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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

A Brief History of the Smile

A Brief History of the Smile - Angus Trumble If you're on the fence about this one, I'd skip it. Nothing earth-shattering here. For me, there was a little too much emphasis on art history. Art is great and art history is interesting, but I was under the impression I'd be reading a book about the history of the SMILE, not some tunnel-vision description of paintings. This guy is really focused on Western European art, and to a few very specific countries at that. Ancient Greece is cool, but it's not the only place that existed--in fact (and I'm not sure where I got this idea from...) I thought that most people who were alive in 500BC where living somewhere besides Greece. The author also says "people" when he really means MEN or really means WOMEN. Especially when you're talking in a historical context, the distinction matters: strict gender roles and codes defined completely different modes of being and different lives for men & women. It would've been more clear if he had more closely stated the facts of it...

There is some very intriguing information in this book, but I feel like he moves on from it all too quickly. While a couple pages are given to smiling in babies, I think you could make an entire book about the subject. He only barely touches on the surface of the primate origins of smiling, and the relation of smiling to laughing. Likewise, he gives one or two sentences over to the use of the smile in totalitarian propaganda. Um, hello, author, that's very interesting and topical information and I would really like to read more of a critique on that phenomenon. Wasted opportunity...