April Comes Quickly

I don’t know where March went. I’ve looked under calendars and in date books and I still can’t figure it out. The month went by so fast! Here are the books finished for March:

  • Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
  • The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
  • Family Man by Jayne Krentz
  • Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (AB)
  • The Brontes by Juliet Barker (DNF)
  • Means of Ascent by Robert Caro (DNF)
  • Center of the World by Jacqueline Sheehan (Fun)
  • In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White (would have been an Early Review book a long time ago)

On tap for April (besides a little Noodle 5k run):

  • A Considerable Town by MFK Fisher ~ in honor of April being the best time to visit France
  • The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman ~ for fun
  • Green Thoughts by Eleanor Perenyi ~ in honor of gardening month
  • Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot ~ in honor of April Fools
  • Don’t Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock ~ in honor of April being Food Month (AB)
  • The Grand Tour by Tim Moore ~ in honor of Harvey Ball passing in April

Cod

Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. New York: Penguin Books, 1998.

Reason read: Mark Kurlansky was born in December.

This is a book about all things cod. Really. Beyond the historical and ecological significance of the fish there is etymology and art and music and of course, recipes. Don’t get too excited – they’re really old recipes that do not sound appetizing! As an aside, I have a student worker who is just amazed someone could write an entire book not just about fish in general, but a specific fish at that. Here’s my reply: It’s a concise book, but did you know that color of a cod fish depends on the local conditions? Also, the colder the water, the smaller the fish because cod grow faster in warmer waters. Better yet, there are fascinating tidbits not related to cod. For example, all English towns that end in “wich”  were at one time salt producers. And did you know Clarence Birdseye of Brooklyn, New York held over 250 patents before his death and not all were related to the process of freezing food? But, back to the cod:  let’s not forget about the historical significance this fish had on the American Revolution! Interesting, right? So, in the end one can safely say Cod is not just about the historical significance of one little fish, it’s about a way of life .

Two lines I liked, “Fishermen were keeping their secrets, while explorers were telling the world” (p 28) and “Finally, in 1902, seven years after the death of Huxley, the British government began to concede that there was such a thing as overfishing” (p 144). Imagine that.

Confessional: Mark Kurlansky prompted me to Google/YouTube the song “Saltfish” by Mighty Sparrow. I learned something new!

Author fact: Kurlansky has experience working on commercial fishing boats. Cool.

Book trivia: the physical book is one of those “feels good to hold” books and it includes great photographs & illustrations.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust and Book Lust To Go. In the chapter “Mark Kurlansky: Too Good To Miss” (p 141) in Book Lust and again in the chapter “Newfoundland” (p 154) in Book Lust To Go.

October

This should be my favorite month because I’ve been so deeply tied to Just ‘Cause (think pink) and I love, love, love Halloween. But, all I can think about is the run. Here are the books, by the way!

  1. Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan 
  2. In a Strange City by Laura Lippman
  3. By a Spider’s Thread by Laura Lippman 
  4. Recognitions by William Gaddis 
  5. Maus by Art Spiegelman
  6. Lady Franklin’s Revenge by Ken McGoogan
  7. Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao* by Junot Diaz 
  8. Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  9. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
  10. Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
  11. A Good Doctor’s Son by Steven Schwartz
  12. Drinking: a Love Story by Caroline Knapp
  13. Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Philip Matyszak
  14. Nero Wolfe Cookbook by Rex Stout
  15. Treasure Hunter by W. Jameson
  16. Maus II by Art Spiegelman (Jan)
  17. The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat 
  18. In Xanadu by William Dalrymple
  19. The Assault by Harry Mulisch
  20. Wild Blue by Stephen Ambrose
  21. Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore
  22. Greater Nowheres by David Finkelstein/Jack London
  23. Alma Mater by P.F Kluge
  24. Old Man & Me by Elaine Dundy
  25. Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
  26. Good Life by Ben Bradlee
  27. Underworld by Don DeLillo
  28. Her Name Was Lola by Russell Hoban
  29. Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton
  30. Fires From Heaven by Robert Jordan
  31. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  32. Herb ‘n’ Lorna by Eric Kraft
  33. Polish Officer by Alan Furst
  34. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
  35. Walden by Henry David Throreau
  36. Reservations Recommended by Eric Kraft
  37. Selected Letters of Norman Mailer edited by J. Michael Lennon
  38. Chasing Monarchs by Robert Pyle
  39. Saturday Morning Murder by Batya Gur
  40. Bebe’s By Golly Wow by Yolanda Joe
  41. Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose
  42. Broom of the System by David Wallace
  43. Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan
  44. Little Follies by Eric Kraft
  45. Literary Murder by Batya Gur
  46. Bob Marley, My Son by Cedella Marley Booker
  47. Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  48. Southern Mail by Antoine de Saint- Exupery
  49. Measure of All Things, the by Ken Alder
  50. Two Gardeners by Emily Wilson
  51. Royal Flash by George Fraser
  52. Binding Spell by Elizabeth Arthur
  53. Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan
  54. ADDED: Castle in the Backyard by Betsy Draine 
  55. Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan
  56. Where Do You Stop? by Eric Kraft
  57. Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren
  58. Murder on a Kibbutz by Batya Gur
  59. Flash for Freedom! by George Fraser
  60. Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma
  61. Petra: lost city by Christian Auge
  62. From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman
  63. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  64. Flashman at the Charge by George MacDonald Fraser
  65. What a Piece of Work I Am by Eric Kraft
  66. Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson
  67. Ruby by Cynthia Bond
  68. Winter’s Heart by Robert Jordan
  69. Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan
  70. Murder Duet by Batya Gur
  71. Flashman in the Great Game – George MacDonald Fraser
  72. At Home with the Glynns by Eric Kraft
  73. Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme
  74. New Physics and Cosmology by Arthur Zajonc
  75. Grifters by Jim Thompson
  76. Snow Angels by James Thompson
  77. So Many Roads: the life and Times of the Grateful Dead by David Browne
  78. Short story: Drinking with the Cook by Laura Furman
  79. Short Story: Hagalund by Laura Furman
  80. Lone Pilgrim by Laurie Colwin
  81. Not so Short story: The Last of Mr. Norris by Christopher Isherwood
  82. short story: Jack Landers is My Friend by Daniel Stolar
  83. short story: Marriage Lessons by Daniel Stolar
  84. Light in August by William Faulkner
  85. Not so Short story: Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
  86. A Comedy & A Tragedy by Travis Hugh Culley
  87. Feed Zone by Biju Thomas
  88. Leaving Small’s Hotel by Eric Kraft
  89. Flashman’s Lady by George MacDonald Fraser
  90. In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan by John DeFrancis
  91. Faster! by James Gleick
  92. Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
  93. ADDED: Families and Survivors by Alice Adams
  94. Inflating a Dog by Eric Kraft
  95. Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett
  96. Flashman and the Redskins by George MacDonald Fraser
  97. Queens’ Play by Dorothy Dunnett
  98. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  99. Petty by Warren Zanes
  100. Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  101. Homicide by David Simon
  102. Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman (AB)
  103. Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett
  104. Flashman and the Dragon by George MacDonald Fraser
  105. ADDED: A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernandez (ER)
  106. ADDED: Crows Over a Wheatfield by Paula Sharp
  107. ADDED: Time Traveler: In Search of Dinosaurs and Ancient Mammals from Montana to Mongolia by Michael Novacek
  108. Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman (Nov)
  109. Flashman and the Mountain of Light by George MacDonald Fraser (Nov)
  110. Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett (Nov)
  111. Andorra by Peter Cameron (Nov)

DNF = Did Not Finish; AB = Audio Book; ER = Early Review; DNS = Did Not Start; EB = E-Book

Runner’s World Cookbook

Golub, Joanna Sayago and Deena Kastor. Runner’s World Cookbook: 150 Ultimate Recipes for Fueling Up and Slimming Down – While Enjoying Every Bite. Rodale Books, 2013.

Can I tell you how much I loved this cookbook? When it was due back at the owning library I didn’t want to give it up! It took everything I had not to renew it again and again. Everything about the book was gorgeous, from the food to the photography. This is one book I am definitely going to buy for myself had to buy for myself.

As someone who is starting to take running a little more seriously (as in serious enough to train for something longer than a 13.1 miler), I needed a little help with the other parts of (ahem) training. Stuff like strength training and yoga was the start (and oh so helpful), but I needed even more than that and that’s where nutrition came in. I had heard a great deal about the Runner’s World cookbook thanks to magazines like Running for Women. Finally, I borrowed it from a library and was not disappointed. The recipes are yummy and I have lost 12 pounds. So get out there and eat!

Banana Berry Smoothies

Larrew, Brekka Hervey. Banana Berry Smoothies and Other Breakfast Recipes (fun foods for cool cooks). Minneapolis, Minnesota: Capstone Press, 2008.

Reason read: always, always on the hunt for ways to make me & myself eat breakfast.

So. This turned out to be a cookbook for young adults. I say young “adult” because there are sharp knives, frying oil and a hot stove involved. Kids definitely need to be supervised while following the recipes if they are under the age of 8 or 9 years old. True to its title, the first recipe is a banana berry smoothie. It then moves on to other typical treats like muffins and pancakes. I thought the entire was well laid out and incredibly cute. It even had a little index. I liked the photographs of the tools needed for each recipe and the trivia facts were fun, too. Did you know Pancake Day is on Shrove Tuesday?

Author fact: Brekka is a stay-at-home mom.

Book trivia: even adults can use these recipes if they are anything like me and have trouble being inspired to eat breakfast!

Nero Wolfe Cookbook

Stout, Rex. The Nero Wolfe Cookbook. New York: Viking Press, 1973.

This is one of those cookbooks I would call “unique” just because it isn’t just a bunch of recipes with a common theme. This cookbook is for the diehard Nero Wolfe fans who really want to submerge themselves in his world. It’s a great concept. I don’t know how many readers actually tried to cook these meals, but they are real, honest-to-goodness recipes, albeit with weird ingredients like kummel, kirschwasser, sauterne, and pig livers. There is a whole chapter on just corn (note to self: try the roasting of corn in their husks instead of the traditional steaming). Throughout the recipes are little snippets of Wolfe’s unique relationship with food. I found it interesting that he can’t stand to have hungry visitors, even if those same visitors are thought to be suspects. Of course, it isn’t Nero doing all the cooking. He has his trusted cook, Fritz Brenner for that.

Reason read: Rex Stout was born in December. This was a quick “read” for the end of the month.

Author fact: According to the author info in The Nero Wolfe Cookbook, Stout had a passion for hotdogs. Okay.

Book trivia: I will admit 100% that I have read this at the wrong time. Having only read one Nero Wolfe mystery thus far (Fer-de-Lance) these recipes meant nothing to me. What saved me from quitting saving this for later were the quotations from the books in reference to each recipe.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Rex Stout: Too Good To Miss” (p 226).

Joy of Cooking

Rombauer, Irma and Marion Rombauer Becker. Joy of Cooking. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1964.

This red and white thick-bound book was a staple of my mother’s kitchen when I was growing up. It sat on a kitchen shelf in my childhood home. It sits there still. It is even more grease stained, dog-eared and much worse for wear (I think I started the degradation when I took a crayon to it when I was two); yet my mother would never dream of getting rid of it or updating it for a newer, shinier or cleaner edition. Her reason? This is the ultimate cookbook for every occasion, every season and every reason. The dirtier the page, the more well-loved the recipe. With Rombauer and Becker you simply can’t go wrong. On ever page there is a wealth of information from entertaining to grilling. From setting the table to eating lobster. Soup to nuts as they would say. Even though the methods are a little dated and the illustrations are a little cheesy it’s a classic. I love the extensive knowledge about the foods we eat, the foods we heat, the foods we keep…My favorite has always been the place setting illustrations.

Reason read: My birthday (last Saturday) always brings about a sort of reminiscing about childhood and this was definitely something that tugged at the heartstrings of my childhood.

Author fact: Marion Rombauer Becker no longer had her mother by her side when she revised and reorganized the 1964 edition of Joy of Cooking.

Book trivia: Originally copyrighted in 1931 Joy of Cooking saw at least 35 reprintings. Couldn’t they have figured out after the, say, twentieth reprint that the thing was a hit and that they should reprint a whole mess of them all at once? Surely there could have been an exception to the rule!

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Dewey Deconstructed: 600s” (p). Interestingly enough Nancy Pearl made a point to say she wasn’t talking about the most recent edition of Joy of Cooking but doesn’t explain why. She does make special note of the recipes for oatmeal cookies with orange peel and baked macaroni and cheese.

Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee

Craughwell, Thomas J. Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Heming Introduced French Cuisine to America. Quirk Books, 2012.

How I would love to step back in time and follow Thomas Jefferson around! I just find him to be such an interesting character. I definitely agree that he is the most cerebral of our founding fathers. Despite Benjamin Franklin’s eye for invention I find  that Thomas Jefferson was more downright curious. He wanted to learn all that he could about the world around him.

But, enough of that. Onto the book review: This was a disappointment. I honestly expected the subject matter to match the title of the book on several different points. For starters, the obvious one – food (specifically bringing French cuisine to America). I didn’t see enough supporting evidence to believe that it was Thomas Jefferson who actually introduced the cuisine to America. Only a small handful of recipes prove that recipes like macaroni and cheese were introduced. Then there is the subject of James Heming. James Heming might have been the one who did all the work – taking the culinary classes, practicing the recipes at Jefferson’s elaborate dinner parties, and training the next cook to take his place so that he might experience freedom, but it is on Jefferson Craughwell focuses the most. Even then the focus isn’t primarily on his bringing French cuisine to America, it was on everything else.

 

Fast Food Nation

Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: the Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2001.

When I first realized Fast Food Nation was on my Lust list I had but one burning question. I wondered if my own personal opinions about fast food establishments would be altered after reading Schlosser’s book. As a rule I don’t eat fast food, so if the answer ending up being yes, how then would my opinions be altered? Was it possible I would turn against my previous dietary sensibilities and try a Big Mac? I will readily admit I am two-faced and biased when it comes to “fast” food. Subway and Chipotles are considered “fast” establishments and yet I don’t put them in the same swamp as McD, BK or Wendy. I guess that’s because you can’t technically drive through Subway or Chipotle. You can’t order and eat without ever getting out of your car the way you can with the clown, the king and the kid.

From the very first chapter of Fast Food Nation I felt as though I had been slapped upside the head with a whole bunch of really disturbing facts about the country in which I reside. Schlosser doesn’t leave a single aspect of the fast food industry untouched or without scrutiny. To use a bad pun, he devours it all and then spits it back out. At us. From the historical humble beginnings of the hot dog cart to the corporate conglomerates of tomorrow Schlosser covers it all. It’s fascinating and yet distracting. Fast food Nation took too long to read because I kept rereading passages out loud to anyone who would listen.

Best thing I learned: Malling is a verb. To mall is to cover this great nation of ours with shopping malls. What’s that Natalie Merchant lyric about sprawling concrete? You get the point.

Wake up moments: “The whole experience if buying fast food has become so routine, so thoroughly unexceptional and mundane, that it is not taken for granted, like brushing your teeth or stopping for a read light” (p 3). Obviously Mr Schlosser hasn’t driven in my neck of the woods. Who stops for a red light?
Another wake up moment from the same page, “A nation’s diet can be more revealing than its art or literature” (p 3).

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Guilt Inducing Books” (p 112). Read in April because April is national food month.

Stuffed

Volk, Patricia. Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family.Hampton Falls: Beeler Large Print, 2001.

I thoroughly enjoyed Stuffed. I found it to be funny and clever and culturally informative. Don’t let the title deceive you. The story does not center around a restaurant. In fact, Volk barely makes mention of the family establishment(s). Instead, Volk offers insight into memories of her family through foodstuff. A cookie. Meat. Soup. Chocolate. Each morsel of food is an opportunity to tell a small tale about a great-grandfather, her aunts, a sister. Probably the most profound chapter is the death of her father. The loss is profound, the love endless. I think the morale of the story, if any, is love your family. Warts and all.

Best lines: “I don’t know if I could live without my sister…I love her as much as I love me” (p 33). C’est vrai. Another line: “You could eat off her floors if you don’t mind the taste of Pine-Sol” (p 68). And one more, “She learned to live with the compromise of pain” (p 119). I could go on, but I won’t.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “Food For Thought” (p 92).

PS~ a side note on the large print. No, I’m not going blind. I read this copy because it was the only one within reach. Oddly enough I enjoyed it being so big.

Clean Food

Walters, Terry. Clean Food: a Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source With More than 200 Recipes For a Healthy and Sustainable You. New York: Sterling, 2009.

A friend gave me a gift certificate to Barnes & Noble. Happy birthday to me! Except I have a weird relationship with B&N. On the one hand, I’m a librarian through and through. I borrow my books. Sending them back is in my blood because I really don’t have the space for keepers. Wait. Let me rephrase. I am picky about my keepers because my space is limited. There. That’s more honest. Quite simply, I do not have the luxury of holding on to every book. When I was a child my father and I belonged to a mail-away book club. Every month we would pour over the selections, pick out a few we thought we could read in 30 days and then wait anxiously for their arrival. The package would come, heavy with books, complete with a postage-paid return label as well as a crisp, new padded envelope to send everything back in. Even in high school I couldn’t keep my books. I had to pass them onto my younger sister in an effort to save the family some money. In college I returned my textbooks to pay the phone bill. You could say I’ve never been comfortable with book ownership.

But! But. But, when it comes to gift certificates to book stores I make exceptions. I make exceptions, but there are rules. I can keep books I will use over and over again (like cookbooks). I can keep books I consider educational, something I can learn from each and every time I pick it up (think reference).

The book I purchased with my gift certificate exemplifies both attributes of my exceptions: Clean Food is a cookbook and a reference book. It goes beyond vegetarian eating. Probably the best thing about Clean Food is that it will put an end to struggling to use all the produce we get from the farm share. Every year it’s the same thing – what do you do with 15lbs of bok choy? There’s only so much stir fry one can eat!

March ’11 was…

What can I say about March? The snow is (finally, finally) beginning to melt and kisa and I are starting to think spring even though it’s still cold, cold, cold and more snow is expected for tomorrow. We made some pretty sobering decisions. No huge projects for Hilltop and no expensive vacations. We’re taking a year off from spending. It’s a good choice, I think, given all the work drama we both have been through recently. Family life is starting to even out. For awhile I wasn’t feeling the proverbial pressures, but then again I had been shutting my phone off at night! March was also a Natalie night with the best company a girl could ever have.  Here’s the list for March books:

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ~ in honor of Book Month. I had forgotten about all the sighing and sobbing! *sigh*
  • Blind Descent by Nevada Barr ~ in honor of Barr’s birth month. I will never look at cave exploring the same way again!
  • Flint by Paul Eddy ~ in honor of Eddy’s birth month.
  • The Bold Vegetarian: 150 Innovative International Recipes by Bharti Kirchner ~ in honor of March being “noodle month.” I kid you not.
  • Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings ~ in honor of Florida becoming a state. This was made into a movie…interesting.
  • God’s Bits of Wood by Sembene Ousmane~ in honor of African American Writers Month.
  • Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks ~ in honor of March being family month. This was a behemoth to read – over 700 pages!
  • Raising Holy Hell by Bruce Olds ~ in honor of family month (read with Cloudsplitter because they were on the same topic).
  • Cosi fan Tutti by Michael Dibdin ~ in honor of March being Dibdin’s birth month.

Confessional: I skipped Famished Road by Ben Okri and added God’s Bits of Wood by Sembene Ousmane instead. Somehow I had forgotten that I had already tried that book a few years ago. It just wasn’t my thing. However, I did write a review for LibraryThing. I just wish I had remembered that before ordering it a second time. I hate making more work for librarians! Here’s what I said for LT:
The Famished Road by Ben Okri is all about spirits. Azaro is a child in Africa struggling between two worlds: that of the spiritual and that of the Earthly. His parents on Earth are well meaning, but poverty driven, people. the basic theme of Famished Road is the definitive difference and ultimate struggle between good and evil. Azaro’s personal struggle is with spirits that can only exist if Azaro is dead. Azaro’s father struggles with abuse and power. Starting as a boxer he soon delves into the world of politics to gain power. Madam Kato is a simple bartender who begins her part of the story by wanting more profit but as a result of greed, sinks lower and lower. Along with the ever-entwining magical realism is the drifting of morality.

Other books I read in March not on the BookLust list: Miss Timmins School  for Girls: a novel by Nayana Churrimbhoy ~ an Early Review book for LibraryThing. This was great! Definitely one of my favorite reads of the month. I also started reading Clean Food by Terry Walters and Now Eat This by Rocco Dispirito (reviews coming soon).

Bold Vegetarian

Kirchner, Bharti. The Bold Vegetarian: 150 Inspired International Recipes. New York: HarperPerennial, 1995.

A cookbook chock full of information beyond ho hum vegetarian recipes. Eggplant is listed in the index but you won’t find a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. Special recognition must be made to the word “international” in the subtitle because The Bold Vegetarian takes you on a culinary adventure around the world. Oh, the places you will go! In no particular order:

  • China
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • India (this is a given because Kirchner is a renowned author of Indian cookbooks).
  • Korea
  • France
  • Japan
  • Caribbean
  • Africa
  • Thailand
  • Greece
  • Middle East
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • United States, and because food is subject to the literal and cultural melting pot,
  • International (in other words, who knows where it originated!)

In addition to great recipes that sound different and exciting, Kirchner adds serving suggestions to create entire menus. She offers variations to make a dish vegan instead of vegetarian. She includes anecdotes, illustrations, and trivia to spice up the pages (pun intended). There are even a few notes for the Grow It At Home gardener. All recipes are simple to follow. Cooking directions are aided by a glossary of terms (just in case someone doesn’t know how to blanch, grill or simmer) and a “pantry” list although the term pantry is misleading because I would never consider storing ghee or feta in a traditional pantry. To say these are ingredients to have on hand would be a better way to phrase it. One other small detractor – no nutritional information. In this health-aware age knowing what you eat is all the rage, especially when it comes to foreign foods made from scratch.

Meals I am most looking forward to making:

  • Curry Gyozas (p 38),
  • Chipotle Chickpeas (p 150),
  • Plum Kuchen (p 254)

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Fiction for Foodies” (p 88). Even though this is a straight up cookbook Pearl mentioned it because the author, Bharti Kirchner, also wrote a fiction called Pastries: a Novel of Desserts and Discoveries (to be read later).

Nutrition for Life

Hark, Lisa. Nutrition for Life: the no-fad, no-nonsense approach to eating well and reaching your healthy weight. London: DK Publishing, 2005.

I would have preferred this book title have one small change – instead of “reaching your healthy weight” why not “maintaining your healthy weight.” Why does it have to be all about being fat? Why can’t it be about being healthy? But, aside from that small gripe this is a great book.

Nutrition for Life is overflowing with information. Even though the emphasis is on nutrition there is a whole chapter dedicated to weight management. It is more than an “eat this and not that” book.  The attempt is to make the reader more aware of the benefits of eating better by supplying information about the medicinal value of food, the difference between store-bought and farm-fresh, and the right foods for different age groups. Nutrition for Life also includes a diet directory. Every well-known diet (including famed Scarsdale, South Beach, and grapefruit diets) is explained with a section on how it works, how you do it, whether it is healthy or not and example of a day on the diet.

I appreciated the case studies of people with examples of special dietary needs. Putting a face to different health issues helped put the importance of food into perspective. The other thing that was great about Nutrition for Life was the photography. The pictures are extremely glossy and gorgeous.

September ’10 is…

September is the storm before the calm – literally since Earl is raging up the coast! School is back in session. A new hire is on the premises. Things are a little crazy right now. Here are how things look for books at the moment:

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre ~ in honor of the Cold War starting in September
  • Between Parent and Child by Haim G. Ginott ~ in honor of National Family Month
  • Where Big Foot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide by Robert Pyle ~ in honor of Bigfoot being spotted on September 16, 2007 in Pennsylvania (yay for the Northeast Sasquatch!)
  • Wild Life by Molly Gloss ~ a companion read to Where Big Foot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide.
  • Moo by Jane Smiley ~ in honor of school being back in session

I’m also in the process of reading a few food books and an Early Review book. More on all of that later.