Reynolds has a straightforward writing style - matter-of-fact, perfect for a book about science and health. She looks at many common and ubiquitous be...moreReynolds has a straightforward writing style - matter-of-fact, perfect for a book about science and health. She looks at many common and ubiquitous beliefs about exercise, training, sports nutrition and uses science to either disprove or reinforce them. Chapters tackle big subjects like the importance of warm-ups, whether or not stretching before a workout really does anything, the "myth" of dehydration, etc. She covers a lot of ground - using case studies of athletes and their trainers, as well as many scientific studies to underline her points.
Her goal in writing this book is not about losing weight (I think she only mentions that once throughout the whole book) but much more about being fit, no matter what size. It is more about movement and activity - with all research showing that by keeping your body active, you will keep your brain healthy and will live longer. It is just that simple.
It's a quick read - your won't regret picking this one up. Although you may want to read it while pedaling a stationary cycle or walking on a treadmill :) (less)
Found this book in a Google book search as a free e-book courtesy of the University of Virginia library. Oh Google, I can't quit you.
Cecil Charles tra...moreFound this book in a Google book search as a free e-book courtesy of the University of Virginia library. Oh Google, I can't quit you.
Cecil Charles travels to Honduras in the 1880s and writes this book for fellow Americans who want to strike it rich in Honduras, taking the country for all it is worth. (No kidding, more on this later...) Heavy in descriptions, Charles describes each leg of his journey, from the Pacific coast to Tegucigalpa, where he spends a good deal of time, hobnobbing with fellow Americans and Europeans, visiting American companies (specifically silver mines), and making friends with the Honduran president. Charles takes this cultural task very seriously, offering up paragraphs of advice on things like public health (wash your hands! don't go barefoot!) to relationships with the "natives", who are not quite the savages that you would imagine them to be (his words!) and will work for very little. He propagates every last stereotype, but then comes around and says how much he loves the country and his time there. In fact, this is the model of the book: COMPLAIN COMPLAIN COMPLAIN (riding on burros and mules, muddy roads, poor lodgings, dim-witted guides and porters, insufficient food) and then say "Oh, I love it here because their coffee is good." It is truly laughable.
Perhaps the most enlightening to a modern reader is latter half of the book, where Charles describes how best to exploit all the resources the country has to offer: lands free for the taking! timber! plantations! I mean, he really thinks that he is offering some sort of major service to his fellow countrymen (which I suppose he might have to the industrious fortune-seekers who were completely on-board with American imperialism in both the financial and cultural sense). His most shocking diatribe - the one that made me gasp and my jaw drop to the floor - was reserved for a racist rant against the "Caribs" of the North Coast (presumably the Garifuna people in coastal Honduras and Belize). Until that point, I was ready to accept "ol' Cecil" as a typical gringo with his "white people problems" - but that rant was unforgivable (and totally unnecessary in the context of the book, truthfully. I guess his racist feelings just ran so deep that he felt he needed to mention them as a side note? Inexcusable, even for this time...)
That being said, this book is a rare glimpse into the world of 1880s Central America - right as American and Europeans were beginning to flood to the various country to strike it rich. It's a telling portrait, and a harbinger for what was to come for the Isthmus (and Honduras in particular) in the coming decades.
I will refrain from rating this book - it is just too controversial and dated, but it was a goldmine for my research into the region during this period, so for that reason, it was extremely useful.(less)
This book made me feel so much better - I knew that there had to be other people who went to this level of detail and description in outlines before s...moreThis book made me feel so much better - I knew that there had to be other people who went to this level of detail and description in outlines before starting to churn out their novel!
Firm believer that a solid outline is like a first draft - the dots are connected, just needs to be filled in and shaded. I suspect I will re-read this one several times in the coming months and years as I continue to write.(less)
A collection of stories set in a fictional "banana republic" of Anchuria, likely modeled after Honduras, where the author, O. Henry, spent some time e...moreA collection of stories set in a fictional "banana republic" of Anchuria, likely modeled after Honduras, where the author, O. Henry, spent some time evading the law after embezzlement and tax evasion charges. The characters are largely American businessmen and government officials, who are all to happy to pull fast cons and loaf about in hammocks, pining for their lost loves and failed dealings in the States. There is humor, primarily slapstick style, in the vaudevillian antics of the expats. The reader can easily glean O. Henry's political leanings and prevalent opinions regarding American expansionism / manifest destiny, race, and corporate business in the Caribbean/Central America. (less)
Solid contextual piece for the Central American wars and skirmishes during the late 19th and early 20th-century. Chapters focus primarily on Nicaragua...moreSolid contextual piece for the Central American wars and skirmishes during the late 19th and early 20th-century. Chapters focus primarily on Nicaragua and Honduras, although Guatemala and El Salvador come into play.(less)
A celebration of cooking and why it matters: Bittman succinctly discusses the health, economic, and societal benefits of cooking your own food. It's a...moreA celebration of cooking and why it matters: Bittman succinctly discusses the health, economic, and societal benefits of cooking your own food. It's a great primer for someone new to food politics. (less)
Highs and lows: some essays were quite brilliant, and others did nothing for me. That seems to be the nature of every essay collection I read, but thi...moreHighs and lows: some essays were quite brilliant, and others did nothing for me. That seems to be the nature of every essay collection I read, but this one felt particularly uneven. The bookend essays - those few at the beginning and end of the collection were my favorites.
Sullivan does his best writing when he engages the reader with personal stories - that's what drew me in. I really enjoyed his camp out with the evangelicals at the Creation music festival, as well as the story of his brother's electrocution and rehabilitation. I really enjoyed his meetings with Bunny Wailer in Trench Town.
The strongest essay, and my favorite of the whole lot was "Violence of the Lambs" at the end of the book. As Sullivan looks into the future of humanity, he researches a tangential topic of animal attacks on humans and throws in facts and a good dose of existentialism. Very worth the read.
A quick read that left me sentimental - a lesson in carpe diem. Easily comparable to Nick Hornby's style of writing; smart, wry, and just enough patho...moreA quick read that left me sentimental - a lesson in carpe diem. Easily comparable to Nick Hornby's style of writing; smart, wry, and just enough pathos to not leave you a sopping mess of emotion. I read this book and felt the urge to tell all the people around me that I love them. The characters were so real... just like people you know in everyday life. Good writing, because I even saw myself in these characters...
Mukherjee is a very gifted storyteller. He crafted this book with care, telling the personal history of cancer through his eyes as an oncologist and c...moreMukherjee is a very gifted storyteller. He crafted this book with care, telling the personal history of cancer through his eyes as an oncologist and cancer researcher, and through the lives of some of his patients. He begins the book talking about the earliest mentions of cancer in literature (an Egyptian papyrus that mentions a breast tumor) and a Persian queen who had her slave perform a mastectomy to remove her cancer in 500 BCE. Mukherjee discusses the highlights of cancer research and the general history of medical science through time. Woven throughout the histories, he intersperses stories of patients he has treated - most notably following Carla, the young mother with lymphoma as she goes through treatment for her form of cancer.
From the "black bile" humor theory, the quack treatments, and the extremely damaging and invasive "surgeries" performed in the medieval and early modern period, the true advances in understanding cancer (as much as it can be understood) began in the nineteenth-century. Science in general reached new heights, and the advances of chemistry and physics led to advances in cancer treatment, i.e. chemotherapy and drug development, and radiation treatment. The discovery of carcinogens began the shift towards preventative medicine (fascinating / sad story about the chimney sweep children in Industrial England with their cancers from years of soot and ash inhalation) and the history behind the early screening tests that we so often take for granted (pioneers in mammography and Dr. Paponikolau, the researcher behind the Pap smear, who developed the test with guinea pigs), and the advancements in laboratory and research medicine. Some of the most interesting parts of the book are the social histories around the cancer research. Mukherjee writes a detailed history about the research and the advocacy partnership of Sidney Farber and Mary Lasker, and the founding of the National Cancer Institute and the political push for scientific and cancer-research funding.
Among the most interesting and revelatory sections for me was the research that went into discovering the correlation between tobacco and cigarette-smoking and lung cancer in the 1960s. Mukherjee gives great context for the battle to educate people about lung cancer and prevention. Many of the scientists that were researching did not believe that they would find any correlation - and many of them were chain smokers themselves.
The last section of the book describes the modern cancer research from the late 1970s to today; the discoveries of genetic roles in cancer formation, and the formulation of drugs. This section is the most scientific of the book, and a cursory knowledge of genetics might come in handy.
Mukherjee is a realist, and states it from the outset. Cancer effects us all, and as we age, it will effect everyone in some way - whether personally or with a family member or close friend. As an oncologist, he sees many patients and also sees many deaths. While cancer research has progressed, he is not shy to say that there may never be a way to beat this disease, as it is constantly changing and mutating into something new, something more destructive and invasive. He does say that many treatments now can prolong lives for months and years, and he has also seen long and "successful" remissions, but each case of cancer is different in each individual, and treatments for each case have different results. He encourages us to not think of it as a "War on Cancer" as was the common language in the 1950s-70s, and says that our culture may need to redefine "victory" in this war.
Highly recommend if you are interested in medical/scientific history, and in learning more about the social history, as well as the modern developments in cancer research.
Like any book of essays, there are some great ones that make the reader extol the genre and the author, and others that feel out of place... Rakoff's...moreLike any book of essays, there are some great ones that make the reader extol the genre and the author, and others that feel out of place... Rakoff's opening essay sets the tone for the book: he criticizes the positive psychology movement of the last half-century and tells people to be realistic - things may not get better, things may not change. He moves on to talk about all that is wrong with *Rent* the Broadway musical, his short-lived film career and the drama involved with a book author, his roadtrip in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, his tour of Disneyland's "Tomorrowland" house, his admission that Jews LOVE pork and shellfish, on keeping juicy secrets, and he ends the book with a poignant essay about his most recent bout with lymphoma.
The book is filled with some great quotes - and overall, a good read.(less)
It's one of those books that you get so absorbed in and you learn all of these interesting facts that you want to share with people... for instance (I...moreIt's one of those books that you get so absorbed in and you learn all of these interesting facts that you want to share with people... for instance (I just have to share!) tigers are known for their virility and their strength - and the Sanskrit word for tiger *vyagghra* was Anglicized into "viagra" for the well-known impotency medication. Interesting, right? Well, there's more to learn inside this book!
The author tries to accomplish a lot in this book, and by and large, he succeeds. At the core of the story is the investigation of a unique mauling in the remote forests in coastal Siberia in the mid-1990s. The team that is dispatched to look into the killing is very similar to a forensics team at a crime scene; they read the snow, see how the attack took place, follow the tiger's entrance and exit paths, and begin to formulate ideas based on what they find. The book focuses on this team (Inspection Tiger) and their members, as well as some of the nearby villagers. In doing so, the author's research delves into Soviet and new Russian politics, ideas towards the environment, science, and conservation, the biology and psychology of both the tigers and the humans, the wealth of myths and stories about tigers and other "monsters" throughout human history, the study of predator-prey biospheres, and the economics and black market demand for rare animals by superpowers like China. So, while the isolated incident of this one tiger on this one village is where the story starts, it is much bigger in context and ramifications.
Fascinating read - tied with Henriette Lacks as the best non-fiction of the year for me.
Not a plot synopsis but a review to say that I enjoyed this one, and I kept on reading late into the night. While the "mystery" subset was a little sl...moreNot a plot synopsis but a review to say that I enjoyed this one, and I kept on reading late into the night. While the "mystery" subset was a little slap-dash, I really liked the sci-fi bits with the ship and the world created. Wish the author would just make this a stand-alone book though - disappointed to see #1 after title... just have a feeling that sequel(s) will kill it.(less)
It's one big game and in your 17th year, you get your "match" - eHarmony-like - matched up with all the components for the best mate. Most of the time...moreIt's one big game and in your 17th year, you get your "match" - eHarmony-like - matched up with all the components for the best mate. Most of the time, your mate is someone on the other side of the world - but for Cassia, her mate is actually her best friend... except... there's a glitch... and then...
The beginning was a little "pat", but it gained steam, and then I liked it. There were some areas of the book that I would have appreciated more development and explanation, but I thought the story moved well. With the popularity of this genre, it is easy to point to Condie's many influences, but she still has her own story to tell. While other books focus on the larger establishment and the structure of the dystopian world, this book delved right into the human relationships (drug-induced and simulated as they were) and that was the focus of the book. Mentions of "The Society" and "The Officials" were common, but it wasn't really clear what those things even meant. And there was little to no explanation of the caste system and how one becomes an "Aberration" or an "Anomaly". Since this book is labeled as #1 of the series, I assume this means that this world is going to be fleshed out more in the following books. I look forward to that.
3 stars on the Good Reads system - "I liked it" is a true statement.
Oh Tony! you have so much to offer: pithy observations, thoughtful commentary on a host of subjects... and then you devolve into talking shit about (a...moreOh Tony! you have so much to offer: pithy observations, thoughtful commentary on a host of subjects... and then you devolve into talking shit about (almost) everyone. Sure, that's some of your charm - you say it like it is, you snark, you are lovingly curmudgeonly - but a few times in reading this book that I just skipped ... and skipped over few chapters. Too much bad jou jou with all the mud-slinging.
You had some great tales to tell: island hopping with the "old money" crazy girl, teaching your daughter about the evils of fast food, Changology, in the kitchen and the dining room with Justo the Dominican... and hell, I even read and got something out of your lambasting of vegetarianism / veganism (although I have to say, you seem to miss the point entirely... and you didn't change my mind: I eat vegan food AND while you may "hate" my kind, I still have an odd and inexplicable affection towards YOU) especially your note to your vegan "friend" after your harrowing trip to Beirut.
...and I really could have done without the final essay on the roomful of famous chefs eating the threatened species of French bird... irresponsible, selfish, and wrong is what it really is... but I digress.
That being said, I will still watch your show, and read your books and articles. I think it is your unique blend of joie de vivre that keeps reeling me in - you are so damn passionate about your food and your travels. And I get that. I am too. I just prefer my pho with vegetable broth, veggies, and no fish sauce. We can still agree that it is one of the most amazing foods on earth.