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the most lukewarm book recommendation ever

On Facebook, the thing I hate to love but apparently do love since I'm there several times a day, I listed five books I love for a stupid app. It wasn't "Five Best Books in the World", it was just five books I love. Then the next day I listed five more. Next day, same thing. Now I wake up and think, "Time to name five books!" How many sets of five books can I love? I think I can keep it up until vacation starts, at least.

But this post is about a book I can't list because I didn't even like reading Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save. There is enough material for a long essay, but he has drawn it out into a short book with repetition and white space. He's not a bad writer, but this book is supposed to inform and inspire rather than entertain--he's trying to sound reasoned. And his argument, when he argues, is reductionist in the extreme: your money is best spent helping the poorest of the poor. He touches on but only briefly the fact that the avenues of doing so are not well established, although he does give some interesting examples of research into how people decide to donate when they do. In all, it was annoying but thought-provoking and I haven't gone a day since reading it without recalling parts of it. But I didn't enjoy it! Still, it wouldn't kill you to read it.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 21st, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
Conversely "An Exchange of Hostages" by Susan Matthews is brilliantly written and I regret reading it more than any other book I've ever read. I don't care how good the writing was, the story was brutal and deeply upsetting.

See, there are worse things than mediocre writing!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )



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