Monday, February 15, 2010

Dear Great Book Guru, How did you spend this Valentine weekend and did you get to read anything special? Curious
Dear Curious, What a fun weekend and thanks for asking! The Reres hosted a fabulous dance/cooperative dinner party at their lovely home, and conversation followed as rhythmically as a tango. One of the books everyone there was talking about was SLOW DEATH BY RUBBER DUCK- THE SECRET DANGER OF EVERYDAY THINGS by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie. The premise of this book is that even the sweetest, most innocuous items in our home might pose long term dangers because of chemical contaminants- yes, even the beloved rubber ducky. From mercury in your light bulbs to the plastic in a child's sippy cup, the chemicals in your stain resistant carpet to the toxins in your flat screen TV- all of these are accumulating in our bodies with unknown results. Being naturally phobic about almost everything, I found myself drawn to chapter after chapter with mounting horror. Ultimately, though, the book is hopeful, since it offers simple ways to avoid some of the more egregious dangers. But I cannot recommend this as a good choice for an uplifting winter read. For that I would go with NOTHING BUT YOU, a collection of love stories from THE NEW YORKER edited by Roger Angell. The thirty authors include such notables as John Updike, William Trevor, Alice Adams, and Edna O'Brien; my favorite was "The Man in the Moon" by William Maxwell. Both books are available at the Sea Cliff Library.

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