Informative, pragmatic responses about what, why, and how we eat.

LET'S ASK MARION

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE POLITICS OF FOOD, NUTRITION, AND HEALTH

A noted nutritionist critiques the "industry-driven food environment."

Author and food columnist Nestle, emerita professor of food studies and public health at NYU, joins with environmental advocate Trueman in a broad consideration of food policy, consumption, and sustainability. “Food is political,” Nestle asserts, connecting issues such as obesity, hunger, food safety, and climate change to governmental food policy, industry lobbying, and inequality. Using a question-and-answer format, Trueman elicits Nestle’s responses on the relationship of food to illness, choice of one diet (low-carb, for example) over another, the need for supplements, and the benefits of fake meats. Nestle points out the difficulty of studying what people eat: The best that studies can do, she says, is to “show some kind of association or link between what you ate and the likelihood—your risk—of developing a disease. They cannot prove that what you ate caused a disease.” As for trendy diets, she advocates eating in moderation, choosing plants over meats, and avoiding the supersized portions that the food industry promotes. She admits “discomfort about using ‘addiction’ to describe loving relationships to food. We can’t live without eating. Food is delicious.” Marketing, not scientific evidence, has created a demand for supplements and so-called “superfoods.” Although she has tried manufactured foods, Nestle questions their processed ingredients and finds “technological approaches, no matter how entertaining or potentially useful,” a distraction from addressing problems inherent in the food industry. Decrying the lack of a “committed food safety culture” that would prevent food-borne illnesses, Nestle notes that in the U.S., responsibility for food policies is fragmented among too many agencies, making progress and oversight impossible. Because food advocacy is a global issue, she urges readers to become involved: “pick the problem you want to address, find a group working on that issue, and join it.”

Informative, pragmatic responses about what, why, and how we eat.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-520-34323-8

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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BROKEN (IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY)

The Bloggess is back to survey the hazards and hilarity of imperfection.

Lawson is a wanderer. Whether on her award-winning blog or in the pages of her bestselling books, she reliably takes readers to places they weren’t even aware they wanted to go—e.g., shopping for dog condoms or witnessing what appears to be a satanic ritual. Longtime fans of the author’s prose know that the destinations really aren’t the point; it’s the laugh-out-loud, tears-streaming-down-your-face journeys that make her writing so irresistible. This book is another solid collection of humorous musings on everyday life, or at least the life of a self-described “super introvert” who has a fantastic imagination and dozens of chosen spirit animals. While Furiously Happy centered on the idea of making good mental health days exceptionally good, her latest celebrates the notion that being broken is beautiful—or at least nothing to be ashamed of. “I have managed to fuck shit up in shockingly impressive ways and still be considered a fairly acceptable person,” writes Lawson, who has made something of an art form out of awkward confessionals. For example, she chronicles a mix-up at the post office that left her with a “big ol’ sack filled with a dozen small squishy penises [with] smiley faces painted on them.” It’s not all laughs, though, as the author addresses her ongoing battle with both physical and mental illness, including a trial of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a relatively new therapy for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The author’s colloquial narrative style may not suit the linear-narrative crowd, but this isn’t for them. “What we really want,” she writes, “is to know we’re not alone in our terribleness….Human foibles are what make us us, and the art of mortification is what brings us all together.” The material is fresh, but the scaffolding is the same.

Fans will find comfort in Lawson’s dependably winning mix of shameless irreverence, wicked humor, and vulnerability.

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-07703-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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A PROMISED LAND

In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House.

In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and “getting loaded,” his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. (“As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless,” he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama’s early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, “By nature I’m a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low.” The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race—not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with “potent disruptor” Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic “birther” campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build “a beautiful ballroom” on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then “clawing [his] way back to power.” Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama’s cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured—surely a topic he’ll expand on in the next volume.

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6316-9

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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