24 December 2011

Post 461: a general update

Two more posts left for the year unless I decide to do a year in review, which I probably won't. Hope everyone is having a happy holiday, whichever holiday that may be. I will be attempting to enjoy it by holing myself up with a book and trying to avoid a mass cleaning of the house, or some other form of familial chaos. Now it's time for books and such.

That's Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion by Rachel Herz.
Finished this one already. Not bad, but a little heavy on the gender studies... which I have trouble accepting as accurate because it's terribly difficult to determine which gender differences are genuine biological or sociological differences. And since we will never be able to ethically raise children in a sociological vacuum it seems we will never have the answer to that question. Still worth reading, but mostly for the first chapter (which primarily talks about cultural foods) and the "harder" scientific information regarding what happens physiologically to our bodies when we are disgusted.

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret by Glynis Ridley.
This was a great book for anyone interested in how historians interpret information and account for any prejudices or ulterior motives in their resources, particularly primary documents. Ridley made this transparent without hindering the narrative of her work in any way. Baret was the first (known) woman (in recorded history) to circumnavigate the globe, particularly in a scientific role. There wasn't quite as much information on Baret's botanical work as I was hoping for, but her biographical details are incredible nonetheless.

The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflection on the Science of Food and Cooking edited by Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik Van der Linden.
I had a chemistry professor who taught a course on cooking as/with chemistry. It was after I was able to take a class with him because I had already chosen my major, but I've always loved the idea. For one thing, teaching chemistry through cooking is likely to make it far more applicable and interesting, and for another... who doesn't like eating? Eating science just makes it 20% cooler.

Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A. S. Byatt.
I am unfamiliar with Byatt's work, so I elected to read it when it showed up on Netgalley. From the description this sounds a bit like Pan's Labyrinth with Norse mythology and Nazis... and as a book instead of a movie. My interest, it is piqued. 

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