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Original Essays | August 20, 2014

Julie Schumacher: IMG Dear Professor Fitger



Saint Paul, August 2014 Dear Professor Fitger, I've been asked to say a few words about you for Powells.com. Having dreamed you up with a ball-point... Continue »
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    Dear Committee Members

    Julie Schumacher 9780385538138

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Customer Comments

prentisentina has commented on (4) products.

The Poisonwood Bible (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible (P.S.)

prentisentina, January 1, 2012

With this book I have discovered a remarkable author, Barbara Kingsolver. She shows deep insight into the minds and lives of the women in the story by speaking from within their individual minds, as well as perceptive understanding of what makes an irrationally radical religious man (without speaking from within his mind, the only shortcoming of the writing, from my view), and succinct comments with great psychological, social, environmental, economic, and political truths that make complete sense in the context of the story. By contrasting the lives, viewpoints, and beliefs of both the poor people of Africa and the almost as poor white missionaries who come to "save" them, as well as African vs American life, she gives a consciousness altering experience. For example, the white family comes with seeds to plant, but they won't grow because there are no pollinators (a lesson relevant to the current plight of the bees of the world), and the father/minister's goal is to baptize all of the village people in the river, which is life-threatening because of the alligators (or is it crocodiles?)in it.
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The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America by Philip K Howard
The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America

prentisentina, September 22, 2011

This little book is way more interesting and easier to read than I expected of a nonfiction expose. Philip K. Howard, a lawyer, explains with vivid examples the ways that laws have become oppressive, costly, defeating of their original purposes, and used to give "rights" to small groups while removing them from much larger groups and to slow down and even prevent businesses from functioning, even though the regulations used to persecute these businesses have nothing to do with safety of any kind. There are so many rules within the laws that nobody has the authority to overrule them or take responsibility for completing worthwhile projects, such as housing for the homeless. Safety rules for business are "almost perfect in {their} failure: ... maximized the cost ... while minimizing the benefit to the public."

The United States now has "a legal colossus unprecedented in the history of civilization, with legal dictates numbering in the millions of words and growing larger every day. Our regulatory system has become an instruction manual. It tells us and bureaucrats exactly what to do and how to do it," with no room for intelligent consideration of individual situations and a whole system frozen by inflexible and poorly conceived rules that hinder problem solving of any kind. "Modern law ... has shut out our humanity." Judges are forced to impose Draconian sentences, no matter how minor the offense or how variable the circumstances, with no judgment of their own allowed.

OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, spends billions of dollars a year to harass businesses with absolutely no relationship to health or safety. There are so many meaningless and detailed rules, that "violations" can always be found, and that is what keeps OSHA employees in their jobs.

Our educational system is "obsessed with its potential failures, to the detriment of its potential successes."

The way of our legal system is "to treat every citizen as a crook and impose an elaborate, mind-numbing, and demeaning ritual on every motion."

By pretending that [detailed rule and laws] will get rid of corruption, we have succeeded only in humiliating honest people and provided a cover of darkness and complexity for the bad people... the details will always provide loopholes."

Howard's solutions involve returning to a simpler legal system based on the original Constitution, with its acceptance of human foibles and imperfections, and with its fewer rules, thereby making the completion of major projects, such as economic, social, medical, environmental, and educational ones, possible. Although the book promises that it "points to solutions," that is clearly more easily said than done.
Even Howard, as clearly as he sees the situation, cannot promise that it can be achieved; it would require undoing hundreds of years of development to this point.

Still, it is helpful to understand why we feel so overpowered and frustrated -- we don't need anti-depressants or other legal drugs to help us live with the insanity pushed on us by the law and rule-writers; instead, we need to see clearly what is happening and embrace our own voices and personal power. Howard gives some good examples of how this can be done, and gives us hope.

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The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther
The Saffron Kitchen

prentisentina, September 20, 2011

This is an astonishing little book that takes you into the lives and minds of people who still live in relatively primitive villages in Iran and of a woman who came from Iran to England, married a white man, had a biracial British daughter, and when the daughter is grown, goes back to Iran to visit her home village and reconnect with her roots. It explores the mother's personal history in Iran and that has caused her pain and distance from her husband and daughter in her new life, and the daughter's anguish and resolution in her relationship with her mother; both sides are conveyed convincingly and insight-fully, as are the stories of the other characters. It is an emotional, insightful, compassionate, sad, tragic, happy, and hopeful story with a truly nonjudgmental ending that is either predictable or not, depending on how you read it and how you want it to turn out. There is enough romantic tension to make you want to keep reading and find out; of the two possible endings, either one could have been written successfully, and both would be plausible and possible, and neither would be perfect for everyone affected by it. So it is a story about making choices, as well as about a woman's right and need to live a life full of personal freedom value, respect, and safety. It gripped me right from the first words to the last ... very highly recommended.
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The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates
The Body Ecology Diet

prentisentina, January 29, 2009

I thought the anti-candida "The Body Ecology Diet" was just another vegetarian (for me, that means "inadequate nutrition") book, but one day I looked through it and read that if you are spaced out and disorganized, it can be caused by candida, and I thought, "that's me," so I decided to try it.

I had been eating such small amounts of sugar that I was surprised to find that I actually went through some withdrawals when I got it all out of my house (condiments, honey, snacks, brown and raw sugar, etc.).

And it is not just about removing sugar from your diet, but also wheat (only ancient grains such as quinoa are OK), and eating a variety of low-glycemic vegetables and seaweeds, animal protein (yay!), healthy oils, stevia for sweetening, and probiotics.

I ignore the food combining rules, barely use stevia, and do not eat raw sauerkraut as recommended, and I even occasionally eat some form of fruit or other sugar and bread, but I am still having great and easy results. I never have to go hungry, keep a meal schedule, count calories or carbs, or use any kind of meal substitutes.

The first behavioral difference I noticed after a few weeks was that I was suddenly getting everywhere on time, as though it were the most natural thing in the world and as though I had never been late most of my life. My daughter noticed and commented that it must be the diet.

And my extra weight is melting off effortlessly (I was only about10% overweight, but it had been there most of my life), and that wasn't even a goal. Also, my digestion has improved significantly, and I have automatically reduced the amount of nutritional supplements I take.

I expect to stay on this eating plan for the rest of my life, and I highly recommend this book.
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(4 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)



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