Submitted by kpiccoli@norths... on Thu, 05/16/2013 - 5:14pm
Roach’s books have been on my to-read list for a long time. However,
when your job depends on knowing what’s new and great, reading an
author’s backlist can be difficult to find time for. Naturally, when
Roach’s newest book came out, I jumped at the chance to finally make
time for this intriguing writer. Right now I’m kicking myself for not
having read her other titles sooner. Everything they say about Mary
Roach is true. She’s exactly what a great science author should be:
easy to understand, incredibly interesting, and outrageously hilarious.
a way, I’m glad I waited. Gulp is the perfect follow-up to Salt,
Sugar, Fat; It details some of the science that Moss hinted at. Gulp is
a scientific exploration of digestion, from start (the nose) to finish,
(the toilet). It may sound as though the book could be disgusting, but
I assure you, it isn’t. Roach makes her intentions clear from the
start: she wants to fascinate the reader, not cause disgust (much). In
this, she achieves her goal. From the first chapter I was completely
engrossed, but never grossed-out.
of my favorite things about this book were the footnotes she sprinkled
liberally throughout the book. They are like little asides to the
reader; not quite pertinent to the main subject, but too interesting to
be left out. It’s as though I’m sitting next to her in biology class
and she is passing me silly notes about the subject until the bell
rings. I found them distracting at first, but soon started looking
forward to them, as a great tool for sharing extraneous information,
without derailing the whole book. Her humor rivals that of David
Sedaris and her best jokes are in these little notes. Thankfully, I am
not in biology class, so I can giggle freely while reading, which I
think Roach probably did as well while writing.*
do most of my reading during my lunch break at work, which can make
reading about digestion and bowel movements less than desirable.
However, true to her oath in the introduction, this book isn’t gross,
it’s interesting. There is so much I never knew about the digestive
system, or more importantly, so much I didn’t realize I wanted
to know about the digestive system. Roach interviews scientists and
professionals involved in everything from saliva, to flatulence, to
Elvis Presley's doctor. It would seem that Roach has no limits to
journalistic inquiry, even emailing the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops for more information about the possible history of holy
water enemas being used in exorcisms.
would recommend reading this book next to an internet-ready device,
because in some cases, Roach can only begin to scratch the surface of
the story. I spent a considerable amount of time reading about Horace
Fletcher; one chapter simply isn’t enough to cover someone like him.
The book isn’t about Fletcher, Komodo dragons, competitive eating, or
any number of equally interesting things Roach talks about; it’s about
the science and stories that make up the alimentary canal, thus
prompting me to look further into many of the subjects Roach brings up.
For someone with an endless appetite for information (example: people
who look up one thing on Wikipedia, only to get sucked in for two
hours), Roach’s writing style can be dangerous and time consuming, but
that I’ve finished Gulp, I can’t wait to dig into that backlist. If
Roach can make digestion, gassiness, and saliva this interesting,
imagine what she can do with cadavers and superstition. Irresistible!
*Her fascination with names that correspond to professions reached its peak with Dr. Crapo who coined the term “Dung Lung.”
has always felt like she does not belong, a real “fish out of water.” But it is
when she finds out why she is so radically different that things start to fall
into place. And apart!
differences are not just because she is secretly telepathic, works with the dolphins
her mother trains and has looks that make her stand out from other kids at
school. She is one of a handful of
children that are part of an experiment to have people live under the ocean. It is up to Nere and a
few other children from her village to find the world Nere’s parents help
create. However, when your government will do anything to stop you (even kill) to
keep their uneasy control of the lands sharks, adapting to sleeping, breathing
and eating under water are really the least of your problems!
Nere’s group meets up with another group of adapted kids, she thinks things
will finally get easier…but tensions start immediately, control of the group
questioned and obvious dislikes are not hidden. How can she knew who (or if)
she can trust anyone?
adventures ripple one after each other as Holyoke takes the coming of age story
and turns it on its head. This amazing fantasy journey of family, loss,
friendship and more can be found on the shelves of the Northshire Bookstore.
Just has your friendly bookseller. You will find them swimming…um….waiting for
Submitted by kpiccoli@norths... on Fri, 05/10/2013 - 6:19pm
I saw Victoria Moran speak at Farm Sanctuary’s Annual Thanksgiving celebration for
the Turkeys last year. As I enjoyed my tasty vegan Thanksgiving
dinner, she talked about her years of vegan experience and of helping
others go vegan. She is an amazing and positive person that one can’t
help but immediately take a liking to and gravitate toward. She
explained that before going vegan she was overweight and miserable.
You’d never know it from seeing her now. She is vibrant, fit, and
radiating happiness. She talked a little about her book and I made a
mental note to order it the next day at work. My boyfriend was also
impressed by her and said he would like to read the book when I was done
the first few chapters, which were the basic how-tos, I found myself
getting sucked deeper and deeper into the book. Moran offers new
insights to long-time vegans as well as great advice for beginners.
There’s great information about nutrition, explaining the best ways to
get all of the important nutrients we all need (yes, she explains where
to get protein, please don’t ask that question ever again). She even
inspired me to take up homemade smoothies for breakfast, which have
instantly become a huge hit (hello endless energy in the morning!).
chapter includes fantastic recipes at the end, usually related to the
topic of the chapter. There’s some comfort food in there, as well as
some interesting new tastes to try. I’ve made several of the recipes
from that book, most of them are simple, but still amazing. For a fast
and easy treat I highly recommend Gena Hamshaw’s Collard Wraps (I used
Swiss chard instead of collards because I like it better). When I make
them for dinner we can never get enough. I’m going to refrain from
listing all of the yummy recipes I tried from this book and just assure
you that they’re delightful and easy to throw together at the end of a
brings me to my next point: this book is written for average people.
Veganism isn’t just for people with private chefs (as Oprah may have us
believing), or people who can drop $500 on the weekly trip to the
grocery store. Veganism is for average people (like me!). It helps if
you have some knowledge of how to operate your kitchen, which Moran does
point out. On the bright side, cooking most of your meals from scratch
won’t take as long as you think and will save you buckets of money,
which is great for those of us on a budget. She also includes great
shopping resources for non-food items and explains why it’s important to
take your shoes, as well your dinner, into account when making the
switch to veganism.
lays out the transition to veganism as an easy and gradual path. She
includes the usual information about why the meat and dairy industry are
the most horrible things on the planet, but she also understands that
most people can’t just drop all of their vices at once. She explains
that doing less harm, on your path to doing no harm, is perfectly
acceptable and understandable. For some people this transition may take
a while, but that’s ok. I dabbled in veganism for years before
actually doing it. However, once I jumped in, I stayed in. I’ve never
been happier. And neither has Victoria Moran.
Submitted by JSessions on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 1:59pm
recently found a first time novelist that is a little different from my usual
reads. Her name is R. R. Russell. I have had the pleasure of emailing her a few
times and while talking about her novel, Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist, I
have gotten to know a very interesting person; a person who is as thoughtful
and youthful as her novel.
is sent to a pony ranch for troubled girls. It is housed on an island that
looks and feels haunted. Her first day has Twig seeing an otherworldly bird and
what she assumes is a ghost boy! Little
does Twig know how real the boy is or the amazing secret he is charged with
keeping: the island houses the last wild unicorn herd!
night, Twig is drawn to the barn. Here she finds a unicorn in distress. She is
getting ready to give birth. Twig helps the unicorn, but she is unable to save
the mother. Now, asked to help keep the baby safe from the rouge leader of the
unicorn heard, Twig is drawn into an amazing adventure; one that will take her
literally out of this world and into another. With the help of new and wonderful friends,
Twig must find the strength within herself to overcome not only the troubles on
the island, but her personal ones, too.
combines the seemingly magical and realistic with a spiritualism that allows
the reader to enter a very enchanting world. (For ages 9 to 13).
to learn more? Just ask one of our unicorn riders….booksellers….at the
Northshire Bookstore if you want this or other books on unicorns, horses, or
spunky characters! They will gladly assist you in finding books (and more) to
put in your lonely shopping cart!