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Well, I finally finished Oliver Twist. I’m counting it as January reading, though technically I finished the last 10-20 pages today. I liked Oliver Twist, but when I read that Dickens was originally paid by the word, it made a lot of sense. Overall rating? Hmm… I’d say 3.5/5

So, recap of January reading!

Books read: 5
Pages read: 1,759
Nonfiction: 4
Fiction: 1
Male authors: 5
Female authors: 1

(When Elephants Weep had two authors, which is why there’s more authors than books)

Ack, this doesn’t look very balanced to me! Ah, well, this month is to be Lesbian Reading Month, I’ve decided, in honour of Valentine’s Day, so it’ll be mostly fiction by female authors. Well, after I finish the peak oil survival manual book.

I’m falling behind on that New Year’s resolution. Oh well! At least I seem to be getting through a book a week, so that’s good.

I finished Forbidden Fruit by Pearce J.Carefoote, but it was largely uninteresting. I thought it was going to be about more modern day banned books, but it was about books banned centuries ago, which doesn’t interest me nearly as much. 2.5/5

Next up, like I promised, I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which has been on my list for a while. It was fascinating, and although I’m already pretty careful about the food I buy (I’m vegetarian, going vegan in six months), it solidified some things that I’d only half thought about. Especially that organic does not mean sustainable; there is no easy/lazy way to determine the best food choices. 4.5/5

Now I’m picking up Oliver Twist again. Hopefully I’ll actually finish it this time. Next up is a peak oil survival manual. I will be taking extensive notes. Apparentally the CEO of Shell just admitted that peak oil is likely on its way. Scary, scary stuff.

Well, I’m done two books so far this year: When Elephants Weep by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, and The Party’s Over by Richard Heinberg.

When Elephants Weep was good in the way that I agreed with the thesis, it was fairly easy to read, and it had a lot of interesting anecdotes, but there wasn’t a whole lot of concrete facts or quality arguments presented. It was pretty neutral to me. Not enough to change your mind, if you’re dead-set against animals having emotion, but a nice enough read if you already believe it. 3/5

I enjoyed The Party’s Over a lot more. The numerous statistics, graphs, knowledgeable sources cited (like scientists who have spent 50 years working with oil) was enough to make me have little doubt of the coming oil peak, not to mention the news that keeps coming up about crude hitting $100 a barrel and gas prices expected to keep going up. What’s scary is the year that kept coming up: 2010. Yes, there were a lot of predictions, but the vast majority were at or near 2010. That is two years from now! Heinberg also details a terrifying picture of what peak oil could, and most likely will, bring: major wars over dwindling resources, even more catastrophic consequences for the environment when people switch to burning wood and coal for fuel, the failure of oil-based agriculture, etc. Definitely scary stuff, but strongly supported by evidence. I’d recommend this to anyone, whether they’re in doubt or are already preparing for the end of oil. Read this book! 5/5

I’m just finishing Forbidden Fruit, and after that I’ll probably be reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, then I’ll be getting into some fiction.

Right now I’m reading When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and Susan McCarthy, but I’d better finish it soon. Over the break, my English class is supposed to read one of the 50 or so books the teacher and librarian picked out about “big ideas” and do a ten-minute presentation on the book when we get back. I picked out When Elephants Weep and Party’s Over by Richard Heinberg, but I want to actually do my presentation on Party’s Over, which I haven’t even started yet. Ack! I’m also supposed to, for my English class, listen to a 45-minute radio program (CBC Ideas) and take extensive notes, then fill out a sheet, then do an academic response to it. Which I haven’t done. But I think I saw in passing that Alberto Manguel was on the program once, so I’ll try to find that one to do, if I find the time to do my homework at all…

In other book news with me, I’ve joined BookMooch and have sent my first three books. I have also requested a few books, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll be getting them. I’m having fun so far!

Well, I have a simple resolution this year. I resolve to meticulously record every book I read this year and gather some data on it. I want to read more, but I first I have to know how much I read already. So.

1) I have to blog the title of every book I’ve read, noting the author and the month I read it in.
2) I have to record how much fiction I read every month, how much non-fiction, how much poetry, and what, if any, gender of author and genre I am reading more of.
3) Record every book I buy/receive, and how much of my own money I spend in a year on books.
4) Rate each book I read out of five, and do a short best-of list at the end of the year.
5) Gather all this info at the end of the year to figure out what a good goal is for next year.

That’s my resolution for the year! I gave up on those classic doomed New Years resolutions ages ago. Get healthier? Do better in school? Be nicer? Ha! No, thank you. We’ll see how this one goes.