Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Good Earth by Pearl Buck

I found this story to be overwhelmingly sad and depressing. That's not to say that it wasn't exquisite to read. I can't wait to read the next two in the trilogy. It did make my heart ache but that's the mark of a great writer. It also made me feel gratitude for what I have in my life and for being born when and where I was. It was intriguing to read about the different culture, so alien, so opposite to what we know in the U.S. today. It also made me want to squeeze my baby again and again, and snack. Aside from the story, the actual prose was beautiful in and of itself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let's Get Lost: Adventures in the great wide open by Craig Nelson

Oh my goodness what a joyride! We went to Egypt, China, Africa, the South Pacific, the Amazon, India and more. I had amazing time seeing all the sites and meeting so many amazing people and learning so much about the world, all without getting out of my chair. I learned history, anthropology, astronomy and more. He made it deliriously fun and funny. I wish he would write more volumes like this one, I'd read them all. Unfortunately it's given me the travel bug pretty bad and there is no hope in my lifetime of ever being able to afford to go anywhere ever again.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Post-Corporate World: Life after capitalism by David C. Korten

Eh, a lot of good points I guess. The book made some pretty big promises by bringing up quantum mechanics. But it never really goes anywhere and the suggestions are old, tired, impractical, unhelpful, and rhetorical. He compares capitalism to a cancer and given the clinical definition it certainly adds up. "The cell begins to seek its own growth without regard to the consequences for the whole, and ultimately destroys the body that feeds it." Sound like anything? Anyway, it should have been a feel good book but I just got angrier and angrier as I read it knowing he was right about how fatal capitalism as we know it is. But people are becoming more and more enslaved to it and giving up all their power. We're beyond grassroots movements and shopping at farmers' markets. Nothing will change until the dollar bottoms out and we're slaves to the Chinese or the poles shift and our infrastructure crumbles to the ground leaving Wal-mart's shelves empty.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Going Broke: Why Americans can't hold on to their money by Stuart Vyse

Mostly statistics and some slightly interesting psychology. Some blaming of advertising and the ease of credit card use and some studies about it. Eh, but totally glosses over the fact that wages have stagnated a the cost of living continues to rise. When your paycheck is two dollars less than your mortgage amount, how are you going to contribute to a 401K?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Utopia by Thomas More

I never thought something so old could be so enjoyable, even funny. I loved his tone of "I'm not SUGGESTING anything, I'm just tellin' ya what I heard." As for the actual description of Utopia, I remember thinking a lot of "hellz yeah, we need that" and "no way, that would suck" and "would never work". Once again I find myself wishing I could figure out the third option. Capitalism obviously doesn't work in its current form (or maybe it does and what is actually not working is what we have which is an oligarchy.) And communism didn't work. Each has their points, but neither one appeals to me in its entirety. There's gotta be something in the middle that would work. Hmmm...Anyway, Utopia did sound pretty sweet but the lack of room for artists and fashion I found disappointing.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save money, breathe easier, and get more mileage ot of life by Chris Balish

Mostly and advertisement for the lifestyle. He had me at "How". The rest is just details and testimonials that anyone could easily figure out for themselves if they'd take the time to think about it. I'm so ready to give up my car, but without the fam on board, no dice =(

The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A practical (and fun) guide to enjoying life more by spending less by Jeff Yeager

This guy has a lot of great ideas if you're not already living on the brink. I'm sure it feels great to save so much money when you're actually making some. But when you have to be this cheap because you don't make much money, scrimping pennies is less satisfying when there's still nothing left over. Living under your means is great advice, but when you are making less than what the government considers poverty, it's just not possible. These tips are not new if you've had to figure it all out from necessity.