A fascinating and gender friendly discourse on the ups and downs of the male libido.

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WHY MEN FAKE IT

THE TOTALLY UNEXPECTED TRUTH ABOUT MEN AND SEX

Are most men predominantly defined by penis size and sexual prowess? A seasoned sex doctor clears the air.

Morgentaler (Urology/Harvard Medical School; Testosterone for Life: Recharge Your Vitality, Sex Drive, Muscle Mass, and Overall Health, 2008) believes male sexuality is a subject few people ponder and still more seem unconcerned about. Mired in misconceptions, the subjects of sex and masculinity can be heady reading material, but the author simplifies these outwardly complicated truths into a four-part study exploring orgasms, gender development (the author describes his surgery on a hermaphrodite), erectile abilities and challenges, and a quite humorous closer on the prominence of penis size. His engaging study of the intricacies and nuances of the male sex is greatly personified with pages of case studies and personal profiles. After arguing that testosterone levels do indeed impact a man’s energy levels but are not the sole catalyst for determining how good a husband and father a man will be, he addresses crucial issues such as performance anxiety and male image perception. He also doesn’t shy away from the knotty topics of transgenderism and asexuality. In a knowledgeable, sophisticated voice, Morgentaler notes that his clinical research has not only enlightened and improved countless men’s lives, but it’s enriched his own understanding of the male species. While empirical evidence shows that some men do indeed fake orgasms, there’s also proof that in their quest to be “great partners,” they’ve only acted in their “own interest in order to keep [the] relationship going.”

A fascinating and gender friendly discourse on the ups and downs of the male libido.

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0805094244

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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