Book Reviews: Pynchon, Whuffies, Fat Food

Yes, we all know how Kindle & Co. are going to steal budgets from paper presses, yet while books are still a common cultural good, I want to recommend three readings which recently filled my days with joy and the priceless gift of offline information. It's not that priceless, though: Amazon quickly has to get rid of tons of books before everyone switches to eInk :mrgreen: As the avid reader might notice, Thomas Pynchon's “Inherent Vice”, Tara Hunt's “The Whuffie Factor” and the infamous picture book “This is why you're fat” do have nothing in common. Just saying.

Thomas Pynchon: Inherent Vice

Thomas Pynchon wrote many great classics. His latest Oeuvre Inherent Vice describes the post-hippie, drug-rich era of the early '70s in California. In between smoking his beloved joints, Larry “Doc” Sportello wades through a mythical surfer-paradise trying to make his living as a private investigator. Pynchon's novel is rich with clich and features almost any stereotype one can imagine about the psychedelic setting. Even though “Inherent Vice” disguises itself as a story of crime, Pynchon takes the reader into a labyrinth of plots and subplots. Pimps, narcs, super-villains and a mythic entity called the “Golden Fang” populate a colorful, yet sometimes frustrating setting. Thomas Pynchon is a genius when it comes to playing with language, yet still his new book contains too much artificial flavors for my personal taste – yet still it's a fascinating joyride through a fascinating era.

Tara Hunt: The Whuffie Factor

I've mentioned The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business by Tara Hunt on Twitter before – it's definitely one of my favorite books on the “economy of attention”. “Whuffies” is the name Tara chose for the “currency of attention” – using examples from Moleskine to Willitblend, Tara outlines the fundamental market change fueled by new media. If you ever wondered what all the buzz about crowdsourcing, trust-agents and word-of-mouth effect really means, this book is for you. Even more so if you are planning to include social media channels in your own marketing strategy: Tara not only offers in-depth theoretical insights, she also shares a handful of practical strategies which might give you the edge over your competitors.

Various Authors (and photographers): This is why you're fat

I admit: this one is not a good read. It's all about the pictures of the grossest, fattest calory-packing fast food you could ever imagine. This Is Why You're Fat: Where Dreams Become Heart Attacks does feature a couple of recipes, but if you're ordering this book, you better hide it from your nutritionists ever-critical eyes. He might not be too fond of “Corn dog pizza” or the infamous “Burrito Cake”. The richly illustrated book also features a couple of recipes, but the truth is: you can also find these pictures online at thisiswhyyourefat.com – but a true fan of megalomania burgers and not-so-mouth-watering food photography will warmly welcome this new guest on the bookshelf titled “weird”. The NYT recommended not reading this during, before or after meals – the faint of heart shouldn't take a look between meals either.

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