Year 3, Book 81

81. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
I picked up this book because it is the book Loyola’s annual Humanities Symposium is based on this spring. It sounded like something I would be interested in reading, and if I decide to attend any of the events having read the book will be beneficial. I really enjoyed the book, but the title is very apt. Pollan follows three meals from the raw ingredients to the table. First, a fast food meal, which he shows is almost completely made from corn. Second, a meal from grass-fed animals (He also discusses organic food in this section). Finally, he discusses the forest and creates a meal entirely out of things that he has hunted or gathered. Although this is not what Pollan talks about when he refers to the omnivore’s dilemma in the book, after reading this book like after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver I feel slightly guilty about what I eat. I definitely feel compelled to eat more locally grown foods (which I have done much better with this year) and like Kingsolver to only eat meat that is grown in humane ways and not in a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). The dilemma of course is how difficult this would be to do. I already rarely eat meat at home because of Paul being a vegetarian, and it would be almost impossible to eat meat at restaurants if I refused to eat meat from a CAFO. Reading this book again points out to me how messed up our food system is and that it’s definitely not a surprise that American’s are so unhealthy. I did find it interesting that desipte Pollan’s stand against the food industry that he fully admits to still occasionally enjoying a fast food meal. That totally surprised me as I completely expected him to be someone who refuses to eat stuff like that. And thus he too exhibits what I see as the omnivore’s dilemma. It’s just too hard for a person who is not willing to completely revolve their life around the food they eat to eat a meal that is good for them and good for the earth. I give the book an 8 out of 10.

Year 3, Book 80

80. Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem
I did not like this book at all. Usually if I don’t like a book I can say that even though I don’t like it someone who likes X type of book might. I just didn’t get this book at all. I can’t tell you what it’s about because even after reading it I still have no idea. It made absolutely zero sense to me. I could tell from the first page that I wasn’t going to like it because it is somewhat post-apocolyptic, and I never like those kinds of books. However this was even worse than that because nothing was ever explained. It was just a weird mishmash of well weird stuff that didn’t make any sense. There was really no point in reading it because you have no better knowledge of what is going on by the end of the book than you do at the beginning. I never would have finished reading it if it wasn’t for one of my book clubs. So it will be interesting to see what other people thought about it. I am giving this the lowest rating I’ve ever given a book. It gets a 2 out of 10 and that’s purely because it was actually readable.

Year 3, Book 79

79. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
For some reason when I picked up this book I had it in my head that it was a true story. It is not. It’s very loosely based on the events of the siege of Sarajevo in the early nineties. I don’t think the characters are based on anyone though. The story is told from the perspective of three people living through it: a sniper who is hired to protect the cellist from the snipers attacking the city when he comes out to play every day as a memorial to people who were killed in that location, a man who is attempting to get enough water for his family, and a man who is now living alone because he sent his family away. Although it wasn’t a true story and not a whole lot actually happened in the story, I think it gave a good perspective of how ordinary people are affected by living through a war. It’s a quick little read. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 3, Book 78

78. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
The fourth and seemingly final book of the Twilight series. Again I don’t want to give too much away, so I’m not going to say anything about the plot. This book definitely seemed to tie everything up and seemed like the end of the series. Plus it actually ended with the words The End, which I don’t recall any of the other books in the series doing, so I really do think it’s the end. I think it would be a stretch to continue the story from where it ended here, so I hope it is. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 3, Book 77

77. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
The third book in the Twilight series. A new threat causes the vampires and werewolves to band together to protect Bella. Again this book was much more fast paced than the first one and I enjoyed it. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 3, Book 76

76. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
The second book in the Twilight series, this book picks up fairly soon after the end of Twilight. I don’t really want to say what the plot of this book is because it pretty much revolves around something that happens near the beginning of the book that I didn’t see coming, and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. I will say that I liked this book better than the first. As I mentioned in my review of Twilight most of the book seemed to be spent on developing the characters and the vampire mythology. With that out of the way this book hits action pretty quickly and seemed much faster paced to me than the last one. Again I had to remind myself that it was written for a younger audience as at times it does seem to be a bit dumbed down. It kind of makes me want to go back and read some of the Christopher Pike books written for a YA audience that I loved when I was in middle school to see if they seem dumbed down in the writing to me now. At any rate I enjoyed the book enough that I’m anxiously awaiting the third books arrival at the library for me. I give it a 7 out of 10.