So many people had recommended Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser that I bought the audiobook on Audible.com and listened to all 9 hours. I have mixed opinions about it. On the one hand Schlosser does a wonderful job describing the history of the fast food industry with terrific case studies of McDonalds and Carl’s Jr. Visionary entrepreneurs brought America efficiently prepared meals at prices low enough to make the food affordable to all. Schlosser also expertly delves into the the structure and participants of the entire industry, from the meatpackers and potato farmers to the franchisees and corporate marketeers. The research effort that went into this book are well deserving of praise. I was especially bothered to learn about how in-bed fast-food marketers have become with our public schools, with the schools pimping junk food to students in order to raise revenue. It is shameful that we are trading off the health of our children for the tax dollars that should be going into our schools.
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card revolves around a young boy, Ender Wiggin, who is selected to train to become a fleet commander to protect earth from an alien invasion. The training takes place at a distant Battle School in space where the young and brilliant Ender is repeatedly pushed to his limits to mold him into what he is needed to be, to become the next commander and win the war against the invaders.
I’ve read Ender’s Game 5 or 6 times in the last 15 years, and recently listened to the audiobook. I honestly think that Ender’s Game is the best piece of science fiction I have ever read. Card is unusual as a science fiction writer in that he delves deeply into the psychology of his main characters and their complex inter-relationships. Nothing is as black and white as it may seem. There is goodness and honor in Ender’s enemies as well as a willingness to manipulate and kill in Ender. Ender is constantly faced with hard choices upon which his survival and the fate of the planet depend.