A funny, intelligent and informative memoir.

YEAR OF NO SUGAR

A MEMOIR

A Vermont blogger mom’s delightfully readable account of how she and her family survived a yearlong sugar-free diet—and lived to tell the tale.

After Schaub watched a video of a professor of medicine that claimed sugar was “a poison” and suggested that American culture “was the modern-day equivalent of an opium den,” she was both horrified and intrigued. She knew that eating sugar in excess was unhealthy. But Schaub had no idea that sugar—and, specifically, its main ingredient, fructose—was at the heart of a worldwide obesity epidemic that was affecting infants as well as children and adults. Determined to help her family kick the sugar habit (or at least moderate it), the author challenged her husband and two young daughters to live without sugar for one year. What she and her family didn’t realize was that going truly sugarless would mean more than just giving up desserts. They quickly discovered that everything—from bread to soups to salad dressings—contained trace amounts of sugar, but Schaub and her family worked around the problem. They created recipes (a few of which the author shares) for meals made from whole foods and treats sweetened with fruits or dextrose, a sugar which contains no fructose. Over time, the author found that her family’s hyperfondness for sugar gradually faded and that she herself no longer enjoyed confections as much. In fact, she developed powerful, and unpleasant, sugar headaches that left her feeling irritable and lethargic. The most telling result of this experiment revealed itself in her children’s pattern of attendance. During the family’s year of no sugar, the girls’ illness-related absences from school dropped by 75 percent. Sugar may have become the cultural shortcut “to better taste, to more convenience and to ever-higher food industry profits,” but as Schaub suggests, the path to health and happiness is best traveled conscientiously rather than quickly.

A funny, intelligent and informative memoir.

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4022-9587-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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