January with the King’s Men

January started with my first official appointment to a chiropractor. I mentioned elsewhere that he wasn’t really confident he could put me back together, but that’s there and not here. Not being able to run has given me more time to read…much more than I realized. You can get a lot done with an extra 4-5 hours a week! With that being said, here are the books:

Fiction:

  • Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright. This story stayed with me for a really long time.
  • Tea From an Empty Cup by Pat Cadigan. I think I was most disappointed by this one because I saw the ending a mile away.
  • On the Beach by Nevil Shute. I listened to this on audio and I still can’t stop thinking about it.
  • Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich. I read this one in a day.
  • Wake Up, Darlin’ Corey by M.K. Wren. Another really short book.
  • What Did It Mean? by Angela Thirkell. I gave up on this one after 120 pages. Boring!

Nonfiction:

  • Partisans: Marriage, Politics, and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals by David Laskin.
  • War Child by Emmanuel Jal. Probably the most raw and captivating story of the month. Read in a weekend.
  • Traveller’s Prelude by Freya Stark
  • Practicing History by Barbara Tuchman. No one does history like Barbara. (AB/print)
  • Last Cheater’s Waltz by Ellen Meloy. She has a wicked sense of humor.

Series continuations:

  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle by Dorothy Gilman. The last Pollifax mystery I will read.  Read in a day.

Early Reviews:

  • Brain Food: the Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Health by Lisa Mosconi. This took me a really long time to read. You may have seen it on other lists. There was just a lot to it.

 


Brain Food

Mosconi, Lisa. Brain Food: the Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power. New York: Avery, 2018.

Reason read: as a member of the Early Review Program for LibraryThing…

I admit it. I underline passages in my books. I mark them up, make notes in the margins, circle and highlight. With Mosconi’s Brain Food I was doing a lot of all of that. Pages upon pages were worthy of notation; simply chock full of interesting information. To say that I had several ah-ha moments is an understatement. Those moments were like finally figuring out how to get out of a maze; driving a tangle of street before you finally find a sign for the highway. Like listening to a foreign language and it’s all garbled until you hear that one word you can translate and then the entire sentence becomes clear. What Mosconi is trying to relate makes sense. There is just a lot to process.
But, here’s another element to Brain Food that I didn’t expect. Mosconi makes the information so compelling that you want to listen to it and what’s more, follow it. Case in point: how many times have you heard about the benefits of drinking more water? Me too. Except it never sunk in. No matter how many times I heard the about the science of staying hydrated, it never prompted me to fill the water bottle a second time. Something about Mosconi’s writing made me sit up and take notice. Something she said finally resonated with me. I may only fill the water bottle a second time, but that’s a start.
I think what makes Mosconi’s book different is her approach. The language is not snooty, doctor on high advice. Her tone isn’t didactic or preachy. She simply tells it like it is. She makes it personal and the information, approachable.
Bonus points for the quiz on dietary brain health and the recipes.


Waterlogged

Noakes, Tim. Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports. Campaign: Human Kinetics, 2012.

I have to start off by saying I had an acute interest in the subject of hydration in sports because I have a difficulty drinking enough fluids all the time and not just when I’m exercising. I am not an endurance athlete. I have never even run a marathon, but the question of just how much water should I be drinking has haunted me for years. You always hear the same old sermon, “drink more water.” Whatever your intake, double it. Triple it. That’s what I constantly heard. It was shocking to hear otherwise. Less is more in the world of sports. Who knew? But what Dr. Noakes has to say makes sense.

To carry around Waterlogged was a mini strength training routine in its own right. This is not a small manual on hydration rules for the ultra-marathoner. This is a extensively thought out, scrupulously researched, carefully documented and well written textbook on why over-hydration is not only a problem it is potentially deadly. Noakes outlines cases of athletes collapsing and dying from hyponatremia or water intoxication. He provides charts and graphs and scientific research to illustrate many different things including how water forces the balance of electrolytes and sodium out of balance and how this is potentially a bad thing; how is can be nearly impossible for the body to recover from. Noakes delves in to the murky world of marketing to illustrate how products like Gatorade are brainwashing our society to believe we cannot be athletes without them. While all the scientific data looks daunting readers shouldn’t be intimidated by it. Noakes uses a language that is straightforward and concise.

postscript: it took me a few weeks (and one very long flight) to read the July issue of Runners World so it wasn’t until after I wrote this review that I discovered a quote from Dr. Noakes and a mention of his book Waterlogged.


Oct ’10 is…

For the first time in a long time I am taking an October vacation. Wait. I don’t think I’ve ever really taken an October V A C A T I O N before. Maybe a long weekend around Columbus Day, yes. A real, honest to goodness, week off in October? No, I don’t think so. Finally, something good to look forward to… Here is the month in books:

  • Bonobo by Frans de Waal ~ in honor of de Waal being born in October and in honor of Animal Month
  • Poison Oracle by Peter Dickinson ~ in honor of special child month
  • Ways of Seeing by John Berger ~ in honor of National Art Appreciation month
  • Messiah by Gore Vidal ~ in honor of Vidal’s birth month
  • Woman: an intimate geography by Natalie Angier ~ in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month
  • The Ear, The Eye, The Arm by Nancy Farmer ~ in honor of National Fantasy Month

In addition I am still reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. The magic of this read is that I am savoring each and every word like it is the most expensive, the richest, most divine piece of chocolate I have ever tasted – simply because I don’t want it to end!


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.


fit + female

coopersmith, geralyn, b. fit +female: the perfect fitness and nutrition game plan for your unique body type. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2006.

Here’s what I liked best about the book:

Sense of humor: joking about having to get rid of her hydrostatic tank because it clashed with the couch.

Names for exercises are goofy: the Looky Looky for turning your head and looking to the right and left.

Informative: exercises are well illustrated; nutrition is carefully spelled out.

Unfortunately, the key to this whole book is figuring out your body type. Through a series of 32 questions you are supposed to figure out if you are:

  1. endo, eco or meso
  2. an apple or a pear
  3. advanced or beginner

In the end the key was, “if you answered mostly 4s you are endo,” “if you answered mostly Bs you are a pear” (as examples). After taking the test I knew only two out of the three categories. I am meso and advanced but I answered right down the middle for apple and pear qualifications so I’m either both or neither. I didn’t answer more one way than another. Frustrating. In all honesty I look like the chick on the cover, just 20 years older and with slightly smaller boobs. All in all, because I couldn’t definitively figure out my body type I couldn’t use the rest of the book.


August ’10 was…

August. The last gasp of summer before everyone starts thinking about back-to-school clothes, back-to-school school supplies and back-to-school attitudes. I know my college has already adopted the attitude now that the athletes and international students have started arriving on campus. August was quiet compared to July’s crazy traveling. But, for books it was:

  • The All-Girl Football Team by Lewis Nordan ~ Nordan is my emotional train wreck.
  • Zarafa: a Giraffes’s True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris by Michael Allin ~ in honor of Napoleon’s birth month even though Napoleon is a teeny part of the story
  • Zel by Donna Jo Napoli ~ the clever, psychological retelling of Rapunzel.
  • The Meaning of Everything: the Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester ~ in honor of National Language Month, but I didn’t finish it. Not even close.
  • Undaunted Courage by Simon Winchester ~ a really interesting account of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles ~ probably one of my all-time favorite books.

For LibraryThing and the Early Review Program: I started reading Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann. Review coming in September.

For fun I read:

  • fit = female: the perfect fitness and nutrition game plan for your unique body type by geralyn b. coopersmith ~ the cover of the book didn’t use capital letters so neither did i.
  • Nutrition for Life: The no-fad, no-nonsense approach to eating well and researching your healthy weight by Lisa Hark, Phd, RD & Darwin Deen, MD ~ this is a really, really informative book.