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Book 63 Completed

October 18, 2010

It’s really hard to concentrate on writing a review right now because I’m currently in a text-message battle of wills with Matt. He had Pizza Schmizza for dinner — and all night I haven’t been able to get the taste of a delicious slice of cheese pizza out of my head. Of course, he totally rubs in how amazing his own pizza slice was…but yet is too busy and too tired to pick me up some on his way home. I don’t really want to play the pregnancy card, but seeing as how I’m getting all emotional over a potentially pizza-less evening, I’m thinking it a perfectly acceptable card to play. Whatever, I’m rational enough to see how crying over this is seriously ridiculous. I’m also entitled to a few episodes of craziness, since based on anecdotal evidence and Hollywood movies, I’m a really low-key pregnant lady. Matt will attest to this — as a matter of fact, he might say that I’m less crazy.

What this really comes down to is that I feel like I should be rewarded with pizza. I mean…I spent all day at a reading conference AND I turned around from that, picked up Elliott, and went to the gym. Then I went grocery shopping where I purchased spinach, cream of wheat, and organic yogurt. So many good decisions today — and if Matt had just never told me that he had dinner at Pizza Schmizza to begin with, then we would not have this problem. But it’s soooo good. It’s just really good pizza.

(PS. Before I go further into this unnecessary introduction into Simon Winchester’s Krakatoa — I should say that even if Matt fails on the pizza end tonight. And it’s looking like it’s heading in that direction — I’m losing the battle of the Schmizza — he did pick-up the entire house. And that included washing out a pot in our sink of leftover taco soup that had grown fuzzy. I would be an awful wife if I left him suffer in the court of public opinion for not giving into a pregnant woman’s cravings, but did not add that if it came down to pizza vs. mold…I’d choose the mold every time.)

So, Krakatoa!

I really recommend this book — if you can get past roughly 50 pages of a truly boring introduction to such a fascinating story. He just kinda goes into it from a linear perspective; he starts with the history of the island, etc. But he actually starts with twenty pages on plants and plant-life. Later when he talks about life coming back to that area of the world, then it makes sense, but it wasn’t a very engaging beginning.

Then it picks up and by the time the actual volcano happens, the story is quite engrossing. I loved all the primary-source data. Plus, there were a lot of cool facts about scientists at the time and the whole science of plate tectonics that I found interesting. But I’m a science girl…I love stuff like that. (All of the maps about active volcanos and areas that are in danger zones for severe earthquakes made me even more paranoid about that giant earthquake they keep promising us here in the Pacific NW. Scary stuff!)

Winchester also delves into the political ramifications of the devastation. By that time, I was getting anxious to finish, but that didn’t make his points or research any less impressive. Overall, I think this is a good read — from what I remember, better than The Professor and the Madman. There were still some moderate pacing issues, but the bulk of the book is about the eruption and it’s hard to screw that up — it’s a riveting account on its own.

What I find truly interesting is that his book was published prior to the 2004 tsunami. So, his data about the 35,000 people killed, while staggering, is slightly diminished when you realize that nearly a quarter of a million people lost their lives in that tsunami. And all the data about tsunamis, the descriptions from the survivors, the way the water functions — it matches what many of us saw in videos of that 2004 tsunami. So, that omission is glaring — but you can’t really help it if a natural disaster occurs less than a year after you publish your book.

Okay, that’s all. Matt came home early so I could go get the pizza myself. I’m counting that as a win.

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