May 13, 2012

The Reading Files - Let's review, shall we?

With plenty of books for review having rolled in lately it was about time I did a little catching up. Quite successfully, as I may add!

Overdressed (Elizabeth Cline)
Source: from NetGalley
Genre: Non Fiction / Economy

Like "The Omnivore's Dilemma" did for food, Overdressed shows us the way back to feeling good about what we wear.
Fast fashion and disposable clothing have become our new norms. We buy ten-dollar shoes from Target that disintegrate within a month and make weekly pilgrimages to Forever 21 and H&M. Elizabeth Cline argues that this rapid cycle of consumption isn't just erasing our sense of style and causing massive harm to the environment and human rights-it's also bad for our souls.
Cline documents her own transformation from fast-fashion addict to conscientious shopper. She takes a long look at her overstuffed closet, resoles her cheap imported boots, travels to the world's only living-wage garment factory, and seeks out cutting-edge local and sustainable fashion, all on her journey to find antidotes to out-of-control shopping.
Cline looks at the impact here and abroad of America's drastic increase in inexpensive clothing imports, visiting cheap-chic factories in Bangladesh and China and exploring the problems caused by all those castoffs we donate to the Salvation Army. She also shows how consumers can vote with their dollars to grow the sustainable clothing industry, reign in the conventional apparel market, and wear their clothes with pride.

Title & Cover: Ha, gotta love that cover!
Story: Cheap fashion is all the rage, yet many aren't aware of the consequences. Today a bargain, tomorrow waste.
Narrative: Conversationally written. Thought-provoking.
Characters: People with their mind set on ... shopping!
Thoughts: I've read many books on the topic, but this one's the first dealing with something many aren't even consciously aware of - that shirt you got on sale for five bucks and which kinda lost its shape after the first wash gets thrown out. What's left is pretty colored polyester garbage.

The Good Daughter (Jasmin Darznik)
Source: from Random House
Genre: Non Fiction / Memoir

Jasmin Darznik came to America from Iran when she was only three years old, and she grew up knowing very little about her family's history. When she was in her early twenties, on a day shortly following her father's death, Jasmin was helping her mother move; a photograph fell from a stack of old letters. The girl pictured was her mother. She was wearing a wedding veil, and at her side stood a man whom Jasmin had never seen before.
At first, Jasmin's mother, Lili, refused to speak about the photograph, and Jasmin returned to her own home frustrated and confused. But a few months later, she received from her mother the first of ten cassette tapes that would bring to light the wrenching hidden story of her family's true origins in Iran: Lili's marriage at thirteen, her troubled history of abuse and neglect, and a daughter she was forced to abandon in order to escape that life. The final tape revealed that Jasmin's sister, Sara - The Good Daughter - was still living in Iran.
In this sweeping, poignant, and beautifully written memoir, Jasmin weaves the stories of three generations of Iranian women into a unique tale of one family's struggle for freedom and understanding. The result is an enchanting and unforgettable story of secrets, betrayal, and the unbreakable mother-daughter bond.

Title & Cover: Sweet!
Story: Only after her father's death Jasmin finds out that she has a sister, the good daughter, back in Iran. Over the course of ten tapes her mother, Lili, tells her whole life story to Jasmin.
Narrative: Beautifully written.
Characters: Three generations of Iranian women.
Thoughts: A story of strength and perseverance. Touching and fascinating. It certainly broadened my understanding of culture in Iran.

Physics Of The Future (Michio Kaku)
Source: from Random House
Genre: Non Fiction / Science / Technology

Welcome to the future, where you'll be able to take an elevator hundreds of miles into space, the internet will be in your contact lens, nanobots will scan your DNA for signs of disease and you'll be able to control computers with your brain - and even rearrange the physical world itself.
It may sound like science fiction but, as physics guru Michio Kaku shows, this is the shape of things to come. Based on interviews with over three hundred of the world's top scientists who are already inventing this future in their labs, Physics of the Future is a time-travelling tour through the revolutionary advances in medicine, computers, quantum physics and space travel that will forever change our way of life - and alter the course of civilization itself.

Title & Cover: Not. Impressed.
Story: Our future - from computers to medicine, from space travel to wealth - presented as reasoned estimates, not wild speculation. All seasoned with excursions into the world of science fiction.
Narrative: Engrossing and very accessibly written.
Characters: Our future selves.
Thoughts: I loved how Kaku doesn't just take a tour through the advances in science, but also dips into science fiction to show were we're coming from and were we're headed. Quite often fiction authors made spot on predictions, other times science overtakes science fiction ideas with ease. And ohhh ... so many Star Trek references, yay!


  1. I'm really interested in Overdressed. At this point I try to only shop at Goodwill and used on ebay. Yesterday I bought a pair of used shoes (in good shape) for 4 dollars. This addiction to new and cheap clothing has got to stop, for the sake of our well-being as well as the planet's.

  2. Overdressed sounds pretty interesting, might be worth reading.

    Happy Reading!