Hello again, dear readers! I’ve been on a mini-vacation this past weekend, staying with my sister’s in-laws in Atlanta and watching the Atlanta Braves take on the Chicago Cubs. The game itself was a sleepy affair, with little hitting and only two accidental runs in the third and fourth innings. It was a weekend of good company and zero responsibilities, however, and not until the ride home did I retreat into reading.
I knocked off Pandora’s Lunchbox, a bit of food-journalism in the style of Fast Food Nation that documents how pervasively preservatives are used in our food, even food that seems pure and wholesome. I may give it a more detailed review, but it’s not on the level of Schlosser’s aforementioned work or Salt, Sugar, Fat, a somewhat more recent work. If you don’t think much about food, it’s certainly enough to make grocery aisles loom like a carnival of horrors. Fans of Food Inc, Fast Food Nation, and related works will find the ground familiar. Another book I finished before the mini-vacation was Kevin Gutzman’s James Madison and the Making of America, a biography of Madison that focuses on his years as a member of the Constitutional congress and within the Executive branch. Although Madison is known as the father of the Constitution, Gutzman work shows how every clause was the productive of multiplie personalities, all arguing with one another, and that the end result was a product Madison was reluctant to accept responsibility for. Despite his later alignment with the Republicans, Madison began as a nationalist who wanted a stronger central union. It was enjoyable enough, but between lectures and books I overdid revolution and the Constitution.
Since returning from vacation I’ve started John Julius Norwich’s Great Cities in History, which I love. It’s a beautiful book, covered in photos of art and of cityscapes, delivering history from around the world. It’s one of those pieces that people stop and admire if they spot it. Look for it soon. After that, the fun will continue!