An authoritative, encyclopedic, and illuminating wellness manual.

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF HEALTH

HOW TO OPTIMIZE WELLNESS WITH A LIFESTYLE CHECKLIST

A physician offers a research-based guide to good health.

This debut by Speidel, a doctor, professor emeritus, and public health expert, is an all-encompassing manual that focuses on “the science that underlies a health-restoring, health-preserving lifestyle and warns against unproven claims.” In a straightforward, unadulterated manner, the author enumerates the “building blocks” of a healthy lifestyle; he covers virtually every aspect in 16 chapters that range from nutrition and weight control to mental health and the prevention of specific diseases. Speidel begins with a useful “Lifestyle Checklist,” describing the various elements of a healthy lifestyle and including a handy, literal checklist of beneficial behaviors, cross-referenced to the book’s subsequent chapters. Each chapter is remarkably comprehensive in scope and detail, providing a wealth of information as well as extensive references to current scientific studies and relevant sources. A nice touch that puts the guide on a more personal level is the occasional sidebar entitled “My Story,” in which Speidel writes anecdotally about some of his own health-related experiences. One good example of the high quality of the volume’s contents is “Optimal Nutrition,” a chapter so thorough that it could easily have been expanded into a separate book. Here, the author addresses the American diet; basic facts about food and nutrition; the risks associated with sugar, carbohydrates, and fats; cholesterol; types of diets and their positive/negative effects; nutrition labels; organic foods; gluten-free items; and more. Many studies are referenced and footnoted, and a “Summary of the essential facts” is appended to the end of this as well as other chapters. Whether it is material on the prevention of cardiovascular disease, the benefits of physical activity, or a look at environmental pollutants and toxins, Speidel takes the same care in clearly presenting unbiased information. He is painstaking and methodical in his coverage of each topic, backing up any claims with research studies; the author even helpfully includes a final chapter that explains how to understand scientific data. While some readers may find the research references overwhelming, most should welcome their veracity. Also notable: The work’s content is exceedingly current (including a section on Covid-19).

An authoritative, encyclopedic, and illuminating wellness manual.

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-952762-00-0

Page Count: 600

Publisher: JJ Webster Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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