Salon recommends

A photo collection featuring food, figurines and fetishes; a story of love and anthropology in a utopian community; and more.


Salon Staff
March 6, 2001 1:03AM (UTC)

What we're reading, what we're liking

1000 Extra/Ordinary Objects
This collection of photographs of interesting items (categories include food, fashion, animals, body, soul and leisure) with attendant bits of text, makes for piquant browsing. The book has been assembled by the people who edit the wonderful, Benneton-sponsored magazine Colors, and it reflects their socially conscious but always stylish sensibility. The objects range from liquid cheeseburgers and canned Barbie-shaped pasta in tomato sauce to pubic wigs, an AK-47 tote bag, beef-flavored bottled water for dogs, a Jesus doll, canned air from Israel and a panoply of racist figurines and fetishes.

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-- Laura Miller

Mating by Norman Rush
Quit waiting for Norman Rush to write another book -- go back and read "Mating" again. This 1991 novel might be old news, but so is Mozart and sliced bread, and those still get recommended. In a fictional, utopian, women-centered community in Botswana, the narrator, an American anthropologist, falls in love with the community's founder. We get the inside of their love affair and the minutiae of their great, exacting brains to boot. The love and the brains get woven together, but like all potentially pretentious developments in this geniusy book, exciting prevails over obnoxious. On a given page you can learn of the socioeconomics of monkey hunting, or that prostitutes in Gabarone sometimes squeeze lemons over questionable penises to find lesions. But the book is far too thoughtful to linger in colonial guide mode. It examines society and love as they currently exist, and then proceeds to examine some alternatives that Rush has proposed. The novel is about ideas and sadness and just about every detail of the world as we know it, and just when the scope seems impossibly vast, you learn that no animal but the lion eats porcupines.

-- Chris Colin

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