Sunday, May 28, 2017

BOOKS: Leftover Nonfiction

I am trying to review all the nonfiction books I read this year. Let's file these under - Not all Nonfiction Books Will Be My Favourite Reads

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe - Thomas Cahill, 246 pages

I read the introduction which told how, because it was isolated, books survived in Ireland that were destroyed in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire in the early centuries AD and then spread Christianity during the Dark Ages. That's the main point and after reading the rest of the book, I don't know a whole lot more than that. There's a nice background on Saint Patrick and I have increased my still slight knowledge of the Dark Ages.

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible - AJ Jacobs (audiobook)

This idea of picking a crazy idea and then writing a book seems to have reached its nadir here. It started with a secular, not very religious guy wondering what to teach his son about religion, and then he decides to live the Bible, Old Testament, for a year. There is some humour and you can tell he is writing this to be a book. I guess I see a difference between doing something, and then writing about it after, versus deciding to write a book about something and then chronicling it as you go. There is a level of artificiality to this, like a reality show that follows famous people on their very contrived adventures. 

A lot of the tasks seem to be doing them just to do them, or finding loopholes to do a different version of things. However, he treats the people he talks to with respect, and his effort at prayer and meditation were getting somewhere. His wife was a saint throughout this. A saint.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: Young Readers Edition - Michael Pollen (audiobook)

I previously listened to Pollen's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto and only found it okay. This was the last of last summer's YA Sync I listened to and it was very similar to In Defense of Food. Pollen makes good points, and he doesn't say anything is good or bad, just presents the different facts.  It really is a dilemma! There is a level of judgement though and I find myself arguing what ever point he is making as I listen. 

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old With Autism  - Naoki  Higashido, 176 pages

I feel bad not liking this book because it is written by a thirteen year old with autism, sharing his experiences and reasons why he does the things he does. It is written as a somewhat guide to dealing with kids with autism with Naoki wrting questions and then answering them based on his experience. I felt there was too much generalizations as I can't imagine that every autistic child is experiencing the world the same way he does. However, I imagine that even seeing his explanation of why things happen they way they do could be insightful.
There were some very beautiful sketches between chapters.