Last updated 13 May, 2007
Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No. Is there a "cancer personality"? Why do people who get ALS seem particularly "nice"? A really interesting exploration of the link between personality/psychology and illness (though a bit alarming, as it seems few of us are free of neuroses enough to stay healthy).
Michael Kassel, America's Favorite Radio Station: WKRP in Cincinnati. A fairly slight book, but nice to revisit this series, which has yet to see the light of day on DVD due to the problems in clearing the rights to all the songs it featured.
Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Weird though this sounds, it's a very interesting book about punctuation. So funny. Though you probably have to be a bit of wordsmith to get it.
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics. Fast but fascinating read on how economic analysis can be applied to hot-button topics such as crime rates, abortion rights, and parenting.
Chris Gudgeon, The Naked Truth: The Untold Story of Sex in Canada. While we like to think we're so much more enlightened about this stuff than the Americans, in fact there is a fair amount of hypocrisy in the Canadian approach to sex. Think: Customs harassing gay bookstores, it being illegal to solicit though not illegal to accept sex for money, and so on.
Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point. Covers some of the same ground as Freakonomics (crime rates), but comes to different conclusions as to causes of sudden, unexpected changes (which he deems "epidemics").
Douglas Coupland, Terry. Mostly photographs, but also some prose about this Canadian icon.
Other non-fiction reviews
Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning by George Monbiot. A book with solutions, not just warnings about problems.
The Best Light Recipe by the editors of Cook's Illustrated. My first cookbook review.
Childfree and Loving It! One of three books I discuss on the page covering books about the choice of whether to have children or not.
Voices from the American left: Reviews of Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the Nation! by Michael Moore, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by Al Franken, and Dude, Where's My Country? by Michael Moore.
Is That It? by Bob Geldof. The autobiography of the rock star turned activist, from his miserable Irish childhood to his journalism career in Canada, rock stardom, and Live Aid.
The Character of Cats by Stephen Budiansky. Yet another book about cats... but one that recognizes that there are already many books about cats, and offers something new and different.
, edited by Roz Kaveney and
by Noam Chomsky. Slender volume consisting of interviews Chomsky held with the foreign media in the days and weeks following the attack on the World Trade Center. A bit of a tough slog to get through not because it's traumatic reading (it isn't); more because of the density of political facts and figures Chomsky can so easily cite.
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser. A scary, but very compelling, examination at the fast food industry. Highly recommended, especially if you do eat fast food or ground beef, because this is a case of what you don't know can hurt you. Or your kids.
How to Be a Canadian (Even if You Already Are One) by Will Ferguson and Ian Ferguson. This book had me giggling compulsively at times, which is exactly what a humour book is supposed to do, after all. It also seemed to strike at certain truths not often expressed, such as the absurdity of Canadian anti-Americanism being based on their ignorance of things Canadian.
Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood by Naomi Wolf. Wolf analyzes the state of pregnancy, birth, and early childhood, based on her own experience (she has two children), that of her friends and interview subjects, and copious research. The result is an indictment of the effect the extreme medicalization of the pregnancy and birth process has had on American women one I suspect isn't too different for Canadian women.
The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'oh of Homer Edited by William Irwin, Mark T. Conard, and Aeon J. Skoble. The essays themselves extend beyond what I would call the purely philosophical to also offer political, feminist, and Marxist analysis. You can get all of that out of a cartoon? Well, yeah, if it's a richly developed cartoon like The Simpsons, you can.
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