A well-researched, common-sense compendium on child-rearing.

A manual to help parents chill the f*ck out.

The title is at least partially tongue-in-cheek. Of course, you can screw up your children, but not due to all the minutiae you’re likely worrying about. Journalist, mother, and first-time author Powers, who was the founding editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Parenting and currently runs the #NoShameParenting movement, lists five things that can absolutely scar your children, including neglect and skipping vaccinations. After getting those out of the way, she tackles many of the issues that keep parents up at night: Breast or bottle? Cry it out or co-sleeping? Stay-at-home parent or day care? While the author doesn’t claim to be an expert on childhood development, her years of meticulous research and experiences as a mother have made her a connoisseur of parenting styles. She’s heard the arguments and seen the data, and she’s here to tell you that a great deal of what parents fret about doesn’t really matter in the long run. If you need to let your kids watch another episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood so you can get dinner on the table, that’s not going to change the overall trajectory of their lives—and speaking of dinner, quit worrying about picky eaters. Powers often uses wry humor to drive home her points—e.g., regarding birth plans: “Doesn’t matter if you have an epidural or not, a C-section or not, or even if you swab vaginal bacteria all over your newborn." Beyond surveying some of today’s hot child care topics, the author also discusses common questions that surface after the baby arrives. How much sex are other couples really having after kids? Can parents truly have it all? While a majority of the narrative deals with specific themes, Powers issues a general reminder that we live in a “hyperconnected” age in which “parents’ worst fears and neuroses are manipulated by a promise of perfection that’s unreal and unattainable.”

A well-researched, common-sense compendium on child-rearing.

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-1013-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020


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. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020


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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