Thursday, September 20, 2007

Reading week

I love book lists. I make them up and I borrow others'.
But this, this trumps them all. It's based on Peter Boxall's 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, which I haven't actually looked at (but now don't need to really). In the site is a download of I an excel file with the whole list (all 1001), and you can tally up the percentage you've read, and the number of books you need to read a year to finish the rest. I've got 15.68% down, or 157 books - how about you?

Since I've got time before I start my new job, I've been doing quite a bit of reading, and adding to my to-read list. But I'm interested in reading more non-fiction. I've got two on the shelf right now, Amy Chua's World on Fire, and Marion Nestle's What to Eat. Both are equally fascinating.

What to Eat is admittedly quite difficult to read - not because it's badly written or the content is heavy. It's just that it makes me question my food choices. It makes me wonder about the food I've just eaten. It makes me ask - is that salmon I bought from Cold Storage safe? After all, fish farms are known to dye their salmon pink (farmed salmon don't eat krill, which is what turns wild salmon pink). It makes me realise that food is about politics - it's about lobbyists and campaigns and PR. It's also about assumptions and misleading research. One day, there's some new research, say, that coffee is good for you. The next day, it's not. It's hard to believe what's what anymore.

On another health related note, the New Yorker has a fascinating article by neurologist Oliver Sacks on Clive Wearing, a musician who was struck by a brain infection in 1985, which left him with a memory span of just seconds.
Desperate to hold on to something, to gain some purchase, Clive started to keep a journal, first on scraps of paper, then in a notebook. But his journal entries consisted, essentially, of the statements “I am awake” or “I am conscious,” entered again and again every few minutes. He would write: “2:10 P.M: This time properly awake. . . . 2:14 P.M: this time finally awake. . . . 2:35 P.M: this time completely awake,” along with negations of these statements: “At 9:40 P.M. I awoke for the first time, despite my previous claims.” This in turn was crossed out, followed by “I was fully conscious at 10:35 P.M., and awake for the first time in many, many weeks.” This in turn was cancelled out by the next entry.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

What a coincidence; I just finished "World on Fire"! Fascinating book.