Tuesday, July 20, 2010

yeah life sucks, but it could be worse.

The Rational Optimist, is just the type of book America needs right now. Our economy is a disaster. Apparently the world is coming to an end, again. Celebrities are getting more mug shots than paparazzi shots. For those of you who are thinking that our country is pretty shitty right now, Matt Ridley has come to save the day. No he cannot make America un-shitty, but his new book will fill you with a bit of hope.

Attitude is everything. What Ridley is trying to say is yeah the world sucks right now, but it could be worse. Men could have to plow fields and ride in a horse and buggy to pick up supplies 100 miles away. Women could be forced to wear a corset, white gloves and save themselves for marriage, and we wouldn't want to go back to those times would we? No way man. Ridley touches on the current issues in our country - just like the media. The difference is, he doesn't make you want to slit your wrists afterwards. He brings in actual evidence to show us that the bad, may not be as bad as we think.

Since we have conquered the past trials and tribulations, Ridley believes we will conquer these hard times as well. Feeling optimistic is way better than feeling pessimistic, so stop being a downer and join us.

Monday, July 19, 2010

scientific weightloss.

When I try to drop a few pounds, I would love to feel as though I am not trying. Wouldn't that be fabulous? No sugar-craving induced headaches, no hunger pains? If that was the way shedding pounds made me feel, I would be skinny. Duh. In the real world - losing weight is not comfortable at first. It's something your body can get used too, but the detox process is painful. Chocolate withdrawl feels like heroine withdrawl.

Louise J. Aronne, M. D. came up with The Skinny - On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry because he noticed that a "lack of fullness" made it difficult for people to stick to their weight loss goals (go figure). He gives readers a look into a life of weight loss bliss without grumbling tummy's.

Since you are not starving yourself, you can't expect crazy celebrity style weight loss. Aronne is after a practical approach so that you can keep up with this change for life. I can't tell you that I have followed this book and it was magical, but I can tell you that I have read a lot of diet books, and am impressed with how realistic this one is.

For a chance to win a copy of this book, e-mail your name, address and this book title to: jenileerose@yahoo.com!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

touchy issues, important themes.

The setting of Island Beneath the Sea is Haiti. Perfect timing right? I think it is really important for Americans to learn about other countries and their cultures. Haiti became so popular because of the earthquake, but what about before? We should be aware of our surroundings, and Haiti is definitely close enough to be considered a surrounding.

Isabel Allende takes us on a journey into the life of a Haitian slave during a bloody revolution at the end of the 18th century. Zarité (our heroine, known as Teté) bares two of her plantation master's (Toulouse Valmorain) children. Allende's descriptions of how slaves were treated will undoubtedly effect you. Yet, despite the constant abuse, Teté will not give up hope that her destiny includes more than her life as a slave. She is a strong and beautiful character. She is wonderfully supported by Tante Rose, the local voodoo and healer leader, the freedom fighters (including Tetés lover, Gambo) and Parmentier, the local white doctor. Together these fictional characters develop in a compelling story filled with facts on the religion and culture of Haiti.

It's not easy to make a book filled with such an uncomfortable subject matter entertaining, but Allende pulled it off.

little house on the prairie, bitch.

Little House on the Prairie was before my time, but I used to watch the re-runs with my mom as a little girl and I would want to cut that stupid Nellie Oleson. Actress Alison Arngrim played this less than lovely character, and recently came out with a memoir brilliantly titled, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated. She writes about her childhood in hollywood - her life before Little House, and her life since. God, I hated that little snot, (Nellie not Alison - Alison is actually quite lovely).

Playing Nellie helped Alison grow into the (REALLY) funny and accomplished woman she is today. Nellie was out of control, which means Alison could be out of control. She was encouraged to completely freak out, which she used as an outlet for her struggles while growing up. I never thought of her as a role model, but she is. Alison is a survivor and more of an inspiration than you might think. Her memoir also includes insights on her costars and what it was like to grow up on camera in the 1970's. She is candid, interesting, touching and completely hilarious - how she manages to be all of those things? I have no idea.

But, I do know that I am really glad I took the time to get to know the real Alison Arngrim.

*For a chance to win a copy of this book, e-mail your name, address and this book title to: jenileerose@yahoo.com!

resource into women's bodies (not in a dirty way)

Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing by Christine Northrup, M.D. is an excellent reference for ALL women. This book came out last month, but it was first published in 1994. It is a revised and updated version, which is great because a lot has happened in the medical field in the past fifteen years.

There is a lot of focus on how mental health can effect physical health. I completely agree with this concept. Your brain is the center control of everything, it makes sense that your mind set can have positive and negative effects on your body. This is just one of the many examples included, there are real life stories about actual women going through what Northrup is trying to show us. She covers sexuality, spirituality, birth, vitamins, and life saving facts that every woman should know.

I think the main idea of this resource is to make you stop and think. Think about yourself, your body, and your health. Many women put themselves on the back burner because of jobs, family and other relationships. Your family and friends will enjoy you more when you are healthy and less stressed about your health. Think about it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

medical history.

Set in 1941 (through 1944) following the attack on Pearl Harbor, A Fierce Radiance is a story of historical fact and fiction. Author Lauren Belfer takes us along on an exciting adventure, filled with love, war, hope and loss. The fiction is the story of beautiful heroine, Claire Shipley. The fact involves WWII and the medical breakthrough of penicillin.

Claire is a photojournalist who is sent to cover an extremely important story on a potentially life-saving new drug (penicillin). She lives in New York as a single mother to son, Charlie. Claire's daughter Emily died as a young girl from a mere knee scrape which resulted in a blood infection. This story is personal for Claire, penicillin would have saved her daughter, and can save soldiers who are dying everyday from the same infection. She is tough and determined on and off the field. There is a love story between her and researcher Dr. James Stanton, but its the history of the medicine that keeps the pages turning.

Those of you who are well versed in 1940's wartime will notice that Belfer's research is flawless. Her writing is so visual, I can already imagine it on the big screen.

a FLAWLESS cookbook.

Yes, popular chef Spike Mendelsohn's The Good Stuff Cookbook, is flawless, but I cannot say that it is good for your waistline. Health nuts, don't shy away. Food this good should not be 100% off limits.

Burger lovers? This book was made for you. After learning about Spike's restaurant in Washington, D.C. - I plan to visit when I head down that way at the end of the month. Apparently the fare from Good Stuff Eatery is shockingly similar to the recipes in this cookbook. If that's the case, I may need to relocate. The food is AMAZING in this book, so you can imagine how well it can turn out when I am not the one doing the cooking.

Spike is not the type of chef that keeps his secrets hidden. You are able to create exact replicas of the dishes in the cookbook, the same as he makes in his restaurant. My recommendations? The Toasted Marshmallow Shake (if it was physically possible to make love to a cold beverage, this would be the one) and Spike's Village Fries. Enjoy this comfort food!


god, david beckham is sexy.

When I think soccer, I think David Beckham. Yum. Whoever designed the cover of Soccer and Philosophy, edited by Ted Richards is an absolute genius. David Beckham's flawless profile on the cover? Yes, please! Those of you who are unaffected by this beautiful man, (and are clearly blind) may love soccer for other reasons. Soccer and Philosophy: Beautiful Thoughts on the Beautiful Game is unlike any soccer book you have experienced.

Many of you sports lovers do consider sports to be philosophical. I never fully understood that mindset because I have a problem taking anything seriously, especially sports. I can get as wrapped up in a sporting event as the next person, but at the end of the day, I don't really care. As an outsider sitting on the sidelines, I can feel the emotion of the players and the coaches at the time, but it doesn't stay with me long after my exit.

After reading this book (many different authors contributed), I began to understand the real meaning behind not only the game of soccer, but any sport. You can relate the passages to your favorite sport by changing the referee into and umpire, or whatever suits you. Being a fan is something everyone can relate too, and feeling passionate about something is universal. It's a lovely read, and you will feel about 18% smarter after you finish.

Monday, July 12, 2010

short stories! yay!

I have mentioned time and time again, my love for collections of short stories. What's not to love? Tracy Winn links ten amazing short stories in her debut collection Mrs. Somebody Somebody.

The ten stories are all set in Lowell, Massachusetts from 1947 to present. Characters have their respectable story lines, yet someone Winn manages to link them in a way that flows rather than confuses. The title goes along with our first set of characters, friends Stella and Lucy who are living in Lowell in 1947. Stella is pretty hardcore on her quest to find a husband. There's the story of a young doctor's son named Franklin who lives a life you would not expect. Winn goes deeper into the life of this boys family in another story as well. Some characters connect more than others, and you see the comedy and tragedy in this small town as if you are a fly on the wall.

In this collection, you will love the first story just as much as the last. Winn did such an amazing job throughout.

perfect vacation series.

I have been on vacation for the past 8 days; one of those 'sitting around in the sun and reading' types of vacations - the best kind. Not only am I really brown, I also had the chance to read the first two books in The Bride Quartet series that I mentioned a few weeks ago. Remember? I read the third book first without realizing it was a series? Nora Roberts? Okay, now that we are on the same page...

Vision in White and Bed of Roses were just as fabulous, maybe even more fabulous than Savor the Moment. I love the characters Roberts created in Mac and Emma. The story line behind this series is just too good to not repeat. So here's the background again: Four best friends own a wedding planning company in Connecticut, named Vows. Mac is the photographer (first book), Emma is the florist (second book), Laurel is the cake maker (third book) and the fourth book comes out later this year which stars Parker, the planner. I am so excited about this book because learning about Parker through the other books has made me love her already.

The stories are about how each individual woman finds the man she will spend the rest of her life with. Perfect summer vacation lazy reading, and you can't not appreciate Roberts' sex scenes. I think that every women's goal in life should be to find the man that you have book-sex with, you know what I mean, the kind of sex you only read about in books. And once you find him, marry him right away.

history comes to life.

History is interesting. No matter who you are, no matter what you're interests include. There is a history behind every hobby, every culture, and every religion. Even if you are not an intellect, there has got to be a part of you that wants to know the history behind what intrigues you, right? Right. Now think ART history. I'd say you'd have to be crazy not to be interested in this subject, but let's be serious. Art history is rather boring to someone who is not interested in art, or the history of art. As someone who slept through most of her Western Art History class in the early years of undergrad, I am here to tell you that The Poet Prince is an exciting read.

In the third installment of Kathleen McGowan's The Magdalence Line series, we are transported to the Renaissance era. We are also transported to the present day, seeing as McGowan jumps back and forth through time throughout the book, which is a style I've always enjoyed.

Our main characters are Maureen Paschal and her lover, Bérenger Sinclair. Yet they share the spotlight with our other set of main characters, Lorenzo di'Medici and his love, Colombina (remember it's a back and forth narrating style, I think you can figure out who is the present and who is the past). It's like Modern Day Poet Prince vs. Renaissance Poet Prince. You'll see it all come together.

Throughout the story, the present digs up information about the past - allowing the readers to dig right along. I don't know about you, but I like to dig.

***For a chance to win a copy of this book - email your name, address and this book title to: jenileerose@yahoo.com!