THE ALCHEMY OF LOVE AND LUST

DISCOVERING OUR SEX HORMONES AND HOW THEY DETERMINE WHO WE LOVE, WHEN WE LOVE, AND HOW OFTEN WE LOVE

A spirited account of how hormones influence gender differences and sexual behaviors, along with advice on how to take control of these potent biochemical forces. A physician and sex therapist trained at the Masters and Johnson Institute, Crenshaw (Bedside Manners, 1983, etc.) is one teacher who knows how to make her chemistry lessons painless. She introduces the major players in colorful language: Estrogen is Marilyn Monroe, testosterone is the young Marlon Brando, serotonin is the resident schizophrenic. After a brief look at the sexual stages in the lives of men and women, she examines the role of hormones and other chemicals in shaping romantic feelings and actions. Many chapters open with an attention-grabbing sexual scenario, and numerous other explicit passages are interspersed throughout the text. A dozen or so sex-shaping substances are profiled, with charts providing a summary of each one's characteristics, functions, therapeutic uses, and the factors that raise or lower its level in the body. One of Crenshaw's key messages is that, thanks to the variations in the mix of this chemical brew coursing through their bloodstreams, men and women are different—biologically, sexually, and emotionally. Her other message is that, as human beings, we need not be the slaves of our chemistry. A sizable portion of the book is devoted to menopause and its male version, viropause, which she views as endocrine disorders to be treated by hormone replacement therapy whenever possible. Ever optimistic, Crenshaw concludes with some speculations based on current hormone research with animals. If she's right, there's a brave new world ahead, of longevity and sexual fitness for those who mind their chemistry lessons. Uninhibited, upbeat, and opinionated. (First serial to Cosmopolitan and Fitness; Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection; author tour)

Pub Date: March 19, 1996

ISBN: 0-399-14041-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A quirky wonder of a book.

WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

A STORY OF LOSS, LOVE, AND THE HIDDEN ORDER OF LIFE

A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.

Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.

A quirky wonder of a book.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6027-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

AN INVISIBLE THREAD

THE TRUE STORY OF AN 11-YEAR-OLD PANHANDLER, A BUSY SALES EXECUTIVE, AND AN UNLIKELY MEETING WITH DESTINY

A straightforward tale of kindness and paying it forward in 1980s New York.

When advertising executive Schroff answered a child’s request for spare change by inviting him for lunch, she did not expect the encounter to grow into a friendship that would endure into his adulthood. The author recounts how she and Maurice, a promising boy from a drug-addicted family, learned to trust each other. Schroff acknowledges risks—including the possibility of her actions being misconstrued and the tension of crossing socio-economic divides—but does not dwell on the complexities of homelessness or the philosophical problems of altruism. She does not question whether public recognition is beneficial, or whether it is sufficient for the recipient to realize the extent of what has been done. With the assistance of People human-interest writer Tresniowski (Tiger Virtues, 2005, etc.), Schroff adheres to a personal narrative that traces her troubled relationship with her father, her meetings with Maurice and his background, all while avoiding direct parallels, noting that their childhoods differed in severity even if they shared similar emotional voids. With feel-good dramatizations, the story seldom transcends the message that reaching out makes a difference. It is framed in simple terms, from attributing the first meeting to “two people with complicated pasts and fragile dreams” that were “somehow meant to be friends” to the conclusion that love is a driving force. Admirably, Schroff notes that she did not seek a role as a “substitute parent,” and she does not judge Maurice’s mother for her lifestyle. That both main figures experience a few setbacks yet eventually survive is never in question; the story fittingly concludes with an epilogue by Maurice. For readers seeking an uplifting reminder that small gestures matter.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4251-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more