Monday, May 27, 2013

Title: Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation
Author(s): Elissa Stein and Susan Kim
Genre: non-fiction, women's health

Ah, yes, that favorite time of the month when Aunt Flow comes to visit... Most cultures view a girl's first period as a sign she is a woman and ready to be married. For Western women, we view nature's red gift as an inconvenience or annoyance. The authors have produced an irreverent, yet educational book about menstruation in American society. What is a natural, biological process has been medicalized by the advertising establishment. Stein and Kim also look at how menstrual flow has been viewed throughout history (sacred yet dangerous), the various birth control options available to women (and how it changes our flow), the controversies surrounding hormone replacement therapy, and the various methods that have been used throughout history to gather "nature's bounty." A must-read for all women!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Title: How to Pick a Peach: The Search for Flavor from Farm to Table
Author: Russ Parsons
Genre: non-fiction, food issues, food history, cookbook

Part vegetable/fruit primer, part cookbook, Russ Parsons discusses (very briefly) the growing history of the most popular fruits and vegetables in the United States. The book is divided seasonally with recipes and food history for the vegetable or fruit that is harvested in that particular season. Parsons' focus in this book is flavor; he doesn't get preachy about organics, the environment or vegetarianism, so this might be the right book for someone who is interested in eating healthier but doesn't want to be preached at for not buying 100% organic.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Title: Winging It: A Memoir of Caring for a Vengeful Parrot Who's Determined to Kill Me
Author: Jenny Gardiner
Genre: memoirs, animals

I am an animal lover but after reading this book there is no way I want to get an African gray parrot. Jenny and Scott Gardiner inherited a wild and scared baby parrot after they were already dealing with a dog (who was allergic to the Earth) and a newborn. Grayce never "tamed" and had an irascible personality (imagine a grumpy homicidal teenager in a bird's body). While dealing with their parrot's personality they had to deal with her nasty mess (food slung everywhere; trails of poo if they let her walk freely throughout the house). Add three children, two cats, vacations gone bad, and various illnesses (human and animal) with a hefty dose of humor and you get this enjoyable, yet exhausting read.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Title: Dead Ever After
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: urban fantasy, paranormal, books on TV

The latest and last in the Sookie Stackhouse series...After bringing Sam back from the dead using the cluviel dor, Sookie is dumbfounded by Sam's stiffness around her and Eric's silence. A frenemy from the past (Arlene) is released from jail and comes back to Merlotte's looking for a job. Since Sookie is  part owner, that ain't happening. The next day Arlene is found dead with Sookie's scarf around her neck. When Sookie is arrested for murder, the supes and humans come to her defense financially and legally and start their own investigation into who has it in for Sookie (the list gets longer with each book). Sookie finds new love that has been under her nose all the time... and that is all I'm going to say without accidentally giving away any spoilers. A satisfying ending to an enjoyable series.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Title: The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes and Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients
Author(s): Lucy H. Spelman and Ted Y. Mashima (editors)
Genre: essays, story collection, non-fiction, animals

A quirky and eye-catching title of essays/non-fiction short stories from zoo vets around the world. The vets that submitted these stories literally had to "Macgyver" a treatment plan for their patients: MRI for an octopus, fish puree for an orphaned-yet-too-young-to-wean dolphin, orthopedic cast for a giraffe, root canal on a hippo, poison antidote for a tiger, and the "glue-on shoes" for a rhino (inspired by horseshoes). A quick, educational and entertaining read; not all the stories have a happy ending but no story turns sappy. This book shows you how improvisation and inspiration helped vets propel zoo vet technology forward.