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Vacation Reading

December 29, 2008

Big surprise – I headed to the public library today and picked up more books, mostly nonfiction. A couple of notes:

Stagestruck: Theater, AIDS, and the Marketing of Gay America, by Sarah Schulman (1998)
I’ve already finished this one. I read Schulman’s “People in Trouble” about a decade ago, and was interested in the author’s explanation of the similarities between her work and major characteristics of “Rent” – which Schulman details in the first section. The remaining sections of the book address the way AIDS and homosexuality have been framed by the powers that be, the targeting of gays and lesbians as consumers, and the challenges of being a lesbian playwright. It’s not the most coherent work ever, but it’s an interesting read, especially if you haven’t heard the “Rent” story already.

Food, Sex, and Salmonella: Why Our Food is Making Us Sick, by David Waltner-Toews (2008)
I grabbed this in my library during my browsing expedition, and really wanted to be interested, as I usually like infection/disease pieces. I’m not sure, though, that I can finish a book that states on its first page (in the preface to the 2nd edition): “Easy food, like easy sex, leads us down a path to waste and destruction of ourselves and the planet we live on.” Really. I mean, I get what the author is *trying* to say, that we need to think about food and food policy and our approach to the microbial world. However, sweeping statements about “easy sex” leading us “down a path to…destruction” – it makes me think the author is a wee bit intellectually lazy, and probably didn’t have a good editor keeping the facts and premises in check, either. You can’t just drop that on page one as part of your overreaching and ultimately unnecessary food=sex narrative and expect me to take you seriously. Hmph.

-I read a bit more of this book last night, and the author’s weird perspectives, the sex/food constructions, and the language continues to get in the way of it being a really well-done book. Interesting, but improvable.

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