February 6, 2013


So, I'm still madly in love with my Kindle. I keep it on my nightstand (which is a Thonet-esque bentwood chair, so that's saying a lot, because real estate is at a premium), and love that I can juggle multiple books at a time without the added bulk. And here's what I've recently finished juggling:

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan
I read this in college, actually, but felt like revisiting it as I'm more invested in the business of where my food comes from now. I also like to reread books like this (Eating Animals also comes to mind) once in awhile to see if they'll drastically change my lifestyle. And where Eating Animals packed more of an immediate, guttural response (fiction writers should write more non-fiction!), Omnivore's Dilemma has had a more rational, deep-seated effect on my thoughts and actions.

Many of you have probably read Pollan at some point, and know that he's good at simplifying what has become an increasingly complicated subject, in an engaging, accessible way. I also own (in paperback!) Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, and sometimes it seems so ridiculous that we/I should have to have so many reminders of what is and is not food anymore. But I revisit it from time to time, especially whenever I start hearing too much about the most recent fad diet or trend in food, and it always sets me straight.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways, by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig
So, I totally forgot that Kathleen designed this book. I guess I could've just dug around in the Braid archives and pulled up a PDF instead of buying it... just sayin'!... but of course I didn't, because that would've totally been bad karma. Anyway... I followed Kathleen's Whole30 journeys along with everyone else, fascinated by her willpower, and secretly wondering if I could ever do the same thing. I was still also a bit skeptical of paleo (no legumes or whole grains?!), and just wanted to do my due diligence before I made up my mind about anything.

Like Pollan, Melissa and Dallas do a really great job of breaking down the science behind their approach to food. They very clearly outlined the rigorous criteria that food has to meet to be considered good and healthy. Not only what kind of nutritional profile it has, but how it affects your digestive process, and your hormonal levels. I finished the book believing that they've done their homework, and that their approach is well thought-out and truly honors and nourishes the body on all levels. Talk-points from the book pop into my head pretty regularly when I'm grocery shopping and preparing food. Obviously I'm not on a Whole30 (or even paleo) diet right now – but the information was still, as they promised, life-changing.

The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark, by Sera J. Beak
And now for something completely different! I can't remember where I originally read about this book - some enlightened lady blog, I think. Basically, I wanted to read about alternate spiritualities, but not a heavy, academic, old-white-dude way. And this book was a perfect introduction to that – it was kind of like reading the personal journal/musings of some girl who graduated a few years ahead of you that you always found cool, kooky, and a little intimidating. It was enjoyable and entertaining, yet I learned a lot, and in the end it just gave me permission to continue poking around the celestial realm.


(I just realized that was all non-fiction. The pendulum swings.)

I'm about to start Ten Thousand Saints, The Secret History (which has always come super-highly-recommended), and Chuck Palahniuk's latest, just because I'll always be a fan.

Anything else I need to check out?...