Someone recommended that I read this book about how we make decisions and why snap decisions can be the best. And it’s all very interesting, but the über pop-science style of writing really annoyed me. The book is based on descriptions of case studies, but do I really need to know that the researcher in question was the son of a pediatricion? Or that the general had a twin brother? Details like this form a substantial part of the book, and while I get that this is the ever so popular story-telling, I just want to get on with it! I’d love for an editor to take away 30% of the text, skipping the insignificant background stories and the reminders of what the previous chapters said and instead put in some more about how our unconcious attitudes towards gender and race influence our day-to-day decision making. This is important stuff, and while the book seemed to lead up to this, I found it lacking in the more substantial discussions on race and, especially, gender.
Arkiv for kategorien ‘non-fiction’
What an interesting, pretty book about tattooing in Denmark. I read somewhere that it originally was meant to be a photo book, but when collection material, Jon Nordstrøm came upon so many fantastsic stories about the tattoo mileu in Denmark that it ended up with quite a lot of text in it. That is, a bit of historical background, quite a few repoductions of newspaper articles plus portraits of 13 Danish tattoo artists. The book is an interesting piece of history, not only about tattooing and tattoo art, but about Danish society. All text except for the newspaper articles are in English as well as Danish. Very recommendable.
Det er ikke nogen særlig velbevaret hemmelighed, at jeg er besat af Sebastian, især af hans 70′er-inkarnation. Torben Bille har jeg til gengæld aldrig været særlig vild med. Hans hang til overdrevent overflødige ordspil (see what I did there!) svinger mellem det irriterende og det tåkrummende, synes jeg. Skal man grine eller græde over en sætning som “Enevold havde gjort sig selv og Gladsaxe til et brand. Og Knud var indebrændt.” (s. 234) ? Og hvorfor har en redaktør eller korrekturlæser ikke fået ham til at vælge mellem mens og imedens? (Og hvem har sidst brugt “alt imedens” i ramme alvor?)
Udover at jeg jo er professionel sprognazi, så irriterer det sproglige mig så grænseløst, fordi det her faktisk er en god bog, der slet ikke har brug for finurlig sprogjonglering for at glide ned. Bille falder nemlig ikke, som jeg ellers frygtede, i fan-fælden, og heller ikke i venne-fælden. Han har faktisk skrevet en rigtig interessant bog om Sebastian i en skiftende samtid. (mere…)
Ja. Det her er, som titlen antyder, en antologi om kød. Om kødproduktion, vegetarisme, landbrugets påvirkning af landskabet, sundhed og hvad man ellers kan komme på af aspekter af kød set fra et dansk synspunkt. Som udgangspunkt meget interessant, men også helt utroligt ujævnt. Nogle af indlæggene var tørre og lærebogsagtige, andre essayistiske og diskuterende. Jeg har savnet bøger a la Foers Eating Animals med udgangspunkt i danske forhold, men det var desværre kun enkelte dele af Kød, der var i den stil. Jeg tror, en lidt skarpere redaktion kunne have gavnet bogen.
Meh. I think it was a mistake to read three of Ronson’s books this close together. He’s a great writer and he writes about interesting stuff, but he does it in somewhat the same way. This, even more than the other, seemed to me as a series of essays or articles more than a coherent book. Or maybe he honed his craft and this, the first of the three books, is the weakest? Well, an interesting read, nonetheless.
Immediately after finishing Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, I picked this up. It’s written six years earlier, and it seems Ronson hadn’t completely arrived at his form yet. Or maybe torture in Guantanamo is just a more serious matter than psychopaths (?).
This is of course the book behind the film of the same title, which I haven’t seen. But this is not fiction, but journalism portraying experiments that went on (and are still going on, maybe?) in the US Army, and it’s thoroughly bizar. A very, very interesting book.
I’m an instant fan of Jon Ronson. This book is non-fiction, but it’s journalism more than a cool presentation of facts. The scope of the book is an exploration of madness and the madness industy, that is the diagnosing of psychopats. But really, it’s an exploration of Ronson’s exploration of it. It’s very funny in a deadpan sort of way but it’s also a well-researched, interesting account of how we perceive madness, from within the prison system to among high-ranking CEO’s. Brilliant. I can’t wait to read his other books.
This book by the psychoanalysist Susie Orbach ties nicely in with Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth (I really ought to re-read that), as well as the new, feminist books I’ve read lately (Delusions of Gender, Living Dolls and Female Chauvinist Pigs). It was quite academic and less popularly written than the three mentioned above – and I liked that – about our relationships with our bodies, based on concrete case stories and interesting and intellegently written. It also mentioned the psychoanalyst Donald W. Winnicott, whose name wouldn’t have meant anything to me a few months ago, but he plays quite a part in Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? That’s how the universe sometimes converges.
After I read Female Chauvinist Pigs I went looking for a similar book, but written more recently. This one is, and it’s British, which makes it a lot more resonant to the Danish society than Levy’s description of the USA. Living Dolls was well-written and interesting, but most of the arguments and references I had already come across in Female Chauvinist Pigs and, with regards to the second half of the book, Delusions of Gender.
This book can easily be read as an introduction to feminism today, and I’d recommend it to everyone who’s interested in feminism, gender roles or in raising their children responsibly. No less.
Jeg tror, den her bog har stået på min to-be-read-hylde i 14 år. Nu fandt jeg den endelig frem, og det fortrød jeg ikke. På et par dage strøg jeg igennem bogen, som giver et humoristisk og personligt indblik i Sovjets absurditeter. Og det mest absurde er selvfølgelig, at familien Rachlin aldrig så meget som får at vide, hvorfor de skal deporteres til Sibirien i 16 år. Det her er glimrende mikrohistorie og meget anbefalelsesværdig læsning.
Mikael Parkvall er professor i lingvistik ved Stockholms Universitet, og tilsyneladende lidt af en gnaven, gammel mand. På den lune måde, heldigvis. Her i bogen giver han hals over for myter om (især det svenske) sprog, som han systematisk og let hånligt piller fra hinanden. Myter som at ordet “lagom” kun findes på svensk, at sproget bliver dårligere og dårligere og at tegnsprog ikke er et rigtigt sprog. Han metodiske modargumentation og klip fra dagspressen bliver måske en anelse monoton, men skrivestilen er veloplagt og pointerne gode.
Yet another piece of non-fiction. I’m clearly developing a habit here. This is a lucid book about the curious mix of feminism and sexyness – or the variant which Levy refers to as raunch culture. I’ve always been ambivalent about breast augmentations, thongs for girls and Sex and the City, but have had a hard time pinpointing exactly why. This book doesn’t suffer from that. Read the introduction to this enlightening, clever and (at least to non-Americans) shocking book here.
My copy is from 2006 with a new afterword about the reception of the book. I would love to hear how Levy thinks the phenomenon has developed ever since. Did it have its day and then faded? Has it become even more polarised? Has Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s rise to fame/power had any influence?
Nope, just because it’s told in drawings, it’s not necessarily for children. This is a weighty contribution to the debate about whether prostitution should be decriminalized. Through the account of his own use of prostitutes (or is sex workers a better word?) Brown reflects on the many aspects of paying for sex, including his own and his surroundings’ reactions to it. It is also an interesting argument against what he calls “possessive monogamy”. I’m not sure I agree with all of Browns points, but Paying For It was certainly enlightning and thought-provoking. And this was the first drawn book I’ve read that had 23 appendices – and notes for them.
I came across the title among the nominations for the Danish award Ping-prisen (go and have a look if you want inspiration for cartoons/graphic novels) and picked it up in (sigh!) Barnes & Noble at Union Square, NYC.
I think there’s a tendency in academic writing to equal cryptic with good. Well, this is proof that an insightful, interesting, academic book can be written in a clear, understandable language – and even be entertaining. It covers most aspects of the art and craft of translation, and it is more thorough and well-argued than most books on translation I’ve read.
The “trailer” below conveys only a little bit of the scope of the book, but if you find it interesting, you’ll certainly enjoy the book.
I stumbled on an enthusiastic review of this memoir in … some magazine in New York, maybe Bust or Bitch. And I need to remember to buy books on a whim, because this was such a good, interesting and educational read. Nick Krieger tells about his journey from woman to … transgender, I guess is the term he’d prefer. But really, it’s about a person who pursues happiness, and that’s what makes this memoir both heartwarming and touching. I recommend this book to anyone interested in gender and the boxes we try to fit each other into.
This second volume of autobiography from the hand of Stephen Fry is the complete opposite of Karl Ove Knausgård’s autobiographical novels. It’s at times excruciatingly personal, dealing with Fry’s feelings of inadecuacy, insecurity and ambition as a student and young actor. It is certainly “namedroppy”, as one reviewer called it, and interesting if you’re into British comedy of the 80′es. But it’s also a touching and honest self-portrait, written in that Fryish language that leaves you both happy, sad and a bit wiser.
I came across this book in the notes to Delusions of Gender (and bought it – bad strategy for getting through the unread books lurking on the shelves). I often hear parents describe how their offspring as if by magic are attracted to pink-glittery-princessy things in the case of girls, and blue-mechanical-rough-and-tumble things in the case of boys without them encouraging this in any way. And without any hands-on experience at parenting I find it difficult to argue my both intuitively and rationally based disagreement.
Anyway, An Unconventional Family is the autobiography of Sandra Bem about her hands-on experience with an egalitarian, heterosexual relationship and with gender-blind child rearing. The latter is enforced in a very practical way (among others) by drawing breasts and long hair on the, say, policeman in the childrens’ books, moustache on the milkmaid, and generally refraining from using the gender-specific pronouns (“the little piggy went to get his-or-her dinner”). It may sound comical and definitely radical, but it’s extremely interesting to hear this story in retrospect, especially because the book ends with interviews with the children, now in their early 20′es.
The egalitarian relashionship-aspect is much less exotic, but interesting in another way: Much of what Sandra Bem and her husband did was considered outrageous and provoking in the US in the middle of the 60′es and the 70′es. Things like being (truly) equally responsible for cooking dinner, buying groceries, remembering to buy said groceries, cleaning, raising the children and so on. But to a Scandinavian in this day and age this doesn’t seem exotic at first glance, and I kept having to remind myself how unusual this arrangement was in those days. And second glance, though, feminism in Denmark has suffered a gigantic backlash, and I bet quite few families actually verbalise the need – or wish – for the relationship to be truly egalitarian. But that’s a whole different story. Thought provoking book indeed.
The media these days seem to be full of more or less scientific articles about how very different men and women are, how men just can’t make a proper, healthy dinner, and how to best raise your gentle, sweet daughter and your outgoing, active son taking their so very different, innate abilities into consideration. And they make me flinch, mostly because I know very few people who behave like characters out of a Disneyfied fairytale, and I know how eager children are to adapt to expectations. Apparently, the Australian psychologist and university professor Cordelia Fine is my sister in arms here (and note how I need to state her gender in order to use that idiom, and also to write this sentence. In the languages of this part of the world it’s extremely difficult to avoid mentioning people’s gender.)
I could go on. I won’t. The subtitle of Delusions of Gender is “The real science behind gender differences”, and Cordelia Fine’s mission is to examine the basis of those “neurosexist” books on the market. She does that in a witty-bordering-on-snarky manner and it’s all very interesting and entertaining to read, especially, probably, if you already agree with her underlying sceptic and feminist premisis. The problem is, of course, that when she goes through other researchers’ research and points to errors, irregularities and miscalculations in their work, why should I trust her more than I trust them? When she says that some book I haven’t read uses it’s statistics wrongly, I really haven’t got much evidence to back up where I put my trust – with Cordelia Fine or the people she’s bashing. I tend to trust Fine, but is it only because I agree with her conclusions about gender not being all black and white and innate?
Reading the book definitely made me want to read more on this subject, and especially the third part of it about raising children regenerating the traditional gender roles I found very interesting. Thanks to Anna for recommending this book.
Modersmålselskabets årbog fra 2008 handler om oversættelse, og består af 13 korte tekster af oversættere til – og i et enkelt tilfælde fra – dansk, herunder kloge hoveder som Thomas Harder og Viggo Hjørnager Petersen. Der er også et vittigt og informativt indlæg om undertekstning af min tidligere kollega Kirstine Baloti, men ellers handler teksterne om oversættelse af skønlitteratur. Det skyldes sikkert, at det er den type oversættelse, der fylder mest i folks bevidsthed, men det kan umuligt være den type, der bedrives mest af. Det kunne have været interessant at høre fra oversættere af tekniske, medicinske, juridiske tekster, fra simultantolke og tegnsprogstolke. Men man skal jo også begrænse sig, og inden for begrænsningerne er dette en interessant lille bog.
It seems that I need to read some of Kingsolver’s novels, which I must admit I hadn’t even heard of before someone (thanks, Wanda!) recommended I read this book. Because Kingsolver is an excellent storyteller. This is the unpretentious, un-preaching, real life story about her and her family who for a year only eats food grown locally. That means surviving without pineapples, but also putting up incredible amounts of tomatoes and gorging on all kinds of fresh, fresh vegetables from their own small farm. That part of the book read like porn to a vegetarian like me.
Kingsolver makes an intelligent case for thinking about (or learning) which fruits and vegetables are in season, and then cutting down on those that aren’t, and for eating food locally grown. Her reasons counts the environment, health, taste and the ability to connect with what we eat. However, her definition of locally grown (within a 120 miles / 200 km radius) makes a lot more sense in America than in a small country like Denmark. I think I could do it on an even smaller radius – if I had a farm and was a gardening queen like Kingsolver.