When Men Become Gods and Bottomfeeder

Lunchtime reads have been:

51. When Men Become Gods: Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear, and the Women Who Fought Back by Stephen Singular (St. Martin’s, 2008). This came in the store a little bit ago and I intended just to flip through it, because of the whole Yearning for Zion thing being in the news, but I ended up reading the whole thing. This is a great book for secret fans of true crime, because Jeffs is just as crazy as any serial killer. It’s also interesting to see why the FLDS was allowed to get away with their crimes, as well as the small army of people that were needed to start bringing them down. Made me think very seriously about the consequences of freedom of religion, even if the writing was choppy. If someone comes in wanting to know more about the FLDS stuff, this is a great book to hand them.

52. Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe (Bloomsbury, 2008). As a vegetarian who sometimes doesn’t eat fish, I found this book invaluable and fascinating. I personally don’t have a problem with the ethics of eating a fish, but I do find the way many fish are caught to be problematic (most of all because of reports that at the rate humans are consuming fish, they will all be gone by 2048). Grescoe agrees, in many ways, and his book is a trip all over the world, looking at how fish is caught and consumed. Very well-written and engaging, and equally interested in people as fish, because after all, when we stop eating a certain kind of fish, it does have an impact on fishermen. Best of all, there’s a comprehensive section in the back with suggestions from Grescoe about how to consume fish responsibly. Unfortunately, it’s not simple, but if the book drives home one point about ethical fish eating, it’s that there is nothing simple about it. Well, that’s a small lie. The book’s thesis is actually summed up in the title–to eat ethically, we need to eat lower on the food chain. Rather than tuna and shark, eat sardines and clams. It’s just that “eating lower on the food chain” is a shifting thing that is a matter of “depends” and “sometimes.” Anyway, I really enjoyed it, as would anybody who likes Michael Pollan, Animal Vegetable Miracle, etc. I think this book has the potential to become very big, and I hope it does.

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