Actor Lopez expands his cookbook series to encompass families.

A new father, the author shares sage advice for parents about the importance of diet and nutritional awareness for their children. While his first book, Extra Lean, focused on balancing carbohydrates, fats, proteins and portion size, here Lopez introduces more mindful food choices via a three-part regimen of understanding, preparing and applying his lean-family principles to everyday life. Other sections describe how food influences metabolism and why carbohydrates are so addictive, and the author stresses the importance of Omega acids, fiber, water intake and keeping a food journal. Lopez’s comprehensive five-week meal plan includes a grocery list, time-saving tips and food suggestions heavy on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Big-dish dinners include Spicy Turkey Chili, “Paella-Style” Chicken and Rice and Bacon and Cheddar Macaroni Casserole—all healthfully reinvented. Curry-Roasted Shrimp with Cashew Couscous, Ginger-Garlic Shrimp and Chili-Rubbed Pork Chops tempt with the robust flavors of cumin, curry and lime juice. For the blander palate, recipes for Homemade Fish Sticks made with cod and cornflakes, omelets and turkey meatloaf are offered alongside several realistic dessert recipes—e.g., premium ice cream is encouraged for sundaes, just limit the portion size. Outside of graphs and nutrient charts, the visuals are not the book’s strong point. Mundane photos of baby carrots, eggs and sliced bread hardly complement Lopez’s stock, stiffly posed photographs. However, the author effectively demonstrates how parents can effectively coach their children about healthy snacks, vitamins and how to “dejunk” life. A must-have for Lopez fans, but this one’s written for families who want better control over the dining-room table.


Pub Date: May 3, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23412-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celebra/Penguin

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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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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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. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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