I've read two books this month that I feel the need to comment on. The first is THE WORLD WITHOUT US, by Alan Weisman, which is basically about what would happen to the earth if humans were suddenly to just disappear -- whoosh, just gone. But it also goes deep into how the world was before we evolved and how it's changed over time because of us. What has had the most impact on me is the footprint we're leaving that's virtually indelible. The nuclear waste that's stored away for now will remain a danger for millions of years, with no guarantee that the storage containment facilities will protect future generations, or the mind-boggling amount of plastics we use and dispose of constantly that just does not ever biodegrade.
After reading this book I can see that our world and our lives are drowning in plastic. It's everywhere, in everything...EVERYTHING! I mean, I'm sitting her tapping away at a plastic keyboard. The real question is, what ISN'T made with at least some plastic? Did you know, for example, that even a lot of facial scrub contains tiny plastic particles -- those microbeads that exfoliate your skin -- that eventually find their way into the oceans to be consumed by plankton, which then die from it. Kill off the plankton, and a lot of other species go with it. But that's just one small example of a colossal problem, and it's made me suddenly VERY aware of how much plastic I've wastefully been using in my daily life.
This book has just forced me to make an to cut down, especially on the kinds of disposable plastics we tend to use everyday without thinking about it. I can't NOT buy computers, TVs, cell phones, cars, etc. But I can be more vigilant when it comes to recycling, choosing reusable containers instead of throwaways, and reading labels when I buy products to make sure they don't contain hidden plastics, like in the facial scrub. It was my husband who found that one, who also read The World Without Us. I found him in the bathroom one day scrutinizing the labels on all my stuff, and when he explained I was like "I'm not letting you read any more books." But he was right, and now I'm switching.
So the other book that really stood out this past month? TWILIGHT, by Stephanie Meyers. Of course I've been hearing about these books since they first came out, but I really had no idea until I started the first one how completely engrossing they could be. I have to say, I thought Twilight had some of the most compelling romantic passages I've ever read. Anywhere. The yearning between Bella and Edward was so powerful that the slightest touch between them made me ache. I read it in about three days, then immediately started New Moon, which I've also finished. It didn't have the quite same effect on me as Twilight, and I've read some criticisms about Bella that I do somewhat agree with, but I think that adult readers especially have to understand that this is a young adult story, and speaking as a mom I believe Meyers did a realistic job of shaping this character. She's far from being a perfect person and she makes mistakes that sometimes make me want to shake her, but is that unusual for a teenager? Am I right, parents? Anyway, I'm happily committed to the series now and look forward to seeing it through.