Kali Lux

Review – The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns

the burn palace

The Burn Palace: A Novel by Stephen Dobyns is an enchanting kind of book, a pick-it-up-at-the-bookstore-because-the-dandelion-yellow-cover-calls-your-name kind of book, a read-the-glowing-blurb-from-Stephen-King-on-the-back-and-you’ve-gotta-get-it-now kind of book, a happy-to-curl-up-with-its-little-towns’-happenings-at-night kind of book, a baby-turns-snake-while-vicious-coyotes-prowl-oh-my! kind of book.

In The Burn Palace, small town life get weird. The quaint community of Brewster begins experiencing bizarre (and possibly supernatural?) occurrences: coyotes turn cruel, and a baby disappears from a bassinet leaving a snake in its place. Characteristics of small town life once considered quaint and sleepy become glaringly inefficient in a crisis, and Dobyns ensures we are privy to each town resident’s struggle to adapt to the odd on-goings and the hysteria surrounding the events.

Dobyns writes in a fantastical tone, boldly dropping into the second point-of-view (that’s right, you heard me) to include the reader as a sort of peeping tom, an unseen witness or incredibly private private investigator, and we are taken flying through the town and into residents’ homes at intimate times, checking out their thoughts as they tuck themselves into beds, asking us to try and put together the puzzle pieces while we also feel the tension bubbling up within the community like a pot ready to overflow.

The one thing (okay, maybe two things) glaringly absent here were a map and a character list. With such a focus on the layout of the town of Brewster, and such a wide array of characters included, I kept flipping back to the beginning of the book seeking an illustrated map of the town that just wasn’t there. Would it have been a bit too cheeky? I think Dobyns already took us there, and it would have felt just right. So many characters were introduced so quickly and briefly, that I had a hard time keeping them straight. I think a map and a list of characters, their relations, and professions at the beginning of the novel would have been a greatly utilized tool to help readers further envision and understand the town we were being invited into.

In many ways, The Burn Palace feels like a light tale when compared with some of the gritty and gruesome mysteries that are popular today. I have a lot of love for darker mysteries, but some can get so graphic that I wonder where authors have left to go. When we’ve all visited our darkest nightmares, where will we go for our thrills? The Burn Palace reminds me that the shock value doesn’t always need to be there for a great mystery. All you need is a great story, one that people would enjoy gathering around a campfire to hear, maybe. One that perhaps starts in a small town, maybe a town named Brewster, on a dark and windy night…

The Burn Palace on Amazon.com/Indiebound.org

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Review – The Salinger Contract by Adam Langer


I was pleasantly surprised with The Salinger Contract.  This is a theme mystery, focusing on literature, and I’m always skeptical of theme mysteries (cat mystery novels, and now yoga mystery novels?  really?).  However, this book worked.  As I love books and I’m interested in writing, I appreciated the look into the life of the less glamorous authors out there.  The lives and livelihoods of average authors are made charming, if bleak, here. The Salinger Contract is a glimpse into the world of the starving artist, with a literary tilt.

The narrator is a one-time author and journalist, Adam Langer (yes, same as the author), who was forced to adapt to the life of a stay-at-home dad after the literary mag he writes for closes down.  The book is broken up into four parts:  1) Upon Signing, 2) Upon Submission, 3) Upon Acceptance, and 4) Upon Publication.  It is a tricky mystery to explain without giving too much away.  Langer seeks out a favorite author from his former life as a literary journalist, and an odd plot unfolds involving rich old men in limousines, secret and unknown classical mystery novels, guns, accents, theft, and sassy YA writers who lack manners but have huge followings.  What more could you ask for?

This is a very unique book – its pacing is uneven by design, as it goes from a very fast-paced recounting of events to a slower-paced status quo.  In many books that use this style of storytelling within a book, it feels like the present is just unnecessary filler taking up time until you get to the important flashbacks which seem to be the true meat of the story.  In The Salinger Contract, when action isn’t being recounted, we are getting to know Adam Langer.  With no opportunity and no glamour in his life, Adam Langer (narrator) comes across as charming rather than pathetic.  He seems to be an everyman just trying to make it through our tough financial times.

The writing here is clear and simple, and this book is a fast, light read – great for anyone who is craving a creative and fun mystery, or anyone who is big into reading and writing.  Although I don’t think I’d classify this as a cozy, it has a cozy feel – not a lot of grit or gore.

My only complaint is that quite a jump is taken at the end that left me raising an eyebrow.  You’ll know it when you get there, and you’ll also be like, “say whaaat?”

From “The Making Of” the novel on OpenRoadMedia.com, Langer explains:  “It came about through wanting to satirize the idea, so often repeated in interviews, that a book can change your life. It’s a cliché and so rarely true and so I wanted to write a book where that idea is literally true—a writer’s life depends on writing this book. I’ve also been fascinated by this idea of literary recluses—of people like B. Traven and J. D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon who disappear and how these stories develop around them. And I wanted to explore some very compelling reasons as to what would explain an author’s disappearance.”

The Salinger Contract on Amazon.com (release date September 17th)

Review – The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, narrated by Ray Porter

The_Silver_Linings_Playbook_Cover  Silver_Linings_Playbook_Poster

“Life is hard, and children have to be told how hard life can be…So they will be sympathetic to others. So they will understand that some people have it harder than they do and that a trip through this world can be a wildly different experience, depending on what chemicals are raging through one’s mind.”   – Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook as a movie was a huge hit.  It was nominated for the top five Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay), and Jennifer Lawrence won the oscar for her performance as Tiffany.  Although I’m not usually a fan of the rom-com genre, I appreciated the movie’s banter and its tender look at the quirks of mental health.  And who could not love that incredible dance at the end?  Epic.  I was pleasantly surprised with the whole thing –  the movie oozed charm.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out on your preferred media subscription program.  (I was going to say check it out on iTunes, and then I added in Netflix, and then I thought about On Demand options and people who prefer to download things or rent them at Redbox, and I realized we’ve seriously expanded since the days of everyone renting a video at Blockbuster.)

After listening to the novel the movie is based on, I understand why other readers at Audible.com sing its praises from the mountaintops.  The story’s protagonist and narrator, Pat, gains a lot of his charm through dry descriptions of his erratic behavior.  The ease with which Pat explains his odd, compulsive actions and his simplistic outlook on life results in a very amusing read.  I am not a laugh out loud person, which makes watching comedies slightly uncomfortable for me, but I did spontaneously laugh out loud a few times while listening to The Silver Linings Playbook.

The novel is Pat’s tale – he stands out from a crowd of slightly flat supporting characters.  In the movie, the character of Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) has been fleshed out and amped up to meet Pat (Bradley Cooper) at his level of charm.  Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany steals the show in the film, and in the book Tiffany doesn’t have a few of her most memorable scenes.

Another standout feature of the book was its portrayal of the joy of rituals surrounding Pat’s beloved football team, the Philadelphia Eagles.  I am not a sports fan and I did just do a quick Google search to confirm that the Eagles are, in fact, a football team;  however, this book made me understand and appreciate the sheer pleasure of rooting for a team with all your closest friends, yelling chants and getting hyped.

Maybe predictable for the Hollywood version of any story, the movie feels a lot lighter than the book.  Extra plot arcs are created to make the movie goer care a bit more.  Although laden with humor, the subject matter here is at its core bleak – mental illness, family dysfunction, loss.  The jokes based on Pat’s narration, clever and fresh at the beginning of the novel, felt stale by its end.

Movies that are better than the book they are based on are rare birds – it takes a vivid, complicated movie to master a novel’s plot.  Like Fight Club before it, I believe The Silver Linings Playbook has pulled off this feat.  The book is charming and witty, but the movie reaches a higher level of creativity.

Matthew Quick has written several books since The Silver Linings Playbook and they all sound worthy of a read.

Matthew Quick’s page

The Silver Linings Playbook on Audible.com

The Silver Linings Playbook movie page

Review – Everything Bad Is Good For You by Steven Johnson


Steven Johnson begins Everything Bad Is Good For You with a claim:  “This book is an old-fashioned work of persuasion that ultimately aims to convince you of one thing:  that popular culture has, on average, grown more complex and intellectually challenging over the past thirty years.”

This is a brave stance to take, as we’ve all been calling television a wasteland for years, shaking our heads at kids who stay glued to a screen playing games and watching shows.  Johnson avoids covering well-trodden ground by refusing to discuss the morality of content.  As he explains, “No one complains about the simplistic, militaristic plot of chess games.”  If you can get past this purposeful exclusion (it seems like a lot of other reviewers can’t), this is a book of simple and brilliant concepts.  Flash bulbs were going off in my head on each page.

A book that covers current culture dates itself quickly – Everything Bad is Good For You was originally published in 2005, and although the games and TV shows cited may not be relevant today (Joe Millionaire?) the ideas presented here seem timeless.  Other media theorists, such as Marshall Macluhan (who Johnson cites), presented concepts 40 years ago which we still refer to today.

Everything Bad Is Good For You is at its best exploring the evolution and cognitive advancement of games, television, and reality television.  Film and the internet are mentioned briefly, almost in passing.  As a reader of The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, Johnson’s stances on the internet made for a great opposing argument.  Johnson does come across as theoretical, and I think this works well as many of his arguments are simple and make sense.

Johnson points out the development of multiple threading in prime time television – television’s increasing use of weaving many complicated threads throughout a show rather than having a single narrative plot.  When he compares Dragnet (from the 1950’s) to the Sopranos (of 2000’s) the difference is striking.  He talks about reality shows as tests of social skill, sort of live action video games.  Drop a group of people in a controlled but unpredictable environment and see how they behave, and observe how they use their emotional intelligence to deal with those around them.  This explains to me the appeal of reality television much more plausibly than other claims out there (we’re all watching to zone out, we’re all watching people be humiliated).  Everything Bad Is Good For You also points out that as a nation our intelligence is rising – would it make sense if our entertainment didn’t advance with us?

I love to think serious thoughts and read big books, but I’m hooked on The Bachelor and Game of Thrones like everyone else.  Arguments which state I’m watching this stuff because it is violent garbage, exploitative and simple-minded, don’t ring true to me.  This book helped me feel a little less guilty about what I’ve always considered my “bad” habit of TV watching.  I also downloaded Lumiosity for my phone, an app that claims to build your brain with simple mental games.  They are fun, and who knows?  Gaming could be good for me.

Everything Bad Is Good For You by Steven Johnson on Amazon.com

Steven Johnson’s website

7 Audioworthy Apocalypses

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin, narrated by Scott Brick


When I speak of The Passage I refer to it as “the epic apocalyptic novel The Passage” each time, as this book’s epicness can not go unmentioned even once in conversation. Scott Brick, the best audiobook narrator known to man, reads this one with the sadness of a dusty old cowboy sitting at a campfire in the middle of the night while vampires are creeping in on all sides around him. Yes, that’s right–The Passage is a vampire book! This doesn’t make it simple, though. It isn’t an action movie disguised in book form, not a vampires-are-sexy sort of book or a teens swooning sort of book. Cronin maps out each gripping and startling detail towards the fall of man and the rise of vampires, and then each step towards survival in the post-vampire world. He builds up such a detailed culture around the historical narrative of the vampire attack, it asks for genealogy and maps and wikis and other such fan-stuff. Cronin’s writing is well paced, informal, authentic, unafraid to take on big ideas and small details. Like the best authors, he describes things in a way that makes them just a bit sharper than real life.  The Passage unabridged has a listening time of almost 37 hours – it is a story that stays with you for a bit.  I recall a friend getting into my car while I was listening to this and being like “OMG is this still that same book?  That book is so long!”  Yes, yes it is.

2. Swan Song by Robert McCammon, narrated by Tom Stechschulte


A book that starts with the line “Once upon a time, we had a love affair with fire,” is clearly a winner worth pursuing. This isn’t for the weak (is any apocalyptic listening?), as McCammon lays down a harsh and brutal future, exploring a loss of humanity among people after nuclear bombs fall and things get rough. Listening to Swan Song is like being dropped into a nightmare, and I mean that in the best way possible. Add to the epicness narrator Tom Stechschulte–he reads this book like he’s really mad about it, and it is the perfect tone to take. The unabridged audio of Swan Song clocks in at almost 35 hours–a true apocalypse takes a while.

3. The Stand by Stephen King, narrated by Grover Gardner


Any apocalypse list is incomplete without The Standoriginally published in 1978, and now a classic of post-apocalyptic fiction. The Stand gained a larger audience with a mini-series in the 90’s, and there have been constant low murmurings of a Stand movie in the works. The unabridged audio was released last year in updated format (previously it was on tape), and the tale is the longest on the list at just under 48 hours listening time. Two days straight!

4. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, narrated by Campbell Scott


A brief tale compared to the previous three audiobooks we’ve covered, Atwood spins a creative and enchanting story here with less of the gore of much apocalyptic fiction but all of the evil. Atwood can write about anything and make it seem wistfully romantic, and this makes Oryx and Crake all the more sinister. At about 10 hours listening time, you can knock this one out in a single night where you stay awake and force yourself to listen, concerned about the growing number of audiobooks in the world and your lack of ability to listen to them all.

5. Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich, narrated by Kirby Heyborne


So far we’ve covered the classics–the biggest vampire epic novel of recent history, a really long and creepy book from the eighties, and The Stand by Stephen King.  Odds Against Tomorrow is the new kid here. Rich has written an apocalypse for today’s thinking man, for Wall Street Bankers, for capitalist America. He’s written this book for everyone who keeps working even after their office fire alarm goes off. This book is funny, weird, and dark. It approaches apocalypse from a totally different angle, and different is good. Odds Against Tomorrow is also a lesser time investment at 10 hours listening time.

6. 14 by Peter Clines, narrated by Ray Porter


Peter Clines is another fairly new author, but he is here to stay.  This man is serious about his end of the world.  This book is what Chris Matthews is constantly calling everyone on The Bachelor/Bachelorette–a “fan favorite.”  I discovered 14 by looking at reviews of another book on Audible.com, and someone had posted “This book is great but if you have to pick one book right now get 14!  Get this one later!” The urgency convinced me. 14 is another creative apocalypse, very outside the box. A sort of steampunk-ish Clue game of our world’s end. Some people may argue that this doesn’t even qualify as apocalyptic fiction and I would say those people may be right, but check it out anyways. One thing I think is really funny, another author gave this book a blurb that says “A riveting apocalyptic mystery in the style of LOST.”  The TV show?  I think this book has more in common with… books. Again, its a shorty – almost 13 hours.

7. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, narrated by Will Patton


That’s right, we’re taking it back. Way back. Alas, Babylon wasn’t the first post-apocalyptic novel (it was originally published in 1959), but it is a quick beautiful read that still has relevance today. Will Patton does a great job narrating, as he sounds smooth like a song, but sad like he knows the bombs have destroyed most of America. Patton clearly knows how to do apocalypse, he was in the movie Armageddon and he currently stars in the alien-apocalypse TV series Falling Skies. He is an expert at experiencing apocalypse. Some novels seem racist, sexist, simple, or just poorly written as time plods on but Alas Babylon maintains its original power.  It is a read-in-highschool novel, as it should be.  For those of us who didn’t get to this one in school, the audiobook clocks in at just over 11 hours.

Review – Virgin Soul: A Novel by Judy Juanita


Call it the sunny side of the Bay, call it the town.  Whatever name you give it, Oakland has the rich and revolutionary history expected from a city bridging to San Francisco and bundled up against Berkeley. Oakland is also uniquely its own city, with its own successes and struggles.

Originally a port city built up with the business of railroads, folks called Oakland the “Detroit of the West” by the 1920’s for its automotive factories and booming economy.  During World War II, Oakland built ships and canned foods, and the exodus of Southern workers to the area created a melting pot of cultures and belief systems.  Post-WWII, Oakland (and the rest of America) witnessed white flight, as wealthier citizens fled further East to the suburbs.  Once a shining star of productivity, post-WWII Oakland began to feel its economy slow and its racial tensions rise.

And this brings us to Virgin Soul, a novel by Judy Juanita based on Juanita’s own experiences growing up in Oakland.  Geniece Hightower, the novel’s star, is a snappy and smart African American woman on the cusp of revolution.  She enrolls at Oakland City College in 1964 and is surrounded by activists and intellectuals.  Geniece soon learns about the black power movement, and her activism eventually leads her to the Black Panther Party.  The novel is broken into four parts:  Freshman, Sophmore, Junior, Senior.  We follow Geniece as she gets an education, but classes are rarely mentioned – confronted with inequality from all sides, meeting men and women both inspirational and heartbreaking, navigating a world not yet equipped to handle an empowered black women – Geniece’s education is of a different sort.

Virgin Soul reads lyrical and very much like poetry – it doesn’t surprise me that Juanita is also a successful poet.  On going to Oakland City College:  “But we called it City, a raggedy, in-the-flatlands, couldn’t-pass-the-earthquake-code, stimulating, politically popping repository of blacks who couldn’t get to college any other way, whites who had flunked out of University of California, and anybody else shrewd enough to go free for two years and transfer to Berkeley, prereqs zapped (3).”  Juanita creates a perfect voice for her protagonist, a balance of the questions running through Geniece’s mind, funky lingo of sixties, and moments of brilliant clarity.

I imagine Juanita has captured the tone of the time perfectly – I wasn’t there, but she was, and she’s built a magical, mad world around Oakland’s past.

Virgin Soul: A Novel by Judy Juanita at Barnes & Noble.com

Judy Juanita’s web page

Review – The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)


I previously wrote about The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Matthew Effect, in the aftermath of the big reveal of J.K. Rowling as the true author and Robert Galbraith as her pseudonym.

I’ve been putting off a full review of The Cuckoo’s Calling because I think it is so hard for me to separate the actual book from the hype surrounding J.K. Rowling.  In a way this shows how relative everything is – how much an opinion of a book can be influenced by factors other than the actual text of the book itself.  Books just can’t be read in a vacuum, so life goes on.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is like this:  Idolized celeb-model falls out apartment window, police deem this a suicide.  Down-on-his-luck, ex-military, prosthetic legged PI Cormoran Strike and his eager, recently acquired temp worker Robin are approached by the model’s family to investigate the death.

The concepts here are current – J.K. Rowling has crafted a plot which is culturally relevant and very now .  The focus on our obsession with celebrity culture and the paparazzi reminded me of Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.

Rowling is clearly a wonderful writer, and there are scenes throughout the book illustrating this.  In one scene Rowling describes Strike’s experience amid the paparazzi snapping photos madly as he tries to escort a model out of a club.  The description of the madness of being submerged in this sea of cameras is vivid and almost horrifying, and makes me have a bit of sympathy for celebrities who are constantly caught in flash bulbs.  Rowling also aces internal dialogues, all that talk/fear/story each of us has going on in our head.  PI Cormoran Strike and his temp worker Robin have wonderfully depicted internal debates about their interactions with each other, as so often happens in reality.

That being said, I think the appeal here of both subject matter and characters is strikingly female.  As other reviewers have mentioned, it would have been difficult to believe that this book came from a man, a war veteran, as Robert Galbraith is presented.  Strike’s concerns in life seem written by a woman to me and incongruous with his character – he waits until his temp is gone to use the restroom, is constantly spraying air freshener in his office, is hesitant to speak his mind to Robin or reveal to her that he has only one leg.  Cormoran Strike is not truly a gruff PI, but perhaps what a woman would love a gruff man to be.  Presented with the popular Scandinavian mystery characters of our time, Strike appears rather tame.  Think of Inspector Erlendur of Jar City, who abandoned his wife and children as a young man and only visits his home to fall asleep in a lounge chair;  Lisbeth Salander, a bisexual, unfriendly hacker who tortures for revenger;  Jo Nesbo‘s Harry Hole, who sinks into opium addiction and leaves his job at the police force entirely. Strike’s character works for the tone of the book, and will appeal to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries more in the style of Agatha Christie than the currently popular fare of bleak dysfunction.

The great joy of the true cozy mystery is its simplicity – instead of hackers, serial killers, torture, gore, chase scenes, or other bells and whistles, cozies present a crime, a scene of the crime, a list of suspects.  Rowling has created a baffling mystery out of these simple elements.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith on Amazon.com

Review – Paleofantasy by Marlene Zuk


Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live was an enlightening, if expansive, book for me.  I don’t think I read the subtitle before buying the book on Audible.com, or I may have been a tad bit less surprised by the evolution and anthropology lessons I received.  I expected more of a straightforward discussion of the Paleo-type diet – they say eat these foods, Marlene Zuk says eat these foods.  Diet books often play out this way.  Paleofantasy is so much more than a diet book, however.  It is a series of lessons behind many of the concepts in evolution, with studies cited to explain certain points.

The chapters are:  1) Cavemen in Condos, 2) Are We Stuck?, 3) Crickets, Sparrows, and Darwins — or Evolution before Our Eyes, 4) The Perfect Paleofantasy: Milk, 5) The Perfect Paleofantasy:  Meat, Grains, and Cooking, 6) Exercising the Paleofantasy, 7) Paleofantasy Love, 8) The Paleofantasy Family, 9) Paleofantasy in Sickness and in Health, 10) Are we still Evolving?  A Tale of Genes, Altitude, and Earwax.

Zuk does a great job of staying neutral, addressing the misconceptions and assumptions that many Americans have about our Paleolithic ancestors.  Instead of trying to make a specific case (stop doing this, do it this way instead) she just wants to set the record straight.  She addresses everything from the idea of cavemen needing to spread their seed for the survival of our species, to our paleolithic ancestors’ ability to consume grains and evolution of the digestion of grains, to barefoot running.  Paleofantasy is filled with the usual inconclusive terms of science Americans hate to hear, such as “it is hard to know for sure” and “this is more complicated than it seems”.

As you can imagine, in a book that takes an entire chapter to discuss a human’s ability to digest milk, there is a huge amount of information presented.  I was listening to this on audiobook, and at some points I felt like it was too much to be hearing rather than reading on the page.  I listened to some chapters twice just to absorb their info.  Some Goodreads reviewers mentioned, and I agree, that this is “just the facts” journalism, not dressed up in a more pop non-fiction style like many current non-fiction books that aim to create a more vivid experience.

The only thing that stood out as completely incorrect in Paleofantasy was the source of Zuk’s paleo-fan quotes.  She seemed to repeatedly quote commenters from paleo chat boards or blogs.  This seemed a bit odd to me – it felt like lazy journalism in a book full of studies from researchers at various universities, and felt like picking out the most purposefully uneducated members of a community (let’s be real – message boards aren’t known for the breadth of their knowledge base).  There are a ton of highly educated and respected Paleo people out there, who have published books and speak regularly and would have been much more logical and worthy opponents to address.

Another thing I would have liked to hear more about, and I realize this may have been out of the scope of Zuk’s book, was a theory of what psychological motivation is behind the Paleo movement at this time in our society.  I think Paleo is more a backlash to our current culture than anything else.  People are uncomfortable with processed foods, pervasive and rapidly developing technology, desk jobs, television, media and pressures of a passive consumption culture — all of these modern developments that don’t feel right.  Whether or not it scientifically makes sense, a group of folks out there are yearning to be more like our ancestors (disconnected from elliptical machines, eight hours a day behind a computer screen, the pervasiveness of the internet, processed food).  I see this yearning coming from a place of unhappiness with the status quo, a feeling that we aren’t going down the right road.  I think Paleo is an odd reaction to the massive level of technoshock we’re all living through.  So many of us struggle to know simply how to eat, so many Americans struggle just to move regularly – there is something appealing about becoming more animalistic, getting in touch with our natural history, and listening to our instincts more.  Returning to nature has its appeal- regardless of current or past evolution.  In a way Zuk’s ability to look beyond her science here might have been interesting, I would have liked to hear her insights.

Zuk also only briefly mentions the Paleo diet’s ability to help people visualize the elimination of processed foods from meals.  Processed foods are often the least nutritious, and choosing to eat what our ancestors ate before the food industry developed easily eliminates an entire range of junk foods (not to mention beverages) from a diet.  Of course there are other ways to do this, such as just realizing processed foods are unhealthy and avoiding them (I think Michael Pollan suggests not to eat anything your great-grandma wouldn’t recognize as food), but I think people like to have a bit more of a story than that around their diets.

This book affirmed my faith in the advice Michael Pollan:  “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.  Pollan often talks about how little we truly know about the food we eat and what happens to it inside our bodies, he talks about how limited the science of nutrition and digestion is today.  Paleofantasy illustrates we don’t know much, and we have a long way to go before finding the “best” way to eat, move our bodies, and be with each other.

Paleofantasy by Marlene Zuk at Audible.com