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

Perfect Health the Taoist way

A COMPLETE REVERSE AGING AND REJUVENATION PROGRAM FOR VITALITY AND LONGEVITY

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...

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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