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review 2015-04-30 18:18
Not a lot of new information, but interesting nonetheless
Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic - John De Graaf,David Wann,Thomas H. Naylor,David Horsey,Vicki Robin

Divided into three sections: Part I: Symptoms, Part II: Causes, and Part III: Treatment, this book tackles the question of whether or not the conspicuous consumption that is an aspect of the American lifestyle has a positive or a negative influence on the various satisfaction/happiness measures experienced by the average person.


Like most of the books in this topic area available for free on scribd, this was published originally in the early 2000's. I'm not sure if there was simply a rash of activity on these topics during that time period, or if the publication of so many books related generally to consumption, waste, and the intersection of pop culture and personal economics was a result of the brewing conditions that led ultimately to the financial crisis of 2008. But in 2000, if my recollection serves me correctly, the economy was booming, the stock market was soaring, and consumer goods were available in a greater quantity and for less money than ever before.



This book contains little that I didn't already know - and to the extent society has changed most of those changes are likely brought on by necessity. The economy is no longer booming, and although consumer goods do remain relatively cheap and available, the average consumer is less able to afford them. It's worth reading, if only to provide the reader with some support for the sense that money does, indeed, not buy happiness. Or at least, owning a lot of stuff does not result in happiness. I think we all know that, intuitively, in any case.

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review 2015-01-09 21:20
Courtesans and Fishcakes - James Davidson
Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens - James Davidson

So this has been on my TBR for an embarrassingly long time. About four years, actually. I was kind of worried it would be rather dull and dry - it being a book about classical Athens - but it was, in fact, quite interesting.


Because, of course, it's not just a book about classical Athens; it's a book about food and drink and sex in classical Athens, a fascinating and slightly alien society obsessed, apparently, with fish. Personally, I find social history a lot more interesting than political history, and, well, any book about food is a winner, really.


Davidson has an engaging prose style, accessible and occasionally delightfully sardonic, as when he takes a number of digs at Foucault's much-vaunted and apparently completely made-up theory of penetration in Athenian society (broadly: you could sleep with whoever you wanted, so long as you weren't the penetrated one). I did find the first half of the book - the detailed, specific bits about who ate what food or drank what drink or slept with whom, and what they paid for it - more interesting than the more politics-focused second half, but that's a personal thing.


I don't read much history, and certainly not much about Ancient Greece, so Courtesans and Fishcakes could conceivably be so much BS. But if it is it's convincing BS.  

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photo 2014-11-03 08:51
Grab your copy and get ready for an angst-filled, emotional, and all-consuming story!!
Oblivion is live!
Grab your copy and get ready for an angst-filled, emotional, and all-consuming story!! 
This is one book you don't want to miss. 


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text 2014-07-07 08:42
[#BookADayUK] Day 7: Chocolatey
Chocolate : the Consuming Passion - Sandra Boynton

Welp, since it's past midnight my time (argh), I'm going to post really early rather than my usual of really late.


I'm bending the prompt again. It's supposed to be "Most chocolatey novel," but my most beloved chocolatey book is Susan Boynton's Chocolate: The Consuming Passion.

And I actually have no idea what type of book it is. Definitely not nonfiction, but not exactly a novel...general fiction, I guess? Picture book? I loved it as a child, but it's just as fun for adults.

My dad used to buy these big containers of Ghirardelli extra-dark chocolate.



When we begged, he would quote from Boynton,

"Chocolate was not meant to be shared."



Just remember:

"A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands."

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-01-05 09:08
Completed January 5, 2014 (first review of the year!)
Tell the Wolves I'm Home: A Novel - Carol Rifka Brunt

REVIEWER NOTE:  this was going to be my very first one-star review, but I just couldn't do it.  I don't regret reading this book.  I don't regret that a friend from a Goodreads book club chose it for me so that it might read it as part of a challenge.  I just wish it had been better developed and more authentic.





Dear Danielle,


By now, you'll have heard from my lawyers, so you know what my plans are.  You're probably feeling confused, perhaps even bewildered.  This must seem to come out of the blue.  But I'm not having a mid-life crisis, Dani.  I'm re-examining my life.  You should give some thought to doing the same.


I told you I was going to a retreat for burned-out professionals.  That wasn't true.  In fact, I'm undergoing some pretty intense therapy at an in-patient centre on the West Coast.  I need to understand why I enabled your destructive behaviour for all these years.  I don't like the person you've become, Dani.  I am especially devastated by the price you've forced others to pay - Finn, Toby, our precious girls.  You've done damage that can never be repaired, and I can't talk to you face-to-face about any of it because your modus operandi is to humiliate anyone who questions your decisions.


i've been a fool - and what's worse, I've been a coward.  For years, I've silently watched our daughters pull away from each other, bit by bit, without saying a word in protest.  I watched you pit them against each other, encouraging divisive competition, comparing them unfavourably, seemingly doing everything in your power to drive a wedge so deep they'd never free themselves.  The fact that they are slowly finding their way back to each other is a testament to their own courage and to the influence of two marvellous men - your brother Finn and his partner Toby.


Did you ever stop to think, Dani?  Two men, dying of a disease they acquired because sadly, theirs is a love that still to this day, dares not speak its name.  They deserved to have time.  Time with each other.  Time with the girls.  Time to say goodbye.  But you selfishly took that from them.  June has come to believe that saving her sister's life was what?  Murder?  Treachery?  Toby was out in those woods that night because of events you set in motion.  Greta was there in a raging thunderstorm because of what you could not face.  Love isn't meant to be locked in a vault, Dani.  It's meant to be shared, openly, freely, honestly.  I pray I haven't learned that lesson too late.  I pray June and Greta can forgive themselves for what amounted to little more than falling into a trap set for them by their own mother.


So, as you know by now, our marriage is over, and I've taken steps to dissolve our professional relationship as well.  I've been the invisible man for so long I barely know my own name anymore.  I've been subject to a code of silence, and the only way to break the code is to uncover the pattern and vow not to repeat it.  This is the first step on a long and winding road.  But I won't walk alone.  My girls will be with me in spirit.  I have much to atone for where they are concerned.


Wake up, Dani.  You thought you lost everything that mattered when Finn left home all those years ago?  You stand to lose much more if you don't try to examine what makes you lash out, what compels this punitive side of your character that threatens to destroy our daughters.  It will destroy you too, Dani.  Perhaps it already has.  You have so much to offer the world.  Go out there and make it happen.  It's your turn now.


With deep regret,






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