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Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

Have you ever wondered how the hamburger was invented, or what kinds of products go into those mouthwatering chicken nuggets? Chew on This, by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson, is a book describing the start and progression of fast food and major fast food chains, what is in the ingredients of some of our favorite meals, and how fast food has made an impact on our society. It features interviews from consumers, restaurant employees and farmers providing the cattle, chicken, and potatoes. So, if you really want to know everything about fast food you will eat this book up and possibly change your mind about your food choices. * This book is not for the queasy or anyone who is easily grossed out.

 

Reviewed by Haley M ’16

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Why Sax Matters

 

Men are from Mars.  Women are from Venus.  Sounds archaic, right?  As it turns out, this old adage might be something more—SCIENCE!  Family physician and psychologist, Leonard Sax, discusses the “emerging science of sex differences” in his new book Girls on the Edge.  He identifies four main factors—sexual identity, the cyberbubble, obsessions, environmental toxins—that “drive the new crisis for girls.”  In his practice as a family psychologist, Sax noticed that a disproportionate amount of girls identified themselves as what they do, rather than who they are.  In his book, he emphasizes the importance of developing a strong sense of self for girls and young women.  Through a healthy mixture of science, case studies, and anecdotes, Girls on the Edge helps us better understand how to help girls become strong, confident women.  The girls of today—the women of the future—need this information.  Though largely intended for parents and educators, girls themselves would benefit from a better understanding of the inner workings of their complicated minds and bodies.

Reviewed by Ms. Permar

 

*Congratulations to Ms. Permar’s A Period English class, winner of this year’s Bookbloggin’ review contest! Hope you enjoyed your donuts this morning! 🙂 You make my life sweet, Julie Darling makes your life sweet. Thanks for playing girls!!

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Did you know that Coco Channel was a Nazi spy? In this book, the author reveals the truth of Chanel’s long-whispered collaboration with Hitler’s high-ranking officials in occupied Paris from 1940 to 1944. He writes of her decades-long affair with Baron von Dincklage, described in most Chanel biographies as being an innocuous, English-speaking tennis player, playboy, and harmless dupe—a loyal German soldier and diplomat serving his mother country and not a member of the Nazi party. However, in Vaughan’s absorbing, meticulously researched book, Dincklage is revealed to have been a Nazi master spy and German military intelligence agent who ran a spy ring in the Mediterranean and in Paris and reported directly to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, right hand to Hitler. The book pieces together how Coco Chanel became a German intelligence operative, and how, despite the French court’s opening a case concerning her espionage activities during the war, she was able to return to Paris at age seventy and triumphantly resurrect and reinvent herself—and rebuild what has become the iconic House of Chanel.

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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In 2005, the author, Lemmon, went to Afghanistan on assignment for the Financial Times to write about women entrepreneurs. When she met a dressmaker named Kamila Sediqi, Lemmon knew she had her story. It’s an exciting, engrossing one that reads like a novel, complete with moments of tension and triumph, plus well-researched detail on daily life in Kabul under Taliban rule. When that regime descended in 1996, it brought fear, violence, and restrictions: women must stay home, may not work, and must wear the burqa in public. After Sediqi’s parents left the city to avoid being pressed into service (or worse) by the Taliban, it fell to her to support the family. Hers is a fascinating story that touches on family, gender, business, and politics and offers inspiration through the resourceful, determined woman at its heart.

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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Conor Grennan began a round-the-world trip in 2006, starting with volunteering for an orphanage six miles south of Kathmandu. The Little Princes Children’s Home, housed 18 children from the remote province of Humla, rescued from a child trafficker who had bought the children from poor villagers terrified of the Communist rebels conscripting children into their ranks. The parents hoped to keep their children safe, but the children often ended up as slaves or simply abandoned in the city. Grennan was stunned by the trauma endured by these children, whom he grew to love. He vowed not only to locate seven Humla orphans who had vanished from an inhumane foster home, but also to find the parents of the children in the orphanage and reunite them with their families. This required starting a nonprofit organization in America, Next Generation Nepal (NGN), raising funds, buying a house in Kathmandu for his children’s home, and trekking into the Himalaya mountains of Humla to locate the parents. This book is humorous, exciting, and truly inspiring. It answers the question, “What can one person do?”

Reviewed by Mrs. Vaughn

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Funky, unconventional, sharp and warm, full of great stories of true faith and messy lives. Here’s an example that is all that needs to be said:   “It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do. ”

Reviewed by Mrs. Henegar

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If you’ve seen the movie, Julie and Julia, you will love this book!  Written by Julia Child and her nephew, Alex Prud’Homme, My Life in France is the first person account of Julia Child’s experience in France as she developed her love of cooking, particularly French cuisine. This book is more than Julia’s account of her cooking classes.  Her use of French expressions to describe her travels, her new friends, and recipes makes me very jealous of everyone who has some knowledge of French!

Gracieux!  I am calling or texting my son (who had 5 years of French) every other day to explain to me the nuances or humor of the next new French expression I discover as I read.  Besides that, you history buffs out there will be enthralled by the descriptions of life in France after World War II: the politics, the deprivation, the culture!  If you are interested in a career with the Foreign Service office or in international relations this is also the book for you.  Julia’s husband, Paul Child, was stationed in France with the US Information Service, thus, her life there.  He was also a very skilled photographer and artist and many of his photographs enhance the pages of the book.

And, I didn’t even mention Julia’s descriptions of the food!  Mouth watering! The best news is that you will have the most delightful gastronomical experience without a worry about caloric intake.

Cieux!  I’ve read so much about life in France and discovered so many interesting French expressions that I almost feel like I could speak French, if I only knew what I was saying! Tant pis!  Perhaps, one of you Francophiles will read this book and be able to help me enjoy it even more!

Reviewed by Mrs. Milazzo

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