"Stunt" or immersion journalism? Looking for book recommendations - Mothering Forums
Books, Music, and Media > "Stunt" or immersion journalism? Looking for book recommendations
Ragana's Avatar Ragana 12:48 PM 05-16-2012

In recent years, I have started reading more non-fiction, and I like "slice of life" stuff, so I thought I would pick up a few "stunt"/immersion journalism books. This is where someone sets themselves a goal for a certain period (got No Impact Man at the library today) or goes and lives the way someone else does for a period (like Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch). Anyone have recommendations? Green or food-related recommendations particularly welcome!



parsley's Avatar parsley 01:55 PM 05-16-2012

I'd recommend Sudhir Vankatesh's _Gang Leader for a day_.  It's an ethnography/memoir about research he started doing for his dissertation in sociology on a gang in Chicago.  But, it's written in a completely non-academic way.  I've recommended it to friends and family as well as assigned it in classes and everyone always loves it and has lots they want to say after!


Ragana's Avatar Ragana 11:43 AM 05-17-2012

Thanks! I may have heard him interviewed on the local NPR station when he was doing that research. I seem to remember something like that.
 


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 09:27 AM 05-18-2012

Food-related - Julie and Julia by Julie Powell is probably one of the more well-known examples. It was adapted from her blog about cooking all 524 recipes in The Art of Mastering French Cooking in one year. I struggled through it a little, but it was readable. I think the transformation from blog to book wasn't done well. It's one of the rare times that I liked the movie more than the book, but mostly because of the part of the movie that portrayed Julia Child's life. 

 

DH liked The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, about living by the precepts set out in the Bible, but he didn't love it. I've read parts of it, but haven't read it cover-to-cover yet. I'm kind of lukewarm on what I've read too, which is why I haven't read more. 

 

No glowing recommendations, sorry, but I found that they are both interesting from the point of view of observing one person's commitment (obsession) to a project. 


parsley's Avatar parsley 07:13 AM 05-20-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragana View Post

Thanks! I may have heard him interviewed on the local NPR station when he was doing that research. I seem to remember something like that.
 


Yeah.  He got tons of press.  Including several NPR interviews. 

 

Depending on your tolerance for academic language, I can recommend others.


Ragana's Avatar Ragana 06:42 PM 05-21-2012

ollyoxenfree - I also like the Julia Childs parts of the movie! Hadn't read the blog or book when I saw it.

 

parsley - I tolerate academic language OK smile.gif, but since I often have to pick apart complex documents for my job, I like to read good storytelling (with something to learn) in my free time. For example, I have really enjoyed all the Jon Krakauer books I've read.
 


Smokering's Avatar Smokering 07:51 PM 05-28-2012

An old, but fascinating example is John Howard Griffith's "Black Like Me", published in 1961. He was a white Texan who dyed his skin and travelled around passing as a Black man. It's a slightly cringeworthy premise these days, but he had good intentions and he writes very well about the racism he encountered, the brief friendships he formed with Black families, and so on. Very, very interesting stuff.

 

Quote:
DH liked The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, about living by the precepts set out in the Bible, but he didn't love it. I've read parts of it, but haven't read it cover-to-cover yet. I'm kind of lukewarm on what I've read too, which is why I haven't read more.

I saw this at the library and flipped through it, but I really disliked it - probably because I'm a Christian and it was clear the author had no idea about Christianity, and was doing it in a very publicity-stuntish, offending-people-is-good-publicity way. He was either ignorant of, or deliberately ignored for the sake of polemics, the distinction between living (as far as possible, which isn't very far in today's society) like an ancient Hebrew - ie, following the ceremonial and civil laws - and living as, say, a first-century Gentile Christian, to the likes of whom Paul wrote a number of the epistles. So it just came across as a mishmash - taking all the rules he found funniest, most offensive or most interesting to follow, and following them out of context. It was offensive, but not in a thought-provoking philosophical way - just a "Wow, this guy doesn't have Clue 1" way.

 

At least, that's the impression I got, but I didn't peruse the entire thing, so - you know.

 

Anyhoo. I must admit to a fondness for "stunt" journalism myself, like the Little Brown Dress site and No Impact Man. I'll be interested to hear more suggestions! Incidentally, the "Julie" parts of "Julie and Julia" kind of annoyed me, but Meryl Streep more than made up for it. I haven't read the book, but I read a fair chunk of the blog, and she's an OK writer... not amazing enough to make me hunt up the book, though. And didn't she write another book after that about having an affair and leaving her husband? Put me off a bit.


swede's Avatar swede 08:46 PM 05-28-2012

I liked "Enrique's Journey". by Sonia Nazario.

 

from amazon:

 

In this astonishing true story, award-winning journalist Sonia Nazario recounts the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship and peril to reach his mother in the United States.

 

 

This book was amazing.  I will never think about the immigration debate the same way again.
 


A&A's Avatar A&A 11:13 AM 06-03-2012
Oh yeah, you have to read A.J. Jacobs. Read his book Drop Dead Healthy. It deals with food issues and "green" issues. He's laugh-out-loud funny and informative. I've also read his book The Know It All, which is good, too. I haven't read The Year of Living Biblically.
meemee's Avatar meemee 02:59 AM 06-06-2012

food is a v. large subject. is it cooking, growing, slow foods...?

 

when i think of food my 'hero' comes to mind - Michael Pollan (dd and my fav) esp. 'the botany of desire' - both the book and documentary was GREAT. anything by him too is good. enough food for thought i'd say.

 

presently i am reading The guinea pig diaries : my life as an experiment / A.J. Jacobs. a series of essays. light read. i am reading it. its more about his own experience. 

 

i have more but i cant think of any. 

 

Culinary reactions : the everyday chemistry of cooking / Simon Quellen Field. - this also is on my reading list. 


swd12422's Avatar swd12422 01:31 PM 06-14-2012

I'm assuming you've already read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver, but if not, it seems like it would fit the bill...
 


Ragana's Avatar Ragana 05:55 AM 06-15-2012

Thanks for the recommendation of No Impact Man, smokering. I read it, but feel I need to re-read it and think about it some more. Lots of food for thought in there!

 

I actually have not read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but someone mentioned it to me the other day. Going on the list! Drop Dead Healthy sounds good, too.

 

Thanks for all the suggestions!!


nyssaneala's Avatar nyssaneala 06:55 PM 07-14-2012

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a great book!

 

Another one along the same lines and fits the stunt journalism category fairly well is The 100-mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith and J.B.Mackinnon.
 


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