The World Until Yesterday, by Jared Diamond.

coverwuyPre-industrial societies are very different from ours. Some of them kill grandparents when they get to a certain age. Individuals are often fluent in ten or more languages. They feast when food is plentiful, but are happy to go without for several days if there is nothing to eat.

Until a few thousand years ago, all humans lived in this way. It is what we evolved to do. This book is a fascinating account of Jared Diamond’s lifetime of observation of pre-industrial people from around the world. It is long, but packed with packed with intriguing stories from tribal societies.

Not surprisingly, Jared Diamond thinks that we have a lot to learn from these people.

Big Brother, by Lionel Shriver

bigbrotherPandora Halfdanarson’s brother is fat. And he’s coming to stay. And cook.

To what extent is it ethical or desirable for her to intervene in his addiction to food?

And what is the underlying cause of the eating behaviour that is killing him?

This novel is a great read, and very thought-provoking. Especially given that Lionel Shriver’s real brother died from obesity-related heart attack shortly after she wrote¬†this¬†article in the Guardian.