A focused, goal-oriented handbook for young pro-sports hopefuls.

Dark Secrets

CHOOSING YOUR CHILD'S SPORTS COACH

A competitive runner’s instruction manual for young athletes and their parents.

Internationally ranked runner and professional sports advisor Reid, in her debut, presents an upbeat, thoroughly detailed guide for parents who dream of shepherding their children into the world of professional sports—or who already have a child entering that world. Using charts, photos and inspirational quotes, Reid takes her readers through the basics of body growth, nutrition and training practices. She also provides an insider’s look at the process of developing a varied training regimen, maintaining a positive outlook (she points out that most of the worst obstacles a young athlete may face will be mental, not physical), creating a well-balanced diet, and, as the book’s title indicates, researching and selecting the right coach. As a complement to coach selection, she also provides parents with a knowledgeable guide to the various illegal performance-enhancing substances that haunt the professional sports world; the dangers and side effects of steroids, stimulants, diuretics and others are given a complete rundown. The brief book also provides common-sense instructions for more advanced athletes who face the prospect of hiring professional managers. The book’s tone is optimistic and avowedly Christian throughout (many section headings are biblical quotations), and its focus is highly specialized: Reid admits that her book was “written to encourage you as parents in how to support and guide your upcoming superstar athletes,” and the book shows little interest in young athletes who don’t aspire to “an Olympic or a professional career.” Some parents may object to Reid’s assertion that “without competition, there wouldn’t be sports,” or her declaration that “winning is about an athlete asserting superiority in an event—demonstrating it, publicly.” That said, even parents who primarily want their children to enjoy sports, rather than single-mindedly focus on them, will likely find a wealth of useful information in these pages.

A focused, goal-oriented handbook for young pro-sports hopefuls.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 9781481755900

Page Count: 172

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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More thought-provoking work from an important creator.

THE SECRET TO SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH

The acclaimed graphic memoirist returns to themes of self-discovery, this time through the lens of her love of fitness and exercise.

Some readers may expect Bechdel to be satisfied with her career. She was the 2014 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, and her bestselling memoirs, Fun Home and Are You My Mother? both earned universally rave reviews, with the former inspiring a Broadway musical that won five Tony awards. But there she was, in her mid-50s, suffering from “a distinct sense of dread” and asking herself, “where had my creative joy gone?” Ultimately, she found what she was seeking, or at least expanded her search. In what she calls “the fitness book,” the author recounts, from her birth to the present, the exercise fads that have swept the nation for decades, from the guru-worship of Charles Atlas and Jack LaLanne through running, biking, hiking, “feminist martial arts,” yoga, and mountain climbing. “I have hared off after almost every new fitness fad to come down the pike for the last six decades,” she writes. Yet this book is about more than just exercise. Bechdel’s work always encompasses multiple interlocking themes, and here she delves into body image; her emerging gay consciousness; the connection between nature and inner meaning; how the transcendentalists were a version of the hippies a century earlier; and how her own pilgrimage is reminiscent of both Margaret Fuller and Jack Kerouac, whose stories become inextricably entwined in these pages with Bechdel’s. The author’s probing intelligence and self-deprecating humor continue to shimmer through her emotionally expressive drawings, but there is so much going on (familial, professional, romantic, cultural, spiritual) that it is easy to see how she became overwhelmed—and how she had to learn to accept the looming mortality that awaits us all. In the end, she decided to “stop struggling,” a decision that will relieve readers as well.

More thought-provoking work from an important creator.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-544-38765-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.

THE MEATEATER GUIDE TO WILDERNESS SKILLS AND SURVIVAL

The bad news: On any given outdoor expedition, you are your own worst enemy. The good news: If you are prepared, which this book helps you achieve, you might just live through it.

As MeatEater host and experienced outdoorsman Rinella notes, there are countless dangers attendant in going into mountains, woods, or deserts; he quotes journalist Wes Siler: “People have always managed to find stupid ways to die.” Avoiding stupid mistakes is the overarching point of Rinella’s latest book, full of provocative and helpful advice. One stupid way to die is not to have the proper equipment. There’s a complication built into the question, given that when humping gear into the outdoors, weight is always an issue. The author’s answer? “Build your gear list by prioritizing safety.” That entails having some means of communication, water, food, and shelter foremost and then adding on “extra shit.” As to that, he notes gravely, “a National Park Service geologist recently estimated that as much as 215,000 pounds of feces has been tossed haphazardly into crevasses along the climbing route on Denali National Park’s Kahiltna Glacier, where climbers melt snow for drinking water.” Ingesting fecal matter is a quick route to sickness, and Rinella adds, there are plenty of outdoorspeople who have no idea of how to keep their bodily wastes from ruining the scenery or poisoning the water supply. Throughout, the author provides precise information about wilderness first aid, ranging from irrigating wounds to applying arterial pressure to keeping someone experiencing a heart attack (a common event outdoors, given that so many people overexert without previous conditioning) alive. Some takeaways: Keep your crotch dry, don’t pitch a tent under a dead tree limb, walk side-hill across mountains, and “do not enter a marsh or swamp in flip-flops, and think twice before entering in strap-on sandals such as Tevas or Chacos.”

A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12969-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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