A reasoned approach to dieting, which readers may find helpful when deciding which snack to pick from a well-stocked pantry.


Authors Goodman and Neuman argue that fighting weight gain and the urge to overeat might be as easy as stuffing yourself with the right kinds of foods.

Cave-dwelling humans were probably relatively fit, say Goodman and Neuman, since they had no TV, couches or convenience stores to rely on for food. Rather, our ancestors ate simple things that most likely required little or no preparation, such as fruits, grains, fish protein and vegetables. Now, obesity is a nationwide epidemic, and cases of diabetes are on the rise, costing the United States millions of dollars each year in health care. In short, the authors say, Americans have become addicted to sugar and accustomed to eating everything put in front of them, then leaning too heavily on so-called “miracle” diet plans. According to Goodman and Neuman, rather than seek out basic health information, people are more likely to rely on starvation, calorie counting and extreme exercise to obtain the weight-loss results they crave. With a mix of humor, medical science and life experience, Goodman and Neuman make the argument that eating a balanced mix of filling yet reasonably caloric foods can help in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Plus, these positive eating habits can last a lifetime. The first step to reprogramming eating habits, the authors say, is to bulk up on things like soup, salad and fish—healthy, filling foods. Their diet recommendation may not be rocket science—most people know that eating foods that are good for you will also tend to help you maintain a reasonable weight—but the authors offer a convincing mix of psychology and plain common sense to augment the work. At times, their approach seems a bit harsh, as when noting that women tend to see themselves only for their perceived faults, though no one else notices their appearance to that degree. Although their approach and writing style may be a bit unconventional—“I think I should write this entire chapter in capital letters”—the authors provide an insightful take on what and how much to eat in our daily lives.

A reasoned approach to dieting, which readers may find helpful when deciding which snack to pick from a well-stocked pantry.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2012

ISBN: 978-1478119289

Page Count: 104

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

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


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.


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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