Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy News

Coming soon from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers group: Don't Miss Your Life: An Uncommon Guide to Living With Freedom, Laughter and Grace by Charlene Ann Baumbich. Release date for Baumbich's latest book is June 2nd. She has a backlist of five star best sellers, but is new to this reader, so I'm very excited to be chosen to review her new book.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

All Clear

If the definition of courage is doing something that terrifies you, then I'm much braver than I ever thought - over something most people take for granted, so it doesn't count. Good news, I have a very pretty colon, as colons go, and I will not ruin your day by telling the ugly details of preparation. As a funny consequence, seeing the periodontist next week looks easy by comparison.

So the moral of these appointments? Eat your fiber and floss your teeth.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Even a Panda Sometimes Needs a Colonoscopy

Tai Shan at our National Zoo underwent a colonoscopy earlier this month. I shouldn't complain about a mere sigmoidoscopy, so I won't. I printed a picture of Tai Shan being brave to inspire me. This is the third time I have agreed to schedule this procedure, and I won't cancel this time. I won't, won't won't....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Alchemy of Stone - a review

Call it science fiction, steam punk, magical realism, fantasy or subversive feminist literature - whatever you call it, call The Alchemy of Stone good reading. The excellent and original quality of the story, the characters, the setting, the dialog would be enough to recommend this novel, but Ekaterina's deft handling of symbolism and fairy tale elements make it memorable, and a highly satisfying experience. This is a keeper.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Need a laugh? Baby Elephant Soccer

Our newest baby elephant at the Portland Zoo with his first ball.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fit at 50 and Beyond - a Review

My Early Reviewers copy of Fit at 50 and Beyond, extruding a dozen colorful markers, creased along its thin spine on the front cover, stained with juice on the lower edge and stocked with gritty black and white photographs of people over 50 exercising, is not a pretty book. It is the kind of book that one lives with, not the kind that sits unread on the coffee table.

The text, like the rest of the book, is plain, straightforward and lacking any kind of gimmicks. I love it. At just 168 pages, Fit at 50 and Beyond is an exercise book on a diet - all facts and no puffery. This is a book for people who think Ms. Senior America is someone special, and she does in fact appear in some of the pictures.

I have fifteen books tagged "diet" in my library, but this one is unique. Dr. Gloth is not selling anything - not a sports drink, or special exercise equipment (one picture is of a man lifting a chair - "chair curls" - hah!). He is not pushing expensive pre-packaged diet food or memberships in anything. I felt throughout the book as if I could trust him to give me the unvarnished scientific facts of diet and exercise. For example, some books I have claim that all calories are equal. Now I understand that is an over-simplified approach. Dr. Goth explains how carbohydrates, fats and protein are metabolized differently in the body, and how that affects weight gain or loss.

He also gives tips such as the best time of day to exercise and why, and what to eat after exercising and why. I was born asking "Why?" and I like it that Dr. Gloth's explanations are clear and concise.

Dr. Gloth, like a good coach, includes all the effective diet and exercise pointers I am aware of, some that I didn't know before, and doesn't waste my time with silly alternatives. I wish someone had given me this book when I turned 50! But as he points out, it is never too late.

The main part of the book is devoted to exercise, with pictures and tips on good form and not causing yourself injury. There are short and sensible chapters on healthy eating, what to do to prevent a lapse in your program or if you have a lapse, how to maintain diet and exercise when traveling, and more.

Thanks to Rudy Speckamp, C.M.C. this handy little book includes recipes from an award-winning chef, at the end of chapters like a treat for your progress, and a whole chapter of them later in the book.

If you or someone you know is turning 50, this book would be a useful gift, but it could help any adult design their own effective diet and exercise program.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Rough Guide to Happiness - arrived today

The Rough Guide to Happiness by Dr. Nick Baylis arrived today, courtesy of the LT Early Reviewers group. I knew I would love this book when I found a picture of a baby elephant on page one. (How did they know baby elephants make me happy?)

Now if I can only complete and implement the wisdom in my three recent LTER books, I can be fit, perfect-not, and happy. Or at least less unfit, happy with being not-perfect, and working on optimizing my life opportunities.

Reviews to follow soon. Very soon. Just as soon as I finish this book on how to stop procrastinating.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pursuing Perfect on audio CDs

The Pursuit of Perfect, an audio book, is more interesting than I expected it to be. Dr. Ben-Shahar alternates recent psychology findings with memorable vignettes from real life. I like the format because it helps me remember the principles of positive psychology, also called optimal living, better than studying abstract principles alone.

This is my first audio book, and it is a pleasure to not strain my eyes with reading. The windows CD player keeps track of my place on each CD, so I can stop in the middle of a CD and pick up at the right place again later.

Goldibear is listening to The Pursuit of Perfect each day also, so we can discuss the ideas in the book. I will review the book when we have finished all six of the Cds, in a week or so.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Pursuit of Perfect - arrived today

The Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. arrived today courtesy of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers group. It is in audio book format, seven hours on six CDs.

I am very excited about the opportunity to do this review. Dr. Ben-Shahar taught a course at Harvard University in the field of positive psychology, and has included exercises and meditations on the CD.