A beautiful, highly specific guide to achieving better skin.


The Young Skin Diet


Lee (Living Luxe Gluten Free, 2015) combines extensive research, inspiring photos, and a build-your-own-meal approach to counter the effects of aging in this wellness book.

At first glance, this book’s many pages of research and explanations may appear excessive to readers who are just looking for a quick fix for aging skin. But Lee’s logic and analysis—combined with a personal history of tanning beds, sun worship, and polluted city air—are organized, entertaining, informative, and, in the end, convincing. She structures her book around “The Six Principles of Eating for Young Skin,” including “Anti-oxidation,” “Anti-inflammation,” “Pro-Collagen/Pro-Elastin,” “Pro-hydration,” “Anti-stress,” and “Non-allergenic.” The author cites studies, offers charts, graphs, and tables, and lays out a plan for skin improvement designed to provide measurable results, including “a 39% increase in skin microcirculation…9% increase in skin hydration…[and] 16% increase in skin density.” After establishing a sound, scientific, and general approach to better eating to support a healthier life (including eating more oats and drinking more tea), the book provides detailed recipes designed to make such changes in culinary habits seem attractive, necessary, and possible. She aligns “flavor ‘wants’ with…health needs” to provide structure and flexibility to her plan; her “Build Your Own” charts use core ingredients as bases for fast meals and offer numerous options to provide variety. A month’s worth of daily meal plans offers a place to start, and Lee divides further recipes into logical chapters (“Beverages,” “Lunches,” “Afternoon Snacks,” and so on). The recipes cleanly present lists of ingredients next to detailed instructions, professional photographs, and detailed nutritional information; “Science & Nutrition” extras follow with citations. Recipes such as “Procollagen Sweet Potato & Eggs” provide a level of detail that will be helpful to new cooks, but experienced cooks will easily find the recipes’ unusual elements and may even pick up a tip or two along the way. The final chapter of skin treatment recipes is truly the icing on the cake. Lee’s thoroughness and willingness to “dive into…studies and distill my answers from what the research tells me” mean that readers won’t have to do so.

A beautiful, highly specific guide to achieving better skin.

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9908817-2-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Salut Studio LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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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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