Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chapters 5/6

I liked chapter six in the reading this week, and while chapter five was hot and steamy, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Personally, I prefer a nice, hot chai tea, but this was more of a lukewarm green tea. I feel like chapter five was more of a placeholder than a chapter. Like green tea, it serves its purpose. It is served to a reader who drinks up every word, on the pretense that they will learn about global warming. While it accomplished this goal, it left this reader dissatisfied.

Every other chapter in the book (possibly excluding chapter four) has had a little bite to it, like a good cup of chai tea should. Sure, it may burn the tongues of a few, but it ultimately leaves a reader with an air of satisfaction; chapter five did not. Here is my point: as quaint as my tea analogies may be, they unnecessarily delay my message to readers.

The only thing I would criticize is that Kolbert seems to progressively add more and more fluff to her chapters. The story about Akkad was interesting, but it could have been said in one page and we would have gotten the point. Also, she mentions at one point that she was with someone in a big office with lots of pottery when his secretary brings in finger sandwiches and something to drink. I thought the climatologist would go on to make some kind of reference to global warming being like finger sandwiches, but the reference never came and I was confused as to why it was ever mentioned.

I learned about climate models, and that they break the earth’s atmosphere into hundreds of little boxes. This part interested me because I interviewed several professors and scientists about global warming, and most mentioned climate models and how there are so many variables to account for. It was neat to actually see how they work. I also liked how she mentioned some people were preparing for the climate crisis by settling down in “amphibious homes.” I guess I’ve never really heard of them before, and it was an interesting thing to add.

For the most part, I liked her style. I like how she tells a story, and then ties it in with global warming. I believe she is losing her touch, though, and should keep her introductions and playful analogies to a minimum. After all, the book is about global warming, not finger sandwiches.

At the end of the day, Kolbert’s message is still the same: we’re in hot water. Some have prepared for the future with their amphibious homes. I think I’ll grab some tea bags.

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