Friday, March 19, 2010


By Sam Savage

The design of the book made me pick it up at the library, but also, later, made me think that this book can not be good. It is a book about a rat who voraciously consumes - in both meanings of the word - books. There's an illustration of a very cute rat on the cover, and the side of the book looks like it's chewed up. A bit tacky, he? But don't let it discourage you from reading this heart-warming-yet-realistically-depressing book. It tells the interesting story of a rundown neighborhood in Boston, through the eyes of a rat who lives in the basement of a bookstore in that neighborhood. He is a very special rat - an intellectual, piano player, and a porn-movie watcher. Wonderful. [165 pp.]

[Beautiful illustrations by Fernando Krahn adorn the pages of the book]

Book link

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The World Without US

by Alan Weisman

Oh my goodness, what an interesting book! It made my breakfasts way longer than they should last, it just was so hard to put it down. The author does a great job pulling you in while feeding you a lot of information. Incredible. I learned so much from reading it, I felt like I had something interesting to say on a variety of topics, ranging from ant nest casts to suicides.
It also made me not want to get anything that has plastic or rubber in it, because those things will last forever (or until some microbe would evolve to use it for its energy). But that is simply impossible. We are so reliant on plastics now, there is absolutely no way of being part of civilization and not have contact with it.
I really liked the solution to the problem, and I wish people will start applying it. Basically, only have one kid per woman. In this way, the population will reduce dramatically over the next couple of decades, and with it the pollution and garbage accumulation. Sharks will reign the oceans again, and all will be well.

The Scarlet Letter

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

(Finished reading last weekend)

It's amazing how an author who can write the story so interestingly, is also capable of writing such a boring introduction, which is basically his own life story. Shouldn't that be even more interesting than the fiction? Anyway, I barely made it through the 45 page intro, and couldn't really appreciate everything that was told in it, but I do remember one part that has some connection to the actual story. I later regretted not reading the intro more carefully and intently.
Anyway, as I said, the story itself is readable and interesting, though there are a few points that I find missing, and their absence makes the story less credible.
Mostly, the story fails to tell us what led the heroine to her current situation -- i.e., the bearing of the scarlet letter. How did she get pregnant? I guess one could imagine the guy involved would be some careless, rash, young man who didn't stop to think about the consequences, and poor Hester was so madly in love with him she just couldn't help herself. However, it turns out that, not only is Hester a very considerate, thoughtful, and generous woman, she is also very responsible. And the man [**SPOILER ALERT**] is no other than the most pious, wise, and conscientious person around. So how could it have happened? I have no idea. Just doesn't make sense.