"The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, "O: A Presidential Novel" by Anonymous, "Virtually Yours: the Dangerous Powers of the e-Personality" by Elias Aboujaoude and more good spring reads.
‘The Omnivore's Dilemma’ by Michael Pollan
At one point, "What's for dinner?" was a relatively easy question to answer –– you ate whatever you hunted, gathered or grew. Now, humankind has evolved way beyond that with many choices available. Add to that the worries about our health and the environment, and you've got what Michael Pollan calls “The Omnivore's Dilemma.”
In his new book, Pollan follows the origins of four meals –– one from McDonald's, one made up of ingredients from an organic supermarket, one from foods grown on a small farm in Virginia and one he foraged himself –– for a comprehensive and surprising look at the state of the food we eat.
'House of Sand and Fog' and 'The Garden of Last Days' by Andre Dubus III
After the noted author Andre Dubus left his wife and four children to live a life of poverty in a Massachusetts mill town, his oldest son and namesake chose to deal with the drugs and violence around him by becoming a brawler and a bully. Yet, every Sunday, the Dubus children spent time with their father on the campus of Bradford College in Haverhill, Mass., where he taught, and where they definitely didn't fit in with the students around them.
The lost connection with his dad and the angry violence that had characterized the younger Dubus' adolescence have since found a voice in two superb novels: "House of Sand and Fog" and "The Garden of Last Days," as well as in his riveting memoir, “Townie.’
'O: A Presidential Novel' by Anonymous
Hmm ... let's see: a White House insider who wishes to remain unnamed writes a novel about a president with the initial O and the behind-the-scenes preparation for his 2012 campaign. Joe Klein did a similar thing in 1996 with his novel "Primary Colors," about a president sort-of-like Bill Clinton. This book, by all accounts, is well done and provides a real feel for modern politics –– despite the gimmicky premise.
'The Secret Soldier' by Alex Berenson
In his fifth adventure, now-retired CIA operative John Wells takes a freelance job with the King of Saudi Arabia. The aging King Abdullah fears his ambitious family is plotting to overthrow him as terrorist factions push the populace toward rebellion. He hires Wells to find out who is behind all the turmoil. It turns out, though, that overthrowing Abdullah is just the first step for the terrorists, who will not stop until the whole Middle East is torn apart.
'Virtually Yours: the Dangerous Powers of the e-Personality' by Elias Aboujaoude
The Internet has certainly revolutionized our lives in many ways, and it has also become a way for many to reinvent themselves –– sometimes with shocking results. Psychiatrist Elias Aboujaoude has seen many examples of people whose personalities and moral behavior change drastically when they are online –– frequently not for the better. He reveals his disturbing findings in “Virtually Yours.”
'The Second Son' by Jonathan Rabb
Georgia writer Jonathan Rabb closes his trilogy set in Berlin during the World Wars in “The Second Son.” Now 62, Chief Inspector Nikolai Hoffner has been forced into retirement from the Kriminalpolizei since the discovery that his mother was Jewish. With his wife dead and his older son, Sascha, firmly entrenched with the Nazis, Nikolai centers his attention on his younger boy, Georg, a photographer who is in Spain to cover the People's Olympics. When civil war breaks out in Spain and Georg loses contact with his wife and young children, Nikolai sets out to find him.