Thursday, January 13, 2011

Poplorica by Martin J. Smith and Patrick J. Kiger


I know it looks like I must have developed a life or something over the last few months, because I haven't posted any book reviews here since early November. I assure you this is not the case. I haven't actually finished reading anything recently, but since there's nothing I love more than procrastinating on finishing my grad school applications, I'm here tonight to post about the book I'm currently reading, Poplorica.

I picked up Poplorica for a dollar off a Borders clearance rack years ago. I had completely forgotten about it until I pulled it out of a big box of books I rescued from my old bedroom at my parents' house. I started reading it last week and so far I'm really enjoying it. It's got a great balance of history and humor. It's well-researched without being heavy and boring. I've finished the first four chapters, which were about front lawns, air conditioning, calorie counting, and Alfred Kinsey. The purpose of the book is to look at the small inventions or ideas that lead to bigger movements and are still influencing our society today. Like how a landscape design book from 1870 praising grass lawns lead to nearly every household in America having a lawn, despite the fact that most Americans hate yard work. How Alfred Kinsey's unsuccessful honeymoon lead to his research that helped fuel the sexual revolution. How the invention of air conditioning prompted a population boom in the more conservative Southern states, shifting the votes in the Electoral College for each state and therefor influencing national elections.

It's an interesting book, and the chapters are nice and short (about ten pages each). I'll let y'all know how the rest of the book was when I'm finished. The next chapter is "The Rise of Tacky Chic" and I am pumped. There's nothing I love more than a little tack mixed in with my chic.

1 comment:

Abby-Wan Kenobi said...

You win, I'm a big FAIL. Need to post before I forget what I read about. I'm reading 'Personal History' by Katherine Graham. She was owner of the Washington Post and was in charge during the Watergate years. A seriously powerful woman in her time and obviously a journalist. I've never seen anyone do so much research on her own life. I'm only a few chapters in but I'm enjoying it.