If veganism is a new concept for you, this is a great book. For me, I already knew a lot of the stuff she was covering. She talks about the different...moreIf veganism is a new concept for you, this is a great book. For me, I already knew a lot of the stuff she was covering. She talks about the different benefits of the vegan lifestyle: personal health, environmental, spiritual, finanical, etc. It's all good information, and she quotes various doctors and studies and books (like the China Study) to back up her ideas. So it's a good starter kit for someone who knows nothing about these subjects. But I skipped several chapters because they just seemed repetitive to me.
Also, I find it annoying when people like Freston and Alicia Silverstone try to tell us that if you eat a vegan diet, you never have to count calories again. Seriously? Of course you'll be eating less unhealthy fat and sugar and whatnot, but it's still not okay to eat as much pasta and carbs as you want. Any extreme, whether it's cutting out carbs altogether, or eating as many as you want, is just dumb. If I ate as many carbs as I wanted, even if they were whole grain and vegan, I would not enjoy the weight that I would gain! Also, she is very against processed foods in general, but is all about people consuming meat alternatives that are just as processed. That doesn't make sense to me. I understand that the goal is to get folks to consume less meat and dairy, and if they need the fake meat and cheese to make that happen, so be it. I use fake meats a lot just for the convenience and because some of them are yummy. But I am pretty choosy about which ones I eat. They are not all created equal. I try to read labels and make sure I can ID the ingredients as real food! Some have overly processed soybeans and a lot of sodium and other crap in them. Whenever possible, it's best to eat whole foods.
Freston has this pie in the sky idea that someday everyone will jump on this bandwagon and embrace the health benefits of becoming vegan. I don't think that's realistic. But it is a good goal to "lean into" this lifestyle, as she puts it. If everyone started consuming less meat and dairy, their health would improve, and the world in general would benefit from the gradual changes. So I would encourage anybody to do some research to see what they think about this.
In the meantime, I'm finally getting to Freston's other book, Quantum Wellness, which has been on my to-read list since 2008. I think I'll like that one a lot better, since it incorporates all different types of wellness, and not just diet. (less)
At first I was a little worried that this one had all the trappings of bad teen problem novels: an overweight girl, a disabled brother, dead parents,...moreAt first I was a little worried that this one had all the trappings of bad teen problem novels: an overweight girl, a disabled brother, dead parents, a date rape, bullying. But Weiner always manages to win me over. Her characters are likeable, the plot is a fun ride, and who can't relate to bad high school experiences? There are plenty of cheesy moments, but I admit that I teared up a bit at at the end. Good beach read.(less)
Fans of what I call "intelligent chick lit" (Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner, etc.) will enjoy this. I admit I bought it because I'm a Housewives of NYC...moreFans of what I call "intelligent chick lit" (Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner, etc.) will enjoy this. I admit I bought it because I'm a Housewives of NYC fan, but I already knew from reading What Remains that she writes well. And I'm sure she writes her own books, no matter what her costars say. How silly. Anyway, this novel is comic relief after the tear-jerking memoir about her late husband. It's light and fun but not sappy or ditzy. (less)
You know what I like about America? You can't be charged with the same crime twice. It's strange that I just finished listening to the audiobook last...moreYou know what I like about America? You can't be charged with the same crime twice. It's strange that I just finished listening to the audiobook last night, which is read by Amanda herself, and then today it's announced that she and her former boyfriend have been found guilty AGAIN by the Italian court. WHAT??? First they were found guilty of the murder of Amanda's roommate, then they appealed and were set free, after serving four years in jail. And now somehow the case was appealed AGAIN and they were found guilty. What a clusterf**k. It seems unlikely that she'll have to go back to jail, since U.S. laws should protect her from getting sent back to serve time for a crime she was already tried for, but what about Raffaele? He lives in Italy, so could he seriously going back to jail for 20+ years?!
This was such a bizarre case, and I've gone back and forth on whether I believe Knox is guilty or innocent. From everything I've read to this point, I see no reason that she and her then-boyfriend would have committed this murder. She did behave strangely, immaturely, and stupidly at times. But that doesn't make her a murderer. I was once a naive, clueless 20-year-old studying abroad, too. Thank goodness no one accused me of crime at the time, because I was mostly guilty of drinking too much beer. Amanda smoked too much weed, but that's about the worst thing she's done from what I can tell. And from what she said in this book, her time in jail really did help her mature and grow as a person.
It's such a tragedy that Meredith was killed, but the nature of the crime, a violent rape that ended with her throat being slashed... there's no reason to believe that a young woman who was her roommate and friend would have anything to do with a crime like that, or that her meek boyfriend had anything to do with it either. The idea that they were having some Halloween ritual sex game or that Amanda was mad about rent money or whatever they tried to say is just too ridiculous for words. There's another dude serving time who was clearly there that day and has quite a shady past. I do think there was one more person there, but I don't think it was Amanda or Raffaele.
In any case, what a nightmare. We may never know what really happened. The Italian justice system just seems like a complete joke. The cops messed so many things up that I can't even list them here. What a mess.(less)
Oh my goodness. I'm not much of a murder mystery person, but I read Gone Girl out of curiosity. It's so popular that I had to check it out. But I like...moreOh my goodness. I'm not much of a murder mystery person, but I read Gone Girl out of curiosity. It's so popular that I had to check it out. But I liked this one better because it seemed less gimmicky to me. Just as Gone Girl could scare any single person away from marriage forever, this one turns the idea of the mother/daughter relationship on its head. There are some truly terrifying female characters in this book. I don't know where Flynn gets her ideas, but she has a gift for creating nightmare characters that could exist in any small town.
Oh, and I should add that I thought I knew who the killer was about halfway through. I was on the right track but there is a great twist at the end. I felt dumb for not figuring it out sooner. But I was also satisfied that it wasn't as predictable as I originally thought!(less)
I just finished and...huh? I think she's great at creating characters and potraying relationships as they are in real life. As a new mom, I can say th...moreI just finished and...huh? I think she's great at creating characters and potraying relationships as they are in real life. As a new mom, I can say that this book accurately tells the story of the day-to-day lives of a married couple with babies. But the whole psychic sister thing seemed cheesy to me when I read reviews and even when I started reading the book. And now that I've finished it...without inserting any specific spoilers...I wonder what the point was of making them psychic or even mentioning an earthquake???? Having said that, her books are always well written. I think I prefered American Wife over this one though.(less)
I thought this bio was great fun. First of all, there aren't many books that are worth owning in print anymore. But I could see why a fan of Grace's w...moreI thought this bio was great fun. First of all, there aren't many books that are worth owning in print anymore. But I could see why a fan of Grace's would want this one sitting on a shelf. It has great illustrations and photos of Grace's best photo shoots throughout. It could almost be considered a coffeetable art book as well as a biography.
As for her story, I was left wondering if she knows how extraordinary her life has been. She sort of acknowledges at the beginning that it was unlikely for a small town girl from Wales to end up a high fashion model in Swinging Sixties London and later a big-time editor at Vogue. She's worked with the world's greatest photographers and models. She wore YSL, among other amazing designers, all the time in the 70s. She made out with Mick Jagger once. She married the guy who opened Mr. Chow's. She hung out with into every 1960s and 1970s celebrity you could ever think of. And she just keeps listing these events as if they were no big deal. I guess maybe that's the British way, but it's almost annoying. She's lived a dream life, with a few tragedies mixed in for good measure.
But my complaints are minor. Overall, I loved living inside Grace's world for the few days it took me to breeze through her book. It's a total fashion fantasy universe. (less)
This book totally cheered me up. A couple days ago I was feeling down in the dumps and in need of inspiration. And I was hoping the right book would f...moreThis book totally cheered me up. A couple days ago I was feeling down in the dumps and in need of inspiration. And I was hoping the right book would find me in the library. And here it was! I had been meaning to read this one since it was published. And I wish I had seen Nora speak downtown at Harold Washington when she appeared there for "I Feel Bad About My Neck." Now I just feel sad that she's gone, because I feel like we need more intelligent, hilarious women to write film scripts like hers.
This books is a quick read. I breezed through it in two days. Her essays made me remember why I love writing, watching movies, and reading well-written articles. Her experiences as a young journalist in NYC are the stuff of every writing major's fantasies. She walked into a temp agency right after graduation and got a job at Newsweek. Granted, the job was in the mail room because it was 1962 and they didn't give women writing gigs, but she eventually did move up to a writing position there, as well as the NY Post and Esquire. This stuff doesn't happen anymore. That era has ended. Thanks, Internet! And her take on divorce came from many years of perspective. "Stuff Happens." Her motto was "Get over it." Yes. What you thought was the biggest disaster of your life when you were younger doesn't seem like such a big deal after a few decades. That is comforting.
Anyway, when I was younger Nora's movies were kind of a secret guilty pleasure for me. I didn't want to admit that I loved her semi-cheesy romantic comedies. But as I get older I see how brilliant her writing was. Sleepless in Seattle is great! So heartwarming. I'm glad that we have her books and movies as a way to remember this great lady.(less)
Oh, this is the sort of novel I wish I could write. A group of high school kids meet at a summer camp for artsy types. The book follows them as they g...moreOh, this is the sort of novel I wish I could write. A group of high school kids meet at a summer camp for artsy types. The book follows them as they grow up and realize they aren't as interesting as they onece thought. Adult life beats them all down in one way or another. The characters feel like real, complete, flawed people who have intelligent conversations. I don't know if it's realistic that these people would have stayed friends for their entire adult lives, but she sets up a great contrast between the characters who are successful in their creative careers and those who settle for more conventional lives.
If I have any criticisms, the length and the historical references both got tiresome. I tend to think that novels almost never need to go on for more than 300 pages. Where are the editors these days? And yes, we get it, people had opinions about Reagan in 1981, and AIDS was a huge deal, and so was 9/11. I found these heavy-handed references distracting from the story.
But overall, I could relate to the self-involved teenagers who thought that being artsy and "interesting" meant more than anything in the world, only to discover as adults that a "normal" life can be way more satisfying. Also, the idea that most adults carry around one main wound from their past and can't let it go rings true:
"The past is so tenacious...Everyone basically has one aria to sing over their entire life..."(less)
I got some good parenting advice out of this. Live in the present moment and accept it for what it is. Accept your kids for who they are, not who you...moreI got some good parenting advice out of this. Live in the present moment and accept it for what it is. Accept your kids for who they are, not who you want them to be. You can choose to focus on positive thoughts just as much as negative ones, so you may as well be positive. Don't project your own issues from childhood onto your kids. That's a big one.
So there is a lot of worthwhile stuff in this book. However, I am too practical and logic-minded for some of the hippie-dippyness that abounds in its pages. It can be cheesy at times, and I feel like no parent can possibly live up to the ideals the authors present. They advocate for focusing on your child's needs above your own 100% of the time. It's a nice concept, but um...kids do eventually need to learn that they're not the center of the universe, and um...sometimes I need to go to the bathroom or take a shower or get some sleep. Is that allowed, Kabat-Zinns? At times this book made it seem like I should feel guilty for wanting to meet my own basic needs as a human being. Sorry, no. All parents have to find balance between what their children need and what they need at any given moment. It's a huge challenge, but I can't function on no sleep. You can't play the martyr in my humble opinion.
And I am just not an attachment parenting person. Of course I want my son to be happy and loved at every moment. But some concepts are just too extreme for me. When they talked about the joys of breastfeeding a toddler and how cute it was that the child had nicknames for her mom's breasts I got really creeped out. A child who is old enough to talk should not still be breastfeeding, I'm sorry!
So yes, I find myself interested in the concept of mindful parenting, but not necessarily the touchy-feely hippie parenting stuff. So I guess I need to reconcile that for myself. Also, this book is awfully long for the simple concepts it presents. But it's worth skimming for anyone who enjoys meditation and finds themselves pondering the mysteries of parenthood!(less)
I loved Bringing Up Bebe and this is a little guidebook of the most important tips from that book. It works as a refresher for those who want to follo...moreI loved Bringing Up Bebe and this is a little guidebook of the most important tips from that book. It works as a refresher for those who want to follow the author's model of French parenting, or a guide for other caregivers.
I'm reluctant to talk about parenting with anyone nowadays. It seems similar to politics or religion. No matter what your opinion is, someone will disagree with you and get pissed off. So I hesitate to say too much about my opinions. Seriously, people get crazy about parenting philosophies. They're right, and the rest of the world is wrong! :) But I agree with the author that Americans tend to center their world around their children, sometimes to everyone's detriment. The kids sometimes end up thinking they're the center of the universe, or they just don't know how to be independent because they're used to their parents doing EVERYTHING for them.
But whether you agree with all of her opinions or not, I think we can all get behind the idea that kids should be polite, they should be considerate of others, and they need structure. Parents need sleep, alone time, and couple time. You can't let your relationship fall by the wayside. And kids need to develop at their own pace, with some downtime everyday. Being overscheduled will drive the entire family nuts.
So I think she offers a lot of practical tips. Of course, my kid is only 3 months old, so it will be awhile before I can test a lot of these theories. But I dig where she's coming from. I want to raise a confident, independent, polite child. (less)