Mini Reviews: Non-fiction

November 28, 2010

Okay, I am so far behind on reviews at this point that I need a clean slate to get back in the game. So that means mini-reviews! I’m going to break it up into two posts: non-fiction and fiction. Hopefully, this way I can get back into the swing of things.

I chose to listen to Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras by Jeff Henderson because I watched–and enjoyed–his show The Chef Jeff Project when it aired on The Food Network.

I really liked this book, and I especially liked that Chef Jeff narrates it himself. It gave the feel of sitting and listening to someone tell anecdotes about his life. It’s clear that Henderson is not an actor–there are sudden shifts in tone that make it obvious the recordings happened on a different day, and there’s no practiced character/voice work. But it doesn’t matter. Chef Jeff is telling the story of his life, and it’s made that much more authentic by him relaying it himself. Hearing his accent or the way he mispronounces certain words really adds to his humanity. It makes it a lot easier to buy that he just thinks of himself as a businessman even as he aids in the destruction of his community.

The book gave me a lot to think about, especially the importance of mentoring and apprenticeship and how there is a desperate need for the latter.

POC Reading Challenge: 21/15

Adult Children of Alcoholics by Janet G. Woititz was recommended by my therapist to help me work through my issues. You know, not to put too fine a point on it or anything. At any rate, the book seeks to help adult children of alcoholics understand that their behaviors have explanations, and most of the explanations are rooted in the way they were raised (i.e., in a home with at least one alcoholic parent). I’ll admit that I went into this book not expecting much because so few of the headings seemed to apply to me (e.g., “ACAs guess at what normal behavior is”). Which is why it’s important to read these types of things all the way through. Because I was reflected in almost every single one of the generalizations/perceptions. So that was interesting.

The introduction to the book and some of the reviews say that the book works for just about every adult child of dysfunction, so if that is something that may apply to your life, I’d encourage you to check it out. I understand myself just a little bit better now.

Women Unbound: 11/8

Life’s Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest by Christina Baldwin was another recommendation from my therapist. Before I even started doing the writing exercises the book had an effect on how I engaged with and observed the world. The books is very interesting, and I like that the writing prompts are not typical. The author invites you to take a look at how you see the world and to dig a little deeper than just surface observations. Prompts like “what is the definition of community?” helped me think about how I really define friendship and what I expect from the people around me. So I think this would make a good gift for someone (including yourself!) who is really considering his or her place in the world.

Women Unbound: 12/8

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