Soap Is Political by Ruth Goring (book review)

Soap Is Political

Soap Is Political by Ruth Goring

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In “Soap is Political,” Ruth Goring lead me to the beautiful scarred heart of Columbia with grace and compassion. I stopped often to savor the linguistic gems she left along the trail, but I also felt compelled to keep moving along, like walking to the center of a contemplative labyrinth and back.

Many of the poems include dates below their titles. The book is organized not chronologically, but with emotional continuity. I felt I was in good hands, that I would be shown things only when I was prepared to see them.

I don’t want to tell you too much, but some of my favorites were “Flood,” “Arithmetic,” and the title poem, “Soap is Political.” “Incursion” brought tears to my eyes.

This is one of those books I will keep on my shelf to read again and again.

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (review!)

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Spoiler Alert: I don’t reveal plot points in this review, but I might blow some thematic discoveries you might like to make on your own. I will say that it satisfied everything I want in a novel…Good story, thought provoking, a vivid sense of its time…I could go on and on. You may want to read it beforey full review and then tell me if you agree or not!

Oh, how I love this book. Anthony Doerr spins an intricate, gripping story while inviting us to meditate on the nature of time and chance vs. destiny.

I adore a book that asks me to think big thoughts. It made me reflect on my own experience, the vast number of turns and choices I made–some consciously, some not—in order to meet the man I married, to live where I do, work at my job.Tracing it backward, it tends to feel like an impossible sequence of coincidences, or like fate.

Having just finished the book, I’m also pondering the many mysteries we live with. The things we can never know about the lives of even those with whom we are intimate.

Some of my smart, well-read friends love this, and others it didn’t grab. Just another example of the puzzle of literature.
I was so moved by the end, I teared up.

I want to read it for the first time all over again.

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Book Review (3) The End of Overeating : Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David A. Kessler

Although it does offer some ideas toward the end about how to cope with the culture of food over-stimulation in the States, this is not a diet book. It’s an exploration of the fast-food and processed food industries.

By including his experiences with food and with the interviews he conducted during his research, Kessler makes what could be pretty dry material come alive.

And he does offer strategies for dealing with the onslaught of what he terms hyper-palatable foods and the industries that have grown up to promote them.

The most valuable thing I learned is that while I am responsible for my actions, the enemy is the processed food industry, not some part of me that is naturally weak. We’re being bombarded with images and messages daily and the goal is to get off the grid and eat whole foods. I knew that on some level before, but not with such compelling evidence.

Olive Kitterige – Sunday 8/2/2009

Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories by Elizabeth Strout

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What an amazing book. It’s a novel composed of linked short stories. I do like non-traditional structure.

The eponymous protagonist is not a very sympathetic character, which made it hard for me to stick with sometimes. But every time I tried to skip ahead, something would catch my eye and I’d be drawn back to pick up where I left off.

It was well worth it. I actually cried at the end. It’s been a long time since a book made me do that.

Maybe it’s because we all have our Olive Kitteridge days. Or at least, I do.

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