terribooks

Reviews
More
Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

by

I think this is a great book for anyone trying to eat better and lose weight. The author gives all kinds of examples from his research that are just fascinating, really illuminate why it is so hard to "go on a diet." He's funny, too; for example, when recommending "real ethnic restaurants" he notes that "McDonald's is not a Scottish restaurant." This kind of gentle, humorous commentary fills the book. He asks us to try, not to eat right, but to eat better. His weight-loss strategy is centered around what he calls the "Mindless Margin;" by cutting 100-200 calories a day you will be 10-20 lbs lighter after a year. Not as fast as we want to lose, but sustainable without feeling deprived. My only criticism is because I listened to the audiobook version -- there are a lot of tables and it's difficult to catch that when the reader has to try to narrate the contents of a table or graph. But I think this is so valuable I'm going to buy a written or ebook version so I can have his suggestions and strategies in black and white in front of me.
Bitterer Schleier

by

When the book focused on the relationship between Anna and Nouri, it was excellent. This is about the third book I've come across that described a normal-seeming Middle Eastern man in America turning into a totally different kind of husband when he brings his wife back home. I realize this is fiction, so I wonder if it's just a good hook for a story or if it's really something that happens. The inclusion of a "whodunit" element seemed minor and unnecessary, distracting from the heart of the novel. But it's an exciting, interesting book to read, with some good characterizations and a look at life in Tehran at the time of the Khomeini revolution.
The Pesthouse

by

America, generations after some sort of ecological(?) disaster is emptying out. The remnant people who are left are wandering, family by family, toward the east coast hoping for transport across the ocean. I found this a warmer and less hopeless book than "The Road" to which it is often compared. I enjoyed the strong female characters and the slow-developing relationship between Franklin and Margaret. My major complaint is that it seems incomplete -- I want to know the rest of their story, and I would have liked more exposition of the background of the story.
The River Wife: A Novel

by

The New Madrid earthquake is the beginning of this novel, and the natural history of the area is an underlying symbol of life at the side of the treacherous, changeable Mississippi River, from sand boils to hardwood forests. A fascinating cast of characters takes this family tale through three generations, with the focus on the women who try to hold things together. I loved the interweaving of the stories and the strength of the women, each of whom is a "River Wife." Not a happy-endings type of story, but a realistic, gritty novel of hard times, betrayal, love and loyalty.
The Art of Fielding: A Novel

by

This is not a book about baseball, it's a book about people - and a superb one. The author has created a wonderful set of characters that I fell in love with. I hated reaching the end. I'll admit that they don't all seem like college kids, there's a maturity that I doubt you would find in a 21-year-old. But they all fit together to make a story that drew me in and kept me hooked chapter after chapter. The writing was wonderful; the scene where Mike opened his letter to see whether or not he was accepted into law school is memorable in the way the tension builds and builds. I loved this book.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

by

I am intrigued by this part of the history of the US, and have read a few books about the Civil War and the times before and afterwards. This book adds the aspect of Lincoln's relationships with the men he chose to be his closest advisers on his Cabinet. I found it wonderfully enriching and it really held my interest. It appears to be well-researched and concerned with presenting an honest picture of Lincoln and others. Caveat: I didn't realize until the end that I was listening to an abridged version.
I Is For Innocent

by

Another strong showing in the series. Nothing extra special, but Kinsey keeps on her way, inviting us into glimpses of her life. I enjoyed the humor around the romance of Henry's brother. I'll keep on with the series, on occasions when I want something short and easy to enjoy.
The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem

by and

A commentary focusing mostly on the Gospel of Mark, covering the time between Palm Sunday and the Easter apparitions of Jesus. I particularly appreciated the approach of parable for these narratives, and the emphasis on "what does it mean." There was probably an over-emphasis on the imperial power vs Christ aspect, but I can see the need for it as a corrective to the me-and-Jesus approach that so many Christians take. The image of the dual Palm Sunday processions in Jerusalem, presented in the first chapter, was a great one, and well used throughout.
People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo--and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up

by

I was disappointed in this book. Although there were interesting parts about the culture of the hostesses in Tokyo and the Japanese legal system, I felt the author failed to make a good human connection to the women who were the victims in these crimes. At times, especially in the last quarter of the book, it almost seemed that he wasn't sure if he was writing a book about himself or about the events he describes. There is obviously a wealth of good research behind the book, but it didn't quite get pulled together into a story that kept me enthralled.
Lost on a Mountain in Maine

by and

When I checked this audiobook out of the library as a download, I didn't realize it was so small, and actually a kid's book. But I enjoyed it, the rather naive story of a young boy's survival when separated from his family on a mountain hike. It would have been nice to know more about what was going on among the people looking for him, and something about the process of his recovery. Good for kids.
scribd