The Week In Books 2008: Number 10

Thanks to Crystal’s review, I decided to read Secrets to Getting More Done in Less Time by Donna Otto, and it did not disappoint. I used to be much more organized than I am now, with my life neatly catalogued in my day planner. Then the day planner company (I have a Cambridge Day Planner) stopped making blank pages, so I stopped using it. Reading this book made me dig out my planner and desire to start using it again, but wouldn’t you know, they still don’t make undated pages for it anymore. If you use a planner that has undated pages (like you can fill in your own month or day rather than buying a pack for 2008), what type is it and where do you buy the refill pages? I tried making some of my own, but my hole puncher leaves my hand black and blue after a few uses. But I digress. I got some great insights and ideas from this book, and encouragement to get myself back on track. I’d heartily recommend it.

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals wound up being one of my favorite books for 2007, and In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto is a good follow-up that answers the question of what you SHOULD eat, given how awful most conventional foods really are for you. Basically, Pollan boils his research down to seven words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The book explains these maxims further, and exposes even more despicable things the “food” industry does to sell their products even at the expense of your health. Furthermore, Pollan’s interviews with top food and nutrition researchers in the government and private sector reveal how bad the science is in that area and point out, as Pollan notes, “there is a lot more religion in science than you might expect.”

Some of the guidelines Pollan arrived at include:

  • “Don’t eat anyting your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” (Berry Bubblegum Bash Flavored Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt Tubes anyone?)
  • “Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting”
  • “Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d) high fructose corn syrup”
  • “Avoid food products that make health claims” (when Cocoa Puffs are endorsed as being whole grain “heart healthy” food, or when margarine is labeled “trans fat free!” you should pause and reflect)

And, my personal favorite:

  • “Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.”

This book is worth reading if you are interested at all in nutrition or health or food or eating. It’s a well written, engaging, quick read.

Off the Page: Writers Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything In Between
is a series of quotes from authors taken from online interviews conducted by the Washington Post Book World section. The quotes are loosely grouped into topic areas, and range from how to find inspiration, how long it takes to write, how to end a book, and the difference between good literature and junk fiction. I enjoyed the book because of the honesty the authors evidenced, and because it showed me that different writers have different methods and recipes for success, and that’s all right.

I checked out another of Rocco Dispirito’s cookbooks, Rocco’s Five Minute Flavor
and tried two recipes that I didn’t think were all that great. That surprised me, because the ones we’ve tried from his other cookbook have been fast and easy and taste excellent. I don’t know what happened between that book and this one, but it can’t have been good.

Currently Reading:
Leviticus, Psalms, Luke, I Corinthians
“Quiet Moments in Prayer” by Lloyd Ogilvie
“Dwelling Places” by Vinita Hampton Wright

The Kids’ Week In Books is here.

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