Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Summer Homework Edition

          Hey, it's Carly and Grace, typing to you from under an umbrella by the side of a pool at a house in the Hamptons.  (Not bragging at all!!)  Okay, I'll admit we don't own this house.  We're here because of the charity of a marvelous family friend, Ellen, who rented the house and invited us to stay with her.
          Aside from whacking each other with pool noodles, grilling, and running on the beach, Grace and I have been working on our summer homework, and because of this we've both ended up reading books we might not have otherwise.  So we're going to review The Omnivore's Dilemma and The Secret Life of Pronouns for you!
Me, studiously trying to read, while Grace lies on my back...
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is an interesting dissection of the issues we humans face every time we enter the supermarket. As omnivores we can eat almost anything under the sun (and absolutely everything in the supermarket) it can be very difficult to know what we should be eating. Michael Pollan looks at where exactly all our food comes from - which for the most part turns out to be corn and the whole first third or so of the book is all about how corn is produced and how it has changed through the years - and whether or not we really should be eating it. He uses economical, environmental, and ethical reasoning (which, as a vegetarian, I appreciate). 
     - Grace

So studious
The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker is ... much more interesting than it sounds, I promise!  It's all about how the small words that we use, called function words, say a lot more than we all realize about our character.  For example, a person who uses "we" and "you" a lot and "I" very little is likely to be arrogant, while a person who uses "I" at very high rates may be depressed.  Our pronoun choices also change depending on whether we're speaking to a person of higher or lower status than ourselves.  And if someone is trying to deceive you, they will say "I" less and use simpler and shorter sentences.  Liars may also use more performatives, meaning phrases such as "I promise you that..." or "I'm telling you..." to distance themselves from the actual deceptive statement that they are making.  This book will teach you so much about yourself and the people around you, and all you'll have to do is listen to the little common words we use every day.  
     -Carly
Beachwork...because I'm at the beach, not home

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Thank you for talking to me!! I wish you lots of good books and brownies!