So, I’ve been doing the lacto-ovo vegetarian thing for one solid month now. The increased fiber in my diet has afforded me ample time to catch up on some reading.
How about some shoddily-written book reviews then?
Ishmael is a weird book. It’s written as a kind of extended Platonic dialog between a man and a gigantic, telepathic gorilla named Ishmael. Ishmael has all sorts of interesting ideas about ecology and the role of agriculture in the Bible and in modern society.
He makes an interesting argument that the story of Cain and Abel is really about the conflict between agriculturalists and nomadic herdsmen in the ancient world.
The gorilla gets a little preachy at times, but it’s an enjoyable book nonetheless.
I give Ishmael 3 Jihadis out of 5
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
I actually started reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma while I was still eating dead animals, and it was the next-to-last straw that pushed me over the edge (Scott’s infamous tirade being the final straw).
The book takes you on a pretty good tour of the modern agricultural-industrial food machine that turns government corn subsidies into animal cruelty and human obesity in as efficient a manner as possible.
It’s a long book, and it gets kind of tedious in the very last chapter. I’d give it 4 Jihadis based on the actual quality of the book, but considering that it catalyzed a pretty serious lifestyle change, I’m inclined to give it the 5th Jihadi anyway.
Buddhism Without Beliefs
This book advocates a version of Buddhism stripped of all supernatural hocus-pocus. No Karma, no Reincarnation. It’s kind of a modern, secular, “95 theses” approach to the Dharma. I’m not a fan of supernatural hocus-pocus generally, and so I’m fully on board with rationalism, wherever it appears.
After it establishing its thesis, though, the book kind of meanders along with goofy meditation exercises and gets kind of boring.
Still, it’s nice to be able to be a Buddhist and a Positivist at the same time, so I give Buddhism Without Beliefs 3 Jihadis out of 5.
For a dissenting view, Dark Zen has an interesting critique.