Submitted by kpiccoli@norths... on Mon, 01/01/1990 - 5:24pm
At the age of eight, Krysta's mother read her 1984 (among other questionable titles). This may have been so that Krysta could truly appreciate literature, or so she could understand the nature of our world. Most likely it was because Krysta's mother believed that it was her job to scare the daylights out of her children whenever possible. In any case, the odd choices of literature resulted in all three of the above.
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.”
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 kpiccoli@norths... on Thu, 04/25/2013 - 3:43pm
do I even begin? This book is huge. Not physically huge, just a huge
deal for your life. You need to read it. I could end with that, but
you’ll probably want me to explain why. Fine...
Sugar, Fat is mind-blowing. Coming from me, that’s saying something.
I read a lot of books about food and I try to avoid processed foods
like the plague. We all know this stuff is bad for us, but we eat it
anyway because it also tastes good. This isn’t an accident. Obviously
food companies want their foods to taste good, but the extent to which
they use salt, sugar, and fat to trick our bodies into eating more and
more of it is criminal. They manipulate the ingredients, knowing it
will cause people to overconsume. Any ideas of trying to manufacture
healthier foods are immediately shot down by wall street and industry
section of this book sucked me in even further and elicited even more
shock. In fact, they are presented in the order that would create more
shock as you go. We all know the dangers of sugar, though not a great
deal about the science, so Moss starts with it. It’s no surprise that
fat is not great for us. What I didn’t know is that putting fat in a
food can raise your tolerance for sugar, which will allow you to eat a
lot more before your body tells you to cut it out, if it ever does. He
ends with salt. We know too much salt is bad. We know it leads to high
blood pressure. But we have it under control. We’ve made an effort to
keep our hands off the salt shaker during meals. Except, that doesn’t
even matter. Processed food is teeming with added salts and our
tolerance for salt is so high, that we don’t even notice how much we’re
consuming. The most shocking part of the salt story is what happens to
children raised with and without heavy loads of salt in their diet.
Children raised with high salt diets, crave it in unprecedented
amounts. Children raised with little salt, turn their noses up at salty
foods. We’ve been raised to crave foods that are bad for us, and in
the case of salt, we’ve done it to ourselves.
did years of research and interviews for this book. It is not a
science book, so any science in it is immediately easy to understand.
He’s a great journalist who understands his readers. The book is made
up of stories and anecdotes about the food industry, so that by showing
us the smaller, more personal picture, Moss can give his readers the
much bigger one. He shows us that the issue is not black and white.
The food industry is making us sick and they are well aware of it,
however, they can not stop themselves. Their customers are hooked on
the food and now they will not settle for anything healthier. In a way,
the only way out of this situation is government regulation. I’m not a
huge fan of regulation, but prefer education. However, in the case of
our health, perhaps the slower moving road of education will not be
enough. We may have reached a point where the food giants can’t stop
and education alone is not enough to have us stop ourselves. Hopefully information like what's in this book can reach people fast enough so that we don't end up in another battle of what to regulate in this country.
After everything I’ve learned, reading this book still kind of made me want an Oreo Cookie.
Submitted by kpiccoli@norths... on Wed, 04/17/2013 - 1:23pm
Thisbook is a wonderful and frightful adventure like nothing I’ve ever readbefore. I first noticed it while organizing the middle reader series booksin the children's department. There it was, all alone in the series section, with its promising blue-grey cover of Gustav and his shadow. I hadn’t heard anything about it at all, but I knew immediately that I wanted to love it.
FernieWhat loves a good scare. She dreams of living in a creepy old house full of shadows. Sowhen she moves in across the street from Gusav Gloom, she is immediately drawn to his giant, black house, with its darkyard and blackened windows. On her first night in her new home, her cat runs across the street and into Gustav’s house. Fernie goes after it, not knowing the dangers (and adventures) that await her inside the big, black house. She and Gustav are soon making a mad dash through thehouse to escape the People Taker, who has taken up residence there. Heplans to take Fernie and her family and drop them into The Pit that leads to the Shadow World.
Thecover may have drawn me in, but the characters kept me reading. Gustavand Fernie are at once loveable and admirable characters that made the book hard to put down. Of course the action and plot were wonderful andI really, really wanted to know what would happen, but the thing that Iloved more than anything else were those two. Gustav, who is such a lonely little boy, starts to realize what it means to have a real friend. He’s never even eaten real food before, orhad a real hug. Theshadows that are his friends in the house hope that Fernie can change all of that, but first he has to save her from the People Taker.
Castrohas a wonderful sense of humor. It’s a kind of humor that is not always apparent in kid’sbooks. It’s the kind of humor that kids, adults, and Krystas can appreciate. Fernie’s Father is obsessed with safety and always paranoid that his kids will get hurt, but still fails to see that amaniac in a chef’s hat is not really going to feed him pancakes, but instead try and takehis family. Fernie is obviously upset that the People Taker is trying to hurt her family, but she’s deeplyoffended that he has no intention to feed them said pancakes. Castro also has an appreciation and an understanding of the humorous, yet lovable, nature of cats, which is always a big hit with me.
Turnsout I picked this book up just in time, as the second book in the series is due out in only a few days. I can’t wait to get my hands on Gustav Gloom and the Nightmare Vault! Maybe I’ll finally find out more about the mysterious Lord Obsidian, or perhap more about Gustav’s history.Whatever is in the book, I’ll certainly be reading it under the covers by flashlight.
Submitted by kpiccoli@norths... on Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:49am
Last month, just in time for Easter and general Spring celebrations, the
Northshire Bookstore Children’s Department held a tea party. We invited
kids 10 and under to come to the store and make some springtime crafts
and enjoy tea and cookies. And, like any good party, we encouraged kids
to come in costume.
Whitney showed us how to make finger puppets from pipe cleaners. We
had fun glueing pompoms and googly eyes on our puppets to make them
one-of-a-kind. Next, Fran taught us all how to make little candy
holders with cupcake paper and flower shapes. Then, the best part, we
ate homemade cookies (thanks Fran) and drank tea and juice. After that,
everyone sat down quietly and read books, or ate snacks, or went home,
after thoroughly ruining dinner.
you missed our wonderful event, never fear! The department is planning
to host a fun kid’s event every month for starting in May. First up:
crafting for mom on May 11th. Mother’s Day is coming soon and we’d like
to help kids get in the spirit. Craft a gift for mom and listen to a
book about how wonderful mothers are. We’re also planning events for
Father’s Day and then a scavenger hunt through the store!
dates and times will be announced soon, but for now, mark your
calendars for May 11th at 4pm and come join us for another fun event in
the Children's Department!
Submitted by kpiccoli@norths... on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 4:03pm
Septemberis a very bored little girl. Her father has shipped off to war and hermother is raising her alone. Her mother works all day repairing engines in a factory. They live in Nebraska, where there is nothing fora little girl like September to do. She wishes endlessly to be taken off to Fairyland like so many bored children before her. One day, whileshe is washing teacups, that wish comes true and September gets a visitfrom the Green Wind, riding on the Leopard of Little Breezes.They take her away to Fairyland, where she has the most amazing adventures.
Thecharacters in this book are so unavoidably likable, despite their faults. September is repeatedly called heartless, but we know she isn’t. She is sometimes said to be selfish, but she is nowhere near it.Even the villain is likable in her ability to be such a fantastic fairy tale villain. Sure, she’s an evil ruler, but she’s just a kid. An angry one at that. Of course the friends September makes along the way are the most wonderful friends anyone could ever hope to make. There's A-through-L, a Wyvern and Saturday, a marid, and of course Gleam, a kind-hearted paper lantern.
Valenteis an exceptional writer. She creates a Fairyland that is both familiar and fantastically strange. Her imagination has run wild all over the pages of this book, and it’s a really, really mind-blowing imagination. It’s not often that a writer can create a world so complete and easy to visualize. Her descriptions are lush and vivid, even describing colors in more depth than I thought was possible. It helps that she loves some of the same things that I do, like autumn and pumpkins and green smoking jackets, which she spends extra time applyingher loving pen to. Her vocabulary is luscious and so needed in books for young readers.
It’simpossible for me to write this review without pointing out the obviousfact that female characters like September are so needed in children’s literature. September is an amazing little girl.She makes friends easily and defends them without a thought. She literally travels to theends of the earth (without shoes, no less) to save them, and she does it alone. She is willing to sacrifice everything for them. There’s no annoying underlying romance to it, as there is in other popular kidsbooks. Italso helps that September is being raised by wrench-wielding, do-it-yourself mother,though we get only get small pieces of the woman she is. September doesn’t get her strengthfrom anyone but herself, which, like most of us, she has to learn along the way.