mirivii's reviews
179 reviews

Food Rules, by Michael Pollan

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informative

2.0

Seen some of Michael Pollan videos on youtube and bought this book on a whim as I have been searching for literature related to food and food culture for a long time.

Unfortunately, this left me somewhat disappointed. I could say that in the wrong hands, a lot of the rules enunciated could lead to ED. As and European, and as an Italian specifically, this gave me only a couple of tips that I wasn't aware of.

And maybe it's because I wasn't the right audience for the book. But then again, how would buy such a book about food if not someone that is already leading the life that Micheal Pollan is preaching?

A lot of the rules were redundant and heavily based on a USA diet. Which would have been nice to know beforehand. 

I will be checking out his In Defense of Food, as he cites it to be more scientific-based.
Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

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emotional mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

Bought it ages ago from a little charity shop in Leytonstone and never manage to get around reading it. Also because I had already watched both seasons of the TV show. 

I could not put this book down! It was so easy to read and follow, full of suspense and just a great dynamic flow altogether! Even shed some tears towards the end (for Renata's letter to Ziggy and for the last chapter).
I am always afraid that books don't hold well with such well-written tv shows, but I believe that both this book and its show are so very strong, even in their differences. 

Will definitely keep an eye out for more of Moriarty's work next time I hop into a second-hand bookshop!
Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography, by Roland Barthes

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informative medium-paced

3.0

This was an interesting read. Some paragraphs were better than others, overall felt that the author kept on repurposing the same affirmations in a different order. At times repetitive, but worth going through for the concepts expressed. A lot of quotes from Sartre, and definitely a language that wouldn't fly in today's publishing world. I really loved the cursive font choice of this edition.

Wish I could have read it before writing my thesis on the beautification of violence in modern photojournalism, as it would have given me a lot of ideas. 

Ultimately Photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks. 

But do we 'see' in dreams, or do we 'know'? I dream about her, I do not dream her.

What characterizes the so-called advanced societies is that they today consume images and no longer (...) beliefs; that they are therefore more liberal, less fantastical, but also more "false" - something we translate, in ordinary consciousness, by the avowal of an impression of nauseated boredom, as if the universalized image were producing a world that is without difference (...)
The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

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emotional fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.75

Woah!! Ate this book in two days. The writing is spectacular, Angie Thomas really did an amazing job with it! The way this book perfectly balances the tough and the soft. I was grinning one page, and tearing up the next.

Will definitely check out more of Thomas's stuff in the future!
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, by Stephen Hawking

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challenging informative slow-paced

5.0

I bought this book from The Strand in New York for $1 in 2019. It took me up until a couple of weeks ago to find the courage to start reading it. During the summer I got closer to physics thanks to Carlo Rovelli's Seven brief lessons on Physics. So felt that it was about time to finally tackle Hawking.

I loved it. I definitely still don't have enough knowledge to understand everything he talked about in the book. But the things that I could grasp I was absolutely amazed by. Some of the questions that I always had growing up have been solved decades ago. Just like Hawking ways during the final chapter, you must devolve your entire life to physics in order to keep up with it in the modern world.

With reference to chapter 8, The origin and fate of the Universe, I had two thoughts that were not addressed, mainly because they fall within the philosophical end of the spectrum. One is that the idea of life in itself could change, as Hawkings mainly sees humans as the centre of all his hypothetical survival theorems. Therefore that something or someone else could adapt better to the new laws of the universe if this was completely different. 

The other, with reference to the example of the astronaut and energy being always repurposed. If we see life as consciousness and consciousness as matter, as energy is always repurposed would it not be just a pure chance for humans to have consciousness? This matter had to go somewhere, for fortuitous circumstances humans were the species that could hold such matter. Therefore could consciousness be lost and this matter being acquired by another species that could be better adapted to new laws? 
Carne Incognita, by Antonio Scialpi

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dark emotional fast-paced

4.0

Beautiful and dark, just like the author. Snatched the last copy that was on sale on Amazon as the editor was not shipping to the UK.

Myths and rural traditions intertwine themselves in this memoir.  
The Outsider, by Albert Camus

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dark inspiring mysterious reflective tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I really like Camus. This is the second book from him that I have read, the first being The Fall. They are both so compact and yet full of gut-punching feelings. Heard my heart pumping in my throat during the last two chapters of The Outsider. 
 
It flows so fast, the writing is mesmerising. I found myself to be angry at the protagonist for not being able to just lie and save himself from the situation. Which is ultimately what the book is all about: truth. 
 
Thinking about it now, I was also very envious of Meursault and his ability to not prostrate himself in front of what people were expecting of him. Society had rules that he never abides by therefore everything felt odd and annoying to him. The same way Meursault’s personality was odd and annoying to me, the reader, that lives conformed to the society. 
 
This left me very curious about checking out more of Camus’s works and some analysis made about him. 
Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton

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funny lighthearted fast-paced

3.0

This was a really nice and lighthearted book about becoming an adult in London. I felt extremely connected as I have moved to the city when I was only 19 and experienced a lot of what Dolly Alderton went through.

Overall, has some very good funny parts and some you can easily skim past. 
Conversations with Friends, by Sally Rooney

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lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

Incredibly easy to read book. I bought it at Oxfam as I know it’s getting adapted for a tv show.

I previously read Normal People, so I was expecting some self destructive behaviour. What I really liked about this is how real everything is. Pining for someone you had, and you have, fully knowing that it’s not the right thing nor the right person. And yet there is always a cursed force bringing you back on that same destructive path. 

Also I really liked the characters of Bobbi and Frances, they were so young and modern. The conversations that they were having are so normal for people of that age, same as the one they have with their friends group. 

Was endometriosis, for Frances, just an allegory? Having something growing and stepping out of its place. Some sort of pain from the inside out, not only emotional but also physical. I’d like to read more about what people think of this correlation, if it’s even real.

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Lettere dal carcere, by Paolo Spriano, Antonio Gramsci

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reflective medium-paced

3.25

This is the first time that I read Gramsci and decided to go with his letter from prison to know a little bit about his persona. You can't help but be drawn in by his personality and the tenderness that he uses to write to his beloved. A tenderness that sometimes becomes patronising, as he is too well aware of it. As he is aware that prison is not being kind to his soul nor his attitude. 

The first 100 pages and the last 50 were the ones that I found incredibly interesting - the first with all his hopefulness and strength. The last with a bittersweet resignation of what was about to happen. 

I would have like to have had an epilogue to this collection of letters. Explaining what happened in his last days, who told him that the mother died and what happened to his marriage with Giulia.