Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 39 & 40 - 2014

Book 39: Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet B. Schor – 258 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Over the last fifteen years children's spending power has mushroomed to an estimated USD30 billion in direct purchases and another USD600 billion of influence over parental purchases. Advertising and marketing has exploded alongside expenditures and now totals more than USD12 billion a year. Ads targeted at children are virtually everywhere - in schools, museums and on the internet - and strategies for capturing the child wallet have become ever more sophisticated. Marketers are intruding into a child's most private space, organizing stealthy peer-to-peer viral marketing efforts, and using high tech scientific research methodologies. Together, these trends have led to a pervasive commercialisation of childhood in the West. By eighteen months babies can recognize logos, by two they ask for products by brand name. During their nursery school years children will request an average of twenty-five products a day, by the time they enter primary school the average child can identify 200 logos and children between the ages of six and twelve spend more time shopping than reading, attending youth groups, playing outdoors or spending time in household conversation. On the basis of first-hand research inside the advertising industry, BORN TO BUY lays bare the research, messages and marketing strategies being used to target children, and assesses the impact of those efforts.

I studied sociology at part of Bachelor of Arts and I have always been fascinated by the way people behave as result of the influence of the media. This book looks at the way the media sells to children and how insidious this has become. It’s a little old now, but still distinctly relevant. Being U.S. centric, there was a lot of stuff I wasn’t actually aware of, and it became quickly apparent to me how much more entrenched capitalism is in education in the U.S. than it is in Australia. I already have my worries about the Australian education system, having seen its deterioration between myself at school in the 90s/00s and my sister at school between the 00s/10s, and books such as this give me much less faith for a better standard in other countries (particularly around the concept of ‘critical thinking’, an apparent dying concept). There’s some new research in this book done by the author, specifically for the book, and a lot of discussion around pre-existing research that outlines just how sketchy the lines are around when it is right and wrong to use children as a money grabber. I personally don’t believe in screening media from children, as I think it leads to a generation of kids who don’t really live in reality.  Having said that, I think knowing information such as is presented in this book, is a really good first step to understanding what parents/teachers/guardians etc need to teach their children in order to arm them to see the marketing from the reality. An interesting read.

39 / 50 books. 78% done!

13550 / 15000 pages. 90% done!

Book 40: Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs – 283 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
A woman calling herself Amy Roberts checks into a Montreal hospital complaining of uncontrolled bleeding. Doctors see evidence of a recent birth, but before they can act, Roberts disappears. Dispatched to the address she gave at the hospital, police discover bloody towels outside in a Dumpster. Fearing the worst, they call Temperance Brennan to investigate. In a run-down apartment Tempe makes a ghastly discovery: the decomposing bodies of three infants. According to the landlord, a woman named Alma Rogers lives there. Then a man shows up looking for Alva Rodriguez. Are Amy Roberts, Alma Rogers, and Alva Rodriguez the same person? Did she kill her own babies? And where is she now? Heading up the investigation is Tempe's old flame, homicide detective Andrew Ryan. His counterpart from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is sergeant Ollie Hasty, who happens to have a little history with Tempe himself, which she regrets. This unlikely trio follows the woman's trail, first to Edmonton and then to Yellowknife, a remote diamond-mining city deep in the Northwest Territories. What they find in Yellowknife is more sinister than they ever could have imagined

This was a pretty good Bones book, and I really enjoyed learning about Yellowknife. I will say that the one thing that keeps me reading these books is rarely the mysteries, but rather Tempe and Ryan’s interactions, which are tumultuous one book and romantic the next. Tempe comes across like a lot of my female friends: ready to jump to a conclusion of doom every time Ryan is in a bad mood even if it has nothing to do with her. Nonetheless, the actual murder mystery behind this book was quite interesting, and the whole story with the babies, and the involvement of diamond mining was really quite sad. It was also really interesting to learn a bit about diamond mining, as I knew quite a few of the references made in the book, coming from a background in auditing where the majority of our clients were mining companies (I live in a very large mining state – Queensland – here in Australia). Overall, not a ground breaking book (pun intended!) but definitely a decent read.

40 / 50 books. 80% done!

13833 / 15000 pages. 92% done!

Currently reading:
-        The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter – 442 pages
-        Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter – 263 pages
-        Work’s Intimacy by Melissa Gregg – 198 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
Tags: academic, anthropology, canadian lit, crime fiction, fiction, non-fiction, police drama, scholarly, thriller

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