (to prepare for meeting your now-decided future-wife) because that weirds me out on, like, eight levels.

I'm also suspicious to the point of almost instant abandonment of any diet that tells me I can't eat fruit. I WILL EAT EVERY FRUIT, THANK YOU.

I didn't even make this for the purpose of argument, it was just THERE ON THE INTERNET ALREADY because Allie Brosh.

I also don't trust any 'roadmap to longevity and vibrant health' or 'ticket to a disease-free journey with an upgrade to first class.' First of all, those metaphors. SECONDLY, you can promise me nothing. Until we are all cyborgs, the best you can offer is an increased likelihood of good health.

Also, at one point either someone else takes over the writing (I'll admit, I was sort of skimming by this point) or Dr Junger starts referring to himself in the third person. HILARIOUSLY.

Let Me Off At The Top: My Classy Life and Other Musings - Ron Burgundy

This is about as good as you'd expect, which is to say, not very. I mean, if you read a transcript of the Anchorman movie you'd be like, Ehhhhhh. It's the delivery that really makes it. So you have to be Will Ferrelling hard inside your head the whole time, and even then, it's basically an extended gag. A 223-page gag. Which, admittedly, I did not finish.

You heard me.

THERE. I'm glad those are off my chest.


Reading Rambo said...


Also -- ALSO...all I see in that science pictures are phallic symbols. I am so sorry.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I actually had my hands on the Allie book in Target, but talked myself out of it because I am on a three month dare to read my own shit. But I know I must have it eventually. And I have the Pollan book on my iPod! I have to be in the right mood, and actually I am dieting so maybe I don't want to drive myself mad?