E-books/audiobooks review: non-fiction
My Foot is Too Big for the Glass Slipper
by Gabrielle Reece with Karen Karbo
You may not have heard of Gabrielle Reece before. Read this book and you may understand why. Reece, whose memoir deals mostly with her marriage to surfer Laird Hamilton, inhabits that world of the near famous (she has been a model, a professional volleyball player, a sports announcer and in films). That's not to say she shouldn't have written a book about struggling with marriage and making it work. But readers will start to fidget while reading the ins and outs of the pair's relationship for several reasons: despite being celebrities, they're regular people with normal flaws and not-so-unusual feelings. Laird's the moody one and she takes things too personally. Some readers may find interesting her comments on "blended families" (he has a daughter from a previous marriage): they're "an instant grow-up pill for every adult", she writes, acknowledging how situations beyond her control have caused jealous flare-ups. The best thing to say about the book is that it has a catchy title.
The Ethical Butcher
by Berlin Reed
(read by Berlin Reed)
Vegetarians who have returned to a carnivorous diet should find much in common with Berlin Reed, who wears a tattoo on his neck reading "Vegan". Reed started eating meat again after 14 years of eschewing it. Not only that, he became an expert butcher. Reed's book, named after a blog he started in 2009 to share his experience in butchery and working as a community chef, is split into two parts. It is the latter that is more interesting, the first half coming across as preachy. In explaining why he stopped eating meat at 12, he says his reasons were political and "everyone [in the 1990s] who was counterculture was vegetarian". But then he realised not eating meat wasn't making it better for the animals that lived in ghastly conditions. In the second half Reed - who is not a natural narrator - discusses the benefits of buying good meat directly from farmers, and leads readers through basic information about food production that he hopes will allow them to feed themselves in a more informed way. Readers should find Reed's arguments fascinating.