A suspect, although thought-provoking, alternative to Western-style wellness treatments that may contain the kernels of good...


Perfect Health the Taoist way


A modern-day proponent of ancient Taoism provides a regimen that aims to dramatically extend one’s life span.

Sun proposes that living to be over 200, or even obtaining outright immortality, is a possibility. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, and there are myriad concoctions to consume and rules to follow. But according to the author, all of the items one needs to brew a batch of Methuselah juice can be procured at the local Chinese market, while some of the practices intended to halt aging involve little more than a foot soak and a good night’s rest. After thousands of years, the wisdom of the Tao, which traces its origins back to China in the fourth century B.C., can hardly be disputed. However, the book’s particular take on the venerable philosophy and religion is open to scrutiny. The prose is clear and readable, but the tone can be strident. The text repeatedly and vociferously warns against the dangers of “coldness” since it can seep deep into the body and cause physical distress. Do not ever, the author cautions, sleep with the window open. The most suspect directives involve sex. Forget that being gay or lesbian is conflated with “many other known and unknown diseases,” according to the text, a straight couple shouldn’t even have sex underneath the stars. The preservation of one’s precious qi or life force, serves as the basis for these Taoist guidelines. Sadly, according to the author, one’s life essence is already half empty by the time 40 rolls around. On a further depressing note, avoiding additional “leakage” seems to be a lot harder than replenishing the tanks and keeping them fully topped off.

A suspect, although thought-provoking, alternative to Western-style wellness treatments that may contain the kernels of good advice. 

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481841207

Page Count: 240

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 25, 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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Authoritative and, most helpfully, accessible.



Self-help guide for diabetes sufferers, mostly in question-and-answer format, with an emphasis on helping racial and ethnic minority diabetics.

Coleman is a pharmacist with a doctorate in her specialty, Gavin a Ph.D. and M.D. Aside from acknowledgments and a foreword signed by Gavin alone, their voices and expertise are indistinguishable, offering lucid, simple solutions for diabetes patients. Gavin relates watching his great-grandmother endure debilitating pain as a result of diabetes while he visited her as a youngster. He remembers hearing adults mention that sugar killed her, and he wondered how something that tasted sweet could cause so much harm. As an adult, he realized that his great-grandmother's affliction could be controlled through treatment. The authors focus on Type 2 diabetes, the most common form in minority populations. An estimated 18.2 million Americans are diabetic, with perhaps 5 million unaware of their situation. About 11 percent of U.S. diabetics are African-American, and about 8 percent are Latino. The question-and-answer format begins with an overview section about diabetes, with an emphasis on risk factors. Section Two covers management of the disease, including nutrition, exercise, blood-testing, oral medications and insulin use. In addition, the authors continually recommend smoking cessation, as well as instructing patients on the readiness of self-treatment. Section Three explains the complications—high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease—that could arise if the condition remains untreated or treated ineffectively. The questions in all of the sections are worded simply, and the answers are usually free of medical jargon. Though the sudden shifts in tone and voice are occasionally jarring, the writing remains clear enough to distill the facts. The real downside here, though: patronizing, laughable illustrations that degrade the overall product.

Authoritative and, most helpfully, accessible.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2004

ISBN: 0-9746948-0-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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