WHAT I READ IN MARCH:
The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict by William Leith. I read a lot of memoirs. Lately, I read a lot of weight loss memoirs. We are all going through the same shit, but we all get something different out of it. Leith is a journalist, so his way of dealing with his weight problem was to go right to the source: he interviewed weight loss experts like doctors, and, in particular, Dr. Atkins. Turns out that the Atkins diet is not at all what I had been told – and it did not kill Dr. Atkins. This book got me thinking and that thinking snowballed into research and that research resulted in a new battleplan for my own weight loss.
Sikh Spiritual Practice: The Sound Way to God by Siri Kirpal Kaur Khalsa. I have been fascinated by Sikhism for some time, but since I became hooked on Jus Reign’s YouTube videos I decided to actually learn something about it. Officially my new favorite religion of all time, this dharma is rooted in radical equality. Men and women are equal, all castes are equal. The turbans that they wear are symbolic crowns and the names they take were traditionally reserved for royalty. In Sikhism, we are all princes and princesses. Sikhs believe in pacifism – unless someone (or a group) is being oppressed or forced to convert their religion. Then, they are duty bound to intervene – even physically fighting if necessary. But to get back to this book in particular: I enjoyed it, but it was a little uncomfortable from time to time when the author got off topic and began interjecting 70’s American hippy stuff.
Psychology Today: Breaking the Bonds of Food Addiction by Susan McQuillan. I would recommend this for someone who is new to the concept of food addiction. I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know, but I have read dozens of books on this subject. This book is thorough and scientifically sound and would save a lot of time spent reading a lot of other books to get the same information.
Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. I have followed the Minimalist’s blog for about a year now. They give sound, personally-tested advice that is simple and common-sense. This short volume is essentially their mission statement.
Rooms by Lauren Oliver. A ghost story written from the POV of the ghosts. (Although, unlike in The Turn of the Screw, they know they’re ghosts.) Not a short book, but you’ll devour it in no time because it is so well-written and engaging.
Why Can’t I Stop Eating: Recognizing, Understanding, and Overcoming Food Addiction by Debbie Danowski and Pedro Lazaro. Again, I read a lot of books about weight loss and food addiction, so much of the scientific information in this book wasn’t news to me (although I can say with some authority that it wasn’t wrong). This is the first book on the subject that I have read that gives a specific food plan, though. In the late chapters there is a complete, balanced, eat-this-for-the-rest-of-your-life recovery diet which the authors urge you to treat as your medicine.
Friendswood by René Steinke. Not a good book to read when you are down. It won’t cheer you up. Marvelously well-written, though. From page one there is such atmosphere: what a pretty town – wouldn’t you love to live here? But also, foreboding in the air like an approaching storm, religious zealotry blinding people to the ineffectiveness of their own actions, horrible secrets in every other heart, and at the center of it all, a poorly-closed EPA superfund site like a giant cancerous lesion, leaching evil and sickness into every lovely happy home around it. Also, this book has one of the best goddamn covers I’ve ever seen.
How to Create the Perfect Wife: Britain’s Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate by Wendy Moore. I was a whole chapter into this book before I realized it was nonfiction. This guy really picked up two 12 year-old girls and attempted to train them into his perfect mate – which would have been crazy enough if he hadn’t had exceptionally specific and fairly oxymoronic specifications.
Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too) by Theo Pauline Nestor. This is intended for memoir writers, but I feel like the exercises at the end of each chapter would be helpful for any writer. A lot of your material is going to come from within and this book focuses on mining the hard-to-reach stuff. The stuff you don’t want to touch. The stuff you don’t want anyone to see. I got my copy at the library but if I ran across a copy at a bookstore I would definitely pick it up and I would read it again and do all the exercises.
The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss by Arthur Agatston. I skimmed this for the information I needed to do the plan. I didn’t need to read all the chapters on basic nutrition and the trouble with simple carbohydrates. Contrary to what random strangers have insisted on telling me (without having read the book themselves) this is not another Atkins, and it is not a never-eat-bread again nightmare diet that will kill you. This is a glycemic index diet originally intended to help Dr. Agatston’s cardiology patients get off the fast track to diabetes. I never thought I would defend (let alone try) a name-brand diet, but there you have it. The science is sound.
How to Make Almost Any Diet Work: Repair Your Disordered Appetite and Finally Lose Weight by Anne Katherine. I didn’t make it through Chapter One of this bad boy. I can see how it would be perfect for someone else, though. But it had too many charts and graphs and tests for me (and that is saying something). For some, though, this level of engagement would be just the ticket – giving you a real feeling of knowledge of and control over your eating problems.
The Sikhs by Patwant Singh. I wanted another book about what the Sikhs believe and how they practice their religion day-to-day, but this was a history book. And not my kind – the one-battle-after-another kind of history book. I’m sorry to say I couldn’t hack it.
Vegan with a Vengeance, 10th Anniversary Edition: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. OMFG. I never thought I’d find a vegan cookbook that made me feel like this. I want to eat it all!
The South Beach Diet Super Quick Cookbook: 175 Delicious Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less by Arthur Agatston. Not bad. I would have preferred the original cookbook but the library doesn’t have it anymore. I did find a handful of lunch recipes to try.
The South Beach Diet Cookbook: More than 200 Delicious Recipes That Fit the Nation’s Top Diet by Arthur Agatston. Found this at the thrift store. Also not bad. I photocopied three recipes (which is about average for me).
Glycemic Index Cooking Made Easy: Lose Weight, Eat Well, and Boost Your Energy Levels Using Low GI Foods by Jennie Brand-Miller. I also got this at the thrift store. I liked it. I photocopied four recipes.
The Sugar Solution Cookbook: More Than 200 Delicious Recipes to Balance Your Blood Sugar Naturally by Ann Fittante, Prevention Magazine. These recipes weren’t terribly inspiring. Lots of very diet-y stuff and things I didn’t think I could get Matt to eat. I did photocopy one recipe.
Better Homes & Gardens Diabetic Living Cookbook. I can’t believe I didn’t find anything to photocopy in here. I love Better Homes & Gardens. But these recipes weren’t quite what I was looking for on the South Beach Diet.
Prevention’s The Diabetes DTour Diet. Meh. Same issue as above.
Cut the Carbs: 100 Recipes to Help You Ditch White Carbs and Feel Great by Tori Haschka. Now we’re talkin’! So much delicious-looking food! I photocopied half the book.