Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review: Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health by Gary Taubes

Synopsis: For decades we have been taught that fat is bad for us, carbohydrates better, and that the key to a healthy weight is eating less and exercising more. Yet despite this advice, we have seen unprecedented epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Taubes argues that the problem lies in refined carbohydrates, like white flour, easily digested starches, and sugars, and that the key to good health is the kind of calories we take in, not the number. In this groundbreaking book, award-winning science writer Gary Taubes shows us that almost everything we believe about the nature of a healthy diet is wrong. (from the back of the book)
Review: Read this book! It will change how you veiw science, medicine, health, excerise - everything. It's dense, a textbook, really, and will take you time to get through. It took me almost 6 months.  A lay-man's version is called Why We Get Fat and What We Can Do About It by Taubes. It's on my list to read. Again, read. this. book. I can't stress that enough.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: Several

Date Finished: 9-25-2012
Pages: 609

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny

Synopsis: Drs. Patricia Love and Steven Stosny have studied this all-too-familiar dynamic between men and women and have reached a truly shocking conclusion. Even with the best of intentions, talking about your relationship doesn’t bring you together, and it will eventually drive you apart.

The reason for this is that underneath most couples’ fights, there is a biological difference at work. A woman’s vulnerability to fear and anxiety makes her draw closer, while a man’s subtle sensitivity to shame makes him pull away in response. This is why so many married couples fall into the archetypal roles of nagging wife/stonewalling husband, and why improving a marriage can’t happen through words.

How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It teaches couples how to get closer in ways that don’t require “trying to turn a man into a woman.” Rich in stories of couples who have turned their marriages around, and full of practical advice about the behaviors that make and break marriages, this essential guide will help couples find love beyond words. (from the back of the book)

Review: I read this at the instruction of a marriage counselor. It was enlightening, but not mind-blowing. I didn't agree with all of the advice, but the basic idea seemed true. And some of the advice has been useful. I would recommend as a resource to marriages in trouble, but not as a end-all-be-all fix. It will simply give one several good ideas, perhaps some useful tips. Personally, I found other books more helpful for my marriage. But each marriage is unique and this may speak to others in ways it did not speak to me.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-21-2012
Pages: 213

Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Synopsis: Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in a Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did - especially when the With of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often. As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes, Sophie stayed in her father's hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery. Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Water head-on. Which is more than Sophie bargained for....

Review: I saw the movie and had to read the book. The book is better, although I adored the movie. The book is almost a different story, different in there are more characters, a different ending, sub-plots, and even a different villain. However, being that I prefer books, I wasn't unhappy (although if I'd read the book then seen the movie, I would have been) with the book, merely enjoyed it for the delightful story that it was. I highly recommend. This would be an excellent book to read aloud to kids, or for anyone who enjoys a good mystery-romance-fantasy.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-18-2012
Pages: 329

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer

Synopsis: From the moment Captain Gervase Desborough, the new Earl of St. Erth, returns to his ancestral home, Drusilla Morville is instantly captivated by the handsome lord. But the independent-minded miss knows she is no match for the beautiful debutantes who will soon vie for the eligible earl's affections. Until his life is threatened. As the unwelcome heir to Stanyon Castle, Gervase knows that far more than a mere inheritance is at stake. But her never expects to be attacked by a mysterious assailant - or to be rescued by such an enchanting young woman. Little does the dashing lord realize that Drusilla has no intentions of letting any harm befall the man she secretly loves.

Review: I adored this book! Heyer was known for her Austen-esque writing and I can see why. The flavor, the words, the story, the characters, all have a lovely Austen tang. This is the fifth Heyer book I've read and all of them have been marvelous! I highly recommend to anyone who enjoy Austen or just a pleasing, satisfying romance.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-14-2012
Pages: 346

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: What Jamie Saw by Carolyn Coman

Synopsis: When Jamie saw him throw the baby, saw Van throw the little baby, saw Van throw his little sister Nin, then they moved. Nin's okay - Jamei know that because his mom was there to catch her. And then Jamie and his mom and Nin moved to Earl's little trailer in the middle of nowhere. They don't have a lot of money, and sometimes the car doesn't start, but Jamie has his mom and Nin and, most of all, his magic tricks. Things are fine....as long as no one gets too close.

Review: As a Newbery book, I had high hopes. But I admit I didn't get it. The book touches on deep themes, abuse, poverty, family and loss. But the resolution lacks something. Jamie and his mom confront Van, but nothing changes - no move to a better life, no lesson learned. It felt flat and loose. While this wasn't a bad book, it felt incomplete. I would be interested in other's opinion.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: Newbery Honor, 1996

Date Finished: 9-6-2012 
Pages: 126

Review: Georgina and the Dragon by Lee Kingman

Synopsis: Georgina was named after her great-grandmother who had helped to bring the vote to women in Idaho. When the government issued a stamp in honor of her famous ancestor, Georgine was invited to attend the official ceremonies.
Determined to earn her plan ticket, Georgine set out to find work. She soon discovered that boys had all the jobs. Undaunted, she went on to prove her enterprising a girl can be. From walking the enormous wolfhound no boy could handle to tackling the town's fiery-tempered old dragon lady, Georgina turned boy and girl roles upside down and started all sorts of hilarious happenings in her town!

Review: This was a delightful and amusing book. Georgina is just the sort of girl I'd want as a daughter; spunky, fiery, no brain-to-mouth filter and very tenacious. She managed, through her perseverance, to change the lives of those around her, for the better, including her own. I recommend this for young girls, 9-12, who like adventure and humor and who might feel they can't find their place in the world.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-5-2012
Pages: 84

Review: Plain Girl by Virginia Sorensen

Synopsis: Every day, every hour at school, Esther stood out like "one black bird against the sky" in her plain clothes. Esther was Amish, or a Plain Girl. It wasn't until she was almost ten years old that the Pennsylvania school authorities forced her father to send her to public school. The Amish, you see, believe in teaching their children at home, according to their own ways.
Esther's brother, Dan, had gone to public school - and, because of the different life he discovered there, he had run away from home. Dan felt that he, not his parents, should decided whether or not he would accept the Amish way of life.
Esther was secretly looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things at school that Dan had told her about. But like Dan, she knew that she, too, would be faced with a difficult choice.

Review: Sorensen's characters are well-rounded, and I enjoyed her details of Amish life. The conflict felt real and familiar and I think this would be an excellent book for young kids who find the beliefs taught at home different from the ones they learn at home, or those that feel different.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 09-03-2012
Pages: 151