Last Books of the Summer

By , August 25, 2013 1:59 pm

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An odd pairing: Sugar Barons: Family, Corruption, Empire and War in the West Indies by Matthew Parker; and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach.

I bought Sugar Barons, Val bought Gulp. I started reading Sugar Barons. I needed to put it down so I picked up Gulp which Val had not yet got to. I continue to alternate between them. When the wars, enslavement and debauchery of the English islands of the Caribbean in the 17th century get me down I turn to the lighthearted, comedic romp through flavour and digestion. Mary Roach is a very funny writer; I hope the people she profiles, often scientists obsessed with their niche fields,  appreciate her sense of humour in describing their interesting pursuits. So far I’ve been entranced by the stories of pet food flavouring (dogs devour anything while cats are picky) and saliva. I could actually hear my stomach churning during that chapter. I’m just now getting into the part about actual digestion, so I may  be reading less often. That means my blood will have to boil as I try to fathom the treatment of Africans by their fellow humans, the British slave owners.

I would love to say that I will finish Sugar Barons during the first few weeks of school. After all, for about the last eight years or so we’ve had YM Reads, 20 minutes of daily reading during the school day. Sadly it is now gone and with it the beautiful silence while my students and I read.

Up next I hope to get back to one of my favourite authors, Michael Pollan. I saw him recently on TVO and decided I’d like to give his Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation a try.  I also caught a few minutes of Steve Paikin’s interview with Michael Moss whose Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us sounded right up my vegan alley.





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