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The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel
Rachel Joyce
Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter
Ellen J. Prager

Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage

Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life Of Garbage - Heather Rogers This book was pretty informative on a topic I didn't know much about.

For me, the beginning few chapters were interesting but not particularly revelatory. However later on in the book--the chapters "Spaceship Earth," "Recycling," and "The Corporatization of Garbage"--were really engrossing for me. I have notes from almost every page. Basically there is a conspiracy (like, these people actually do openly contrive and scheme and lobby and finagle) to generate trash and it's pretty apalling.

Heather Rogers isn't a bad writer--I didn't feel this book was dry or boring by any means--but I did feel it could have been put together more solidly. For example, she uses somewhat sensational language, which I believe is justified, but she doesn't rigorously document the particulars of WHY she uses it, making it seem somewhat alarmist at first. When she does document really awful things--thousands of smog deaths, for example--it seems like they're almost afterthoughts. If it were my book, I would have led with the horrific & well-documented ill-effects of garbage, as a sort of introductory "hey this is why you should care about this issue," rather than just putting them in seemingly at random. Similarly, there was a Karl Marx reference or two that seemed out of place. Unfortunately I don't really know much about Marx(ism), so maybe it really was relevant, but it didn't seem that way to me.

This book covers a lot of ground, but as the author admits, it's about municipal garbage, which in the US accounts for only 1 out of every 70 tons of waste produced, as opposed to industrial waste. So it's really just the tip of the iceberg. I think it's still really important to read it though. She doesn't try to make the reader feel bad about their household trash as you might suspect, either--the whole "the individual is solely responsible for their trash" is exposed as a cunningly crafted campaign carried out by the packaging industry.

Overall a super decent book, I take away one star because it could have been smoother & laid out a better argument in the beginning, and also because I found my attention wandering at times (although I can't really blame the book for that--I've had a lot on my plate lately).