While not groundbreaking, this simple, short book may find an audience with readers looking for hope and a gentle push in a...

STOP THINKING ABOUT IT!

WINNING THE EMOTIONAL BATTLE SURROUNDING FOOD & WEIGHT LOSS

A wife and mother of six, Williams shares her struggles with food and dieting, and delivers her perspective on the sensitive topic of weight loss.

After struggling with her body image for much of her life, Williams felt compelled to share her deceptively simple secret for losing weight and keeping it off: just stop thinking about food. To be more specific, Williams insists readers can “stop dieting, stop worrying, and start living” by distracting their hungry minds with nonfood related thoughts. “Don’t think about food unless you are planning dinner, buying groceries, preparing a meal, or eating,” she advises. In order to “stop thinking about it,” Williams recommends specific distractions—ranging from clever to ridiculous—to help you step away from tempting foods like burgers and fries. Some suggestions are sane, even productive: call a friend or finish your chores to forgo ice cream. Others are bizarre, although someone very well could chop wood or “swing on a swing” to ignore a craving. Are Williams’ concepts revolutionary? Not at all, which she readily admits. If anything, readers will find the chapter on paying attention to physical cues obvious, and the overview of how to develop healthy habits is shallow. But, even though Williams’ techniques are nothing new, her unfailingly supportive tone complements the easy-to-follow program, while charming illustrations and relatable anecdotes freshen up the decidedly gloomy prospect of self-improvement. In the end, readers will feel like they’ve just had a pleasant chat with an honest, knowledgeable friend, instead of a lecture by yet another self-described diet expert.

While not groundbreaking, this simple, short book may find an audience with readers looking for hope and a gentle push in a healthy direction.

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-606-45073-4

Page Count: 98

Publisher: BookWise Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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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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