Well-researched, occasionally dense explanations of women’s hormones and how they affect them on a regular basis.

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HORMONAL

THE HIDDEN INTELLIGENCE OF HORMONES—HOW THEY DRIVE DESIRE, SHAPE RELATIONSHIPS, INFLUENCE OUR CHOICES, AND MAKE US WISER

All the latest findings on women’s hormones and “a call to action for more information on…female brains and bodies.”

In this comprehensive analysis, Haselton (Psychology/UCLA; co-editor: Evolution and the Social Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and Social Cognition, 2007), who directs the Evolutionary Psychology Lab at UCLA, offers readers in-depth scrutiny of the many types of hormones women have and their effects during the menstrual cycle. She shows how women have high and low points during their monthly cycles and respond more enthusiastically toward men during their high periods and less favorably during their low. She compares the way hormones influenced women thousands of years ago and discusses how these same instincts often still apply when it comes to finding a mate. She also chronicles research techniques involved in the study of hormones, such as sniff tests to discover how women respond to the sweat scents found in men’s clothing and also how they react to other women’s scents during their high or low cycles. Essentially, this semitechnical treatise covers everything anyone could ever want to know about the hormonal cycles of women, from birth through puberty and the childbearing years and into menopause. “Every girl and woman benefits from understanding the scope of hormonal cycles, the hows, whens, and whys,” writes the author. “We should become familiar with the potential nudges that affect our behavior. And we should know that choosing to act on those behaviors is an individual choice, dependent upon our own preferences and goals. Being naïve to our hormonal natures will not help us. Being hormonally intelligent, on the other hand, will.” Haselton provides a useful tool for women in that quest to become better informed about a significant aspect of their lives.

Well-researched, occasionally dense explanations of women’s hormones and how they affect them on a regular basis.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-36921-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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