san diego, CA, United States | Member Since 2008
I now know that most of the food I am consuming is not biological,but chemical.In America in particular we are not free to eat what we want.In fact,we are limited to choices that are government regulated and supported only.We are not so free after all.Many of these food jobs we could have in America have been so over regulated that now the food we should be able to get locally probably is grown in a foreign country and shipped via cheap oil.As long as oil is cheap,food will be cheap.The government has kept the prices unusually low,but slowly they are modifying what we eat with chemicals to make the products last longer,and travel over greater distances.I wanted to learn something about nature and instead came away with the disturbed feeling that the food we eat isn't always really food,but some kind of sanitized,and irradiated mess packaged up in brightly colored packages to make us happy.Grow your own vegetables,if you have the space get some chickens and feed them your kitchen wastes.They are just like us and eat a variety of things.They will reward you with eggs 9 months out of the year.
This is a great way to begin to grasp where things in the modern world have come from.Things we take for granted now.Sugar,rubber,silver and tobacco are all talked about extensively.I could begin to see why Europe still has the highest valued money in the world.They stole labor from Africa,and the America's.When things got too messy England cut its losses and simply left America to find its own way.They had brought over many slaves and the slaves and indigenous people outnumbered their overseers.Furthermore,they worked together and found solutions their European oppressors couldn't see due to greedy expansion and competition.My interest is peaked enough that I want to hear the predecessor to this book 1491 in the future.You could also have a look at 1421,which provides a Chinese perspective on history that is very different than what we were fed in school.It postulates that the Chinese may have arrived long before Columbus.Columbus used the maps from the Chinese to discover America.
A group of three short stories in exotic India.The best of which is about a lawyer who doesn't particularly like India on his first visit,but is sucked into the vortex of this maddening place on subsequent visits.He becomes vegetarian and embraces the Indian culture.Meanwhile,his Indian partner becomes successful in America.There is a lot to understanding the grift that Indian people have succumbed to in order to survive.I had a small taste of it in a short visit to Sri Lanka.Everyone has a scam that seems very plausible to our western ears in order to wrest small amounts of cash from even the most wary of travelers.This isn't Theroux's best work,but it is much better than some of the fiction he has put out.
I am only half way through the book,but the first person narrative with an authentic Indian accent seems more truth than fiction.In Asia there are many rural places still where people lead a hand to mouth existence.The star of this book wanted to do everything to help here family.She was duped by her step-father.Something that must happen often in a country like Nepal,but could happen anywhere in developing country.The narrator does a wonderful job of portraying the likely innocence of so many young Asian girls that are dazzled by the city and its fast pace and promise of comfort.You are made to realize that slavery didn't die.It still goes on in many countries and girls are the ones that suffer the worst.I have a better understanding of the so-called modern world and what it has done to exploit those who don't fully grasp the world around them yet.
This is an excellent author ,and prior to this I read the book the Wave, about the ocean and the giant waves that sometimes swell in the murky depths.The ocean is a very powerful and sometimes deadly place.The author has a great style and although she is a great swimmer in her own right,she delivers a fresh perspective from a layman's point of view in both volumes.The thing that impressed me most was that even as much as we have studied many things extensively in this world the ocean and its creatures,the sharks in this case,are still not fully understood.Sharks live a long time and don't suffer from cancer.There isn't much money going into the research of these magnificent lions of the ocean.This particular area off the coast of San Fransisco is chock full of these wonders of nature.The study while on board a small yacht was very austere.The author often had trouble getting her land legs back after being tossed about in the rough seas.The island where the researchers studied the sharks was very remote despite its proximity to civilization.Very few people have been granted the privilege that Susan was granted and she describes the whole experience very clearly for those of us not as lucky as she was.
The story had many lulls and also many exciting parts overall,but seemed a bit disjointed.The Dalai Lama was very young when he was made the leader of Tibet.His inexperience made him an easy target.The place is like no other on this earth and is abundant in sorely needed resources that the Han Chinese could not resist.Many of them are rare and are only found there.The U.S.government helped the Dalai Lama escape to India and he has never been able to return to his homeland.The people suffered a great deal and are really not too much different than the American Indians or the Aborigines must have been.Sweet,simple kind people trying to lead spiritual lives of abandon,but the world in its greed to turn everything into something commercial and corporate took over and changed these peoples lives irrevocably.
The author is a very talented and insightful writer due to his extensive knowledge about a myriad of subjects and his frequent first hand research of ancient cultures,modern man and animals.For fans of environmental protection and preservation of our resources he has a lot to say.There are plenty of people here who don't believe in global warming or man's eventual demise,but I think he has proven how man,despite his talent for language and his ability to stand upright and do amazing things with his hands,is not really that far removed from his ape ancestors.The evolution from ape to man took quite a long time and the resulting characteristics that differentiate man from ape are well substantiated.He also points out how man has many shortcomings compared to his animal counterparts,such as elephants generating up to six sets of teeth in a life time or lizards that can regrow lost tails for instance.Furthermore,man's ability to proliferate and reproduce may not be as good as a rabbits or rats,but we have done so much to out live nearly every other species that we are becoming the planet's number one danger.
The hero ,after a long married life, and a successful business career as a tailor; decides to return to Malawi, where he was once a teacher.He is disappointed in the deterioration of the former promising place.He attempts some renovations in an attempt to help the people.Instead he is tricked by the locals and is basically trapped by them.Their plan is to bleed him of all of his money and self worth..His extensive knowledge of snakes enables him to keep a safe distance from them. Several escape attempts are thwarted and his contact with some unfriendly aide workers makes his situation seem hopeless,since they don't do anything to rescue him from his captors talons.I don''t want to spoil the ending,so I won't reveal any more.As an avid Theroux fan and a fellow teacher abroad I endorse this particular book as one of his better fictional works.I still think his best stuff has been the railway journeys,but this was entertaining and even though it is fiction some of it is of course loosely based on the authors illustrious life as a teacher in Malawi.
The author was just an average guy with a love for animals that moved from Australia to Africa for a backpacking trip and ended up staying for seven years.The stories of his encounters with lions,elephants,leopards,and birds were captivating.He spoke in a very relaxed cadence,which made it easy to follow.The stories about Rolls Royce the funny guide from Botswana,as well as the stories about the drowning and the vehicle breakdown on the way to South Africa were equally fascinating. The story about the lazy worker who discovered a snake that was longer than at first thought was another great story.You could at times feel the author's fear,stupidity and wonder.You could feel his pain,elation and basically take a very educational armchair safari.This has to be one of the best audiobooks I have heard recently.It was entertaining and educational.My only regret was it was too short.
While I was deeply impressed with the pdf files,which were quite difficult to open on my computer.It worked with the Fox it reader.I was disappointed in the audio,which is short and doesn't match the Chinese speakers pronunciation.You would have to scroll through countless new words to keep up with the brief audio sample being provided here.The publisher ought to produce a simple list of the words showing the pin yin,English and Chinese translations with perhaps one of the rich photos they provided in the exhaustive pdf.Instead I am left to wonder if downloading the actual program for purchase would be more useful?Perhaps it has the audio content that goes with this great pdf that is a free download?It all seems well done,but I had difficulty navigating the Innovative Languages website and felt like what they really wanted to do was sign me up for a long term contract.Keep it simple like the Living Language company does and offer me practical,affordable downloads I can follow and get without too much hassle.Make it more user friendly.
This book is the first of two books that follow the fictional life of an America consulate.The character in the story is very conservative and really likes to think things through.He often plays detective in this book as well as in its sequel the London Embassy,which follows the hero's life as he is promoted from his Malaysian post to London,England.Most stories are quite entertaining and don't really demand a lot of time to finish listening to.Living in Asia myself I can relate to the life of an expat and although I like Theroux's works in Non fiction much better.These two books are refreshingly interesting and not too strange.
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