lieslindi's review against another edition

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I wanted to like this. I read Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver and Mark Bittman and I am a literal treehugger, so when I saw this at the library I picked it up, expecting their quality of writing, thinking, organization, and insight. In the first chapter (beyond which I did not read), Kostigen leaps about in his narrative more than I do in ordinary, unedited, nonpublished speech.

I expected structure and follow-up to his ideas. I didn't find much of either. I could have overlooked more of his awkward style and technical glitches if his development and structure had made the effort worthwhile. They didn't.

" don't think that their individual efforts can make a difference... But the truth is that every action makes a difference" (15). Then he gives an example: "If we all {adjusted our thermostats}, we'd save...." That is an example of the effect of collective, not personal effort. One must be able to measure the kilowatt hours that individual efforts save, even if the measurement is milliwatt seconds (I'm making that up): give that figure instead.

A "handful of critics ... assert that the realities of global warming have been grossly exaggerated by self-interested, left-leaning pundits and politicians. Let's set the record straight and get this nonsense off the table. The facts are irrefutable" (17). Fine and dandy. But his next paragraph does not give pertinent facts and irrefutable references but explains the difference between weather and climate.

He begins in Jerusalem, looking for a stone to call the geographic center of the three major monotheistic religions (it would connect the Via Dolorosa, the Western Wall, and the Dome of the Rock). By the end of the chapter, he's waxed indiscriminate: this rock, another rock, a metaphorical rock, does it matter? Yes it does, since that rock is the image you found your book on. I lost patience there on page 18 but decided to finish the chapter.

I shouldn't have finished that paragraph. He writes, "{Limestone} is made of carbon, which, other than oxygen, is also the biggest element in the human body" (19). That "also" serves no purpose, but by this point I was trying to see only the ideas and not the grammar. Too bad the idea sounded ridiculous. Biggest, even though other elements in the body, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron, have more protons and electrons in them? He didn't mean the largest element but the one constituting the largest share. I suggest "primary" instead. It's correct, it reads well, and most important, it does not reduce the sentence, and in this reader's case, the book, to sloppy science.

I gave up.

hamamoto's review against another edition

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Interesting and made me think of the consequences that my bad habits have on the environment.