Unsaid by Neil Abramson

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a first time author had a REALLY good concept for a book, but the whole first time author-thing really tripped him up?

This is what happens. 9628203

Unsaid is the story of the late Helena Colden, a veterinarian who just died of breast cancer. It’s told from her perspective, looking down on the animals and people she’s left behind. And the terrible secret she took to her grave.

I honestly thought that we’d be lucky enough to get a version of The Lovely Bones with a pinch of James Herriot and a dash of Jane Goodall.

Nope.

Helena’s husband David spends a good portion of the book fighting for Cindy, a four year old chimp. He’s a lawyer that’s taken this nearly impossible case as a tribute to his dead wife. While I liked watching David heal and come to grips with his loss, the whole courtroom scene was really cheesy. It read like an old Law and Order re-run from the early ninety’s. Yeah.

Plus, the little autistic boy (I forgot his name) had “visions” in the beginning, but that was dropped off after a while and never explained or examined more closely. Also, SPOILER ALERT! When Helena’s dog Skippy dies of his heart condition, didn’t we all expect some sort of spiritual reunion and/or joyously tearful Touched By an Angel scene?? Way to let the ball drop, Mr. Abramson! 

All in all, I think this is definitely one worth skipping.

It’s too bad, because I had high hopes for Unsaid.

2 paw prints of 5

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Super Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner

I read the first Freakonomics two years ago under the duress of a now ex-boyfriend. It was one of the only positive things I got out of that relationship. 

I never thought I’d have an interest in “social economics” until I got my hands on Levitt & Dubner’s brainchild. I mean, with questions like: why do drug dealers still live with their moms? (in the first book) and why are mall santa clauses and prostitutes alike? (in the second)… How could you not fly through the pages? bookpic

While I absolutely LOVED the first book, I felt that the second was a little thin and lackluster in comparison. I liked the more global hypotheses, like how to combat the greenhouse effect and all that jazz, but it wasn’t as dishy as the first. Before it felt almost like a guilty pleasure. Now it’s kind of old hat. 

If you enjoyed the first, however, there’s really no reason not to continue with the next installment. Hopefully next time L&D can devote some brainpower to answering questions like: why do TVs keep getting flatter when we don’t even have a tortilla chip with a guacamole-supporting infrastructure? or why do teenagers put cases on their phones but don’t use condoms??

Alas, the world will never know!

4 Forth of July hookers of 5 


The Sex Life of Food by Bunny Crumpacker

With a name like Bunny Crumpacker… She’s unlikely to disappoint. Especially about two of our favorite subjects: FOOD and SEX. Crumpacker (teehee) details how human desires go hand in hand, with hunger and horniness being the most potent of them all. From Eve and the apple to modern cannibals, I’d say she covers a little bit of everything… 51NFYQQ01GL._SY300_

I found this book INSANELY readable. I mean, really, you had me at sex and food, but still. Her writing style is a rare blend of wit and humor and I wizzed through this book in about a day. Who doesn’t find cannibals interesting?? Could you eat human flesh if you had to do it to survive?

I don’t even like fish!

It’s interesting to note that the two things we crave most in life–the two things that are actual essential to human life–are the two things we feel the most shame about. We want too much, we don’t want enough, we starve, we stuff, we hump, we die.

A perfect bath tub book ❤

5 apple cores of 5


The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel

A long time ago, when I worked at Books a Million, I used to have a bunch of older ladies come in all the time to buy some installment of Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series. They always raved about how good it was and how they absolutely couldn’t wait for the next one.

Sadly, I wasn’t nearly as enthralled. tumblr_m4swhv7jpB1qb75x2o1_500

Set sometime in prehistory, Ayla is a human girl that is found by a group of Neanderthals. To them her blonde hair, blue eyes, and small head are freakishly ugly, but the childless medicine woman takes pity on her and raises her as her own. She grows up alongside the Clan and learns their ways. But no matter how hard Ayla tries, she will never truly be one of them.

Blah blah growing pains blah blah outsider blah.

I felt too outside the story to really care about what happened to Ayla, and the simplistic/childish writing style put me off. I’m kind of a nosy person, so I’m half tempted to read another in the series just to see if I like it better, but eh… We evolved for a reason.

You can skip it.

2 paw prints of 5


The Honey Trail by Grace Pundyk

I happened to pick up Grace Pundyk’s little gem whilst casually strolling through unexplored sections of my local library. She succeeded in taking me on an adventure that many authors can only hope to replicate. And she was lucky enough to experience it firsthand. 9780312629816

I’ve been interested in beekeeping (and honey) for many years, but it was only in the spring of 2011 that I decided to do anything about it. My college offered a non-academic apiary class open to the public. The meetings were only once a month, so how could I say no? There I got to experience beehives and the honey making process up close and personal, even building my own hive and keeping my bees for nearly a year before they succumbed to an invasion of wax moths while I was in England.

Pundyk, like me, took an interest in bees because of their delicious golden upchuck. Honey.

This interest in the product, as well as the industry, led her on what had to be an almost year long around the world adventure. (If only we could all be so lucky to have those traveling funds!) She explored Borneo, England, Australia, New Zealand, China, America, and Russia and how the unique techniques and attitudes of the area influence the local honey–not to mention how the terrible pests and mysterious diseases that now abound are threatening supermarket shelves globally…

I found this book absolutely riveting and my only criticism is that I didn’t have the opportunity to stow away in her luggage!

A new favorite is hatched.

5 worker bees of 5


Hater by David Moody

REMAIN CALM DO NOT PANIC TAKE SHELTER WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL.

Ok, I’m just gonna say it. I HATED Haterhater-david-moody-2006-21412924

Whatever, haters gonna hate!

(Sorry, I had to…)

Danny lives in England and has a job that he can’t stand, a wife who doesn’t appreciate him, and three rambunctious kids that don’t know when to stop. Every day of his life is a plodding misery. Go to work, get yelled at. Come home, get yelled out. There is hardly ever any freedom or joy during his week. (Sounds familiar, right?)

Suddenly, a pandemic strikes! All across the globe “Haters” have cropped up. Seemingly normal people are instantly changed into violent killers, often lashing out at the first person within striking range. (Think zombies, but without the dead grossness and hunger for brains. More like a rage virus, really).

Danny and his family hole up in their small apartment and wait for the government to come to their aid. (Hah.) But while they’re prisoners in their own home, something unexpected happens that tears apart their family forever.

Ok… *sigh* This is where things get tricky. Haters was SOOOOO predictable that I probably could’ve gotten my 14 year old sister to finish the book for Mr. Moody. The first half was really poorly written, and the second half was interesting, but the movement came too late. I’m almost tempted to read the second book just because I am nosey and like to see what happens next. Plus, it could always be better, right?

But alas, I will probably refrain. There are so many good books out there calling my name.

Skip it.

2 stab wounds of 5

 


The Wild Life of Our Bodies by Rob R. Dunn

Book-Review-The-Wild-_Mill

In his astonishingly interesting book, The Wild Life of Our Bodies, Rob R. Dunn takes us on a very intimate journey. From modern day who we are back to prehistoric who we were. He postulates that many of our 21st century afflictions are caused by lack of microbial, bacterial, and parasitic presence in our bodies–that we evolved to function with, not against. 

Many of us now live in “First World” countries and as a result we are exposed to far fewer bacteria than ever before. Everywhere you look there are water filters, hand sanitizers, and antibiotics galore! As a result, things like anxiety, autism, allergies, dementia, etc… are caused by the body attacking itself rather than its normal battle against intestinal parasites. In Third World countries, it is practically unheard of for a child to have autism. In the US, nearly 1 in 7 kids is diagnosed. 

While Dunn is NOT saying we all need to go off and swallow some worm eggs to calm ourselves down and get back in tune with nature–he does raise some interesting points. He also has the most logical explanation of the appendix’s function that I have ever heard.

A new favorite.

5 microorganisms of 5