Sunday, June 03, 2007

New Books

1. I've mentioned Robert Epstein's The Case Against Adolescence. I highly recommend this book. It's radical in a way that one rarely sees in mainstream books -- i.e., it questions and critically examines assumptions that 99% of society blindly accepts as fundamental. This is a good thing.

Here is an interview that depicts the book in a nutshell:
Imagine what it would feel like—or think back to what it felt like—when your body and mind are telling you you're an adult while the adults around you keep insisting you're a child. This infantilization makes many young people angry or depressed, with their distress carrying over into their families and contributing to our high divorce rate. It's hard to keep a marriage together when there is constant conflict with teens.

We have completely isolated young people from adults and created a peer culture. We stick them in school and keep them from working in any meaningful way, and if they do something wrong we put them in a pen with other "children." In most nonindustrialized societies, young people are integrated into adult society as soon as they are capable, and there is no sign of teen turmoil. Many cultures do not even have a term for adolescence. But we not only created this stage of life: We declared it inevitable. In 1904, American psychologist G. Stanley Hall said it was programmed by evolution. He was wrong.

* * *

Teens in America are in touch with their peers on average 65 hours a week, compared to about four hours a week in preindustrial cultures. In this country, teens learn virtually everything they know from other teens, who are in turn highly influenced by certain aggressive industries. This makes no sense. Teens should be learning from the people they are about to become. When young people exit the education system and are dumped into the real world, which is not the world of Britney Spears, they have no idea what's going on and have to spend considerable time figuring it out.
2. The Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook, based on the wonderful food blog by the same name. Some excellent French recipes here for a wide variety of foods, along with lots of appetizing photos and charming descriptions of the food. Looks like some delicious recipes. I made the chocolate raspberry cake this weekend -- it's wonderful, more like cheesecake than cake (ingredients are mostly eggs, butter, and dark chocolate).


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