In the midst of all the chaos of the first three months of this year, I have been able to read some really great books!
This book is a must-read. Not because it’s some sort of literary masterpiece but because it’s just a good book with endearing characters. This book provided a very needed respite for me during a difficult week earlier this year. I found a lot of solace in its pages simply because the characters are so endearing and the story so kind. I kept telling Scotty it was “Charming” and I think that pretty much sums it up. It’s one of those books that you don’t want to put down but force yourself to because you don’t want it to end to quickly!
A selection for our book club, I am so happy that Amanda told us about it. I don’t think I would have stumbled upon this little treasure myself. The background for the story is the revolution against the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. It’s a piece of recent history that I really don’t know anything about! Shameful considering the close proximity both in geography and history. These events took place less than a thousand miles from the US and less than 30 years before I was born. The “Butterflies” were three sisters who were active in the underground revolution and were killed by Trujillo’s henchmen and this is their story. Although a fictionalized account of true historical events, it captures the courage, fears, and determination of these women.
When We Were Romans is a different, quirky little book. I quite enjoyed it and found it in a similar line as A Curious Incident of a Dog in the Nightime. Told from the perspective of a 9-year-old boy this book contains the run-on sentences, spelling errors, and random thoughts you would expect from a youthful narrator. The story has a lot of themes: relocation, living with a mentally ill parent, the implicit trust that a child has for a parent, sibling rivalry. And it’s set in Rome – what’s not to like.
I think the Guardian does a good job of describing this one:
“Guardian columnist Dr Ben Goldacre takes us on a hilarious, invigorating and informative journey through the bad science we’re fed by the worst of the hacks and the quacks! When Dr Ben Goldacre saw someone on daytime TV dipping her feet in an ‘Aqua Detox’ footbath, releasing her toxins into the water and turning it brown, he thought he’d try the same at home. ‘Like some kind of Johnny Ball cum Witchfinder General’, using his girlfriend’s Barbie doll, he gently passed an electrical current through the warm salt water. It turned brown. In his words: ‘before my very eyes, the world’s first Detox Barbie was sat, with her feet in a pool of brown sludge, purged of a weekend’s immorality.’ Dr Ben Goldacre is the author of the ‘Bad Science’ column in the Guardian and his book is about all the ‘bad science’ we are constantly bombarded with in the media and in advertising. At a time when science is used to prove everything and nothing, everyone has their own ‘bad science’ moments — from the useless pie-chart on the back of cereal packets to the use of the word ‘visibly’ in cosmetics ads.This book will help people to quantify their instincts — that a lot of the so-called ‘science’ which appears in the media and in advertising is just wrong or misleading. Satirical and amusing — and unafraid to expose the ridiculous — it provides the reader with the facts they need to differentiate the good from the bad. Full of spleen, this is a hilarious, invigorating and informative journey through the world of ‘bad science’.
As an information junkie, I’m finding this book a bit challenging. It’s taken on my love of little “scientific facts” and forced me to place them within a larger context. It’s also fed my rant about the media being a bunch of fear-mongering know-nothings. Harsh, I know but I hate the media’s manipulation of people’s emotions. Anyway, I’m not sure if this is available in the States now but it probably will be soon and I would recommend it.
Finally, here’s a fun movie recommendation.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, this funny, quirky, French film is a great escape. It’s probably going to be showing at little independent theaters near you and I would recommend it. There are two scenes with sexual content, but outside of that it’s just a fun, feel-good film that will keep you laughing. It doesn’t seem like it at the beginning – it seems a bit dark at the start but stick with it and I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy you gave it a chance.