Category Archives: Nonfiction

You: Staying Young and the Owner’s Manuel by Michael F. Roizen & Mehmet C. Oz

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When I stumbled upon these two book in some rinky-dink local thrift store I couldn’t help but feeling like I was buying some sort of secret to immortality. These books were “written” by two very famous doctors and blown up all over the Oprah show. They were the hot thing a few years ago and a total must-have.

Well I must have been the only person that felt like she’s been totally cheated out of looking twenty five for the rest of my life. Honestly, had I paid more than a couple dollars for each book I would’ve returned them. That’s how disappointing I found them. Now I can see why they were left to molder on a dusty old shelf in the middle of nowhere.

I feel like any average person that’s had any form of normal middle-class high school health education has probably already learned all they need to know from this book series. If you’ve reached adulthood never having heard that exercise, eating right, and antioxidants are all good for you… well then I think you have bigger fish to fry.

Step One: Eat right. Step Two: Get off your fat ass. Step Three: Don’t fry yourself in the sun. Step Four: Put down those cigarettes, Smokey.

There, I just saved you $50 and several wasted hours. You can thank me later.

I’m gonna go eat a bag of chips now…

2 clogged arteries of 5

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Super Freakonomics by Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner

I read the first Freakonomics two years ago under the duress of a now ex-boyfriend. It was one of the only positive things I got out of that relationship. 

I never thought I’d have an interest in “social economics” until I got my hands on Levitt & Dubner’s brainchild. I mean, with questions like: why do drug dealers still live with their moms? (in the first book) and why are mall santa clauses and prostitutes alike? (in the second)… How could you not fly through the pages? bookpic

While I absolutely LOVED the first book, I felt that the second was a little thin and lackluster in comparison. I liked the more global hypotheses, like how to combat the greenhouse effect and all that jazz, but it wasn’t as dishy as the first. Before it felt almost like a guilty pleasure. Now it’s kind of old hat. 

If you enjoyed the first, however, there’s really no reason not to continue with the next installment. Hopefully next time L&D can devote some brainpower to answering questions like: why do TVs keep getting flatter when we don’t even have a tortilla chip with a guacamole-supporting infrastructure? or why do teenagers put cases on their phones but don’t use condoms??

Alas, the world will never know!

4 Forth of July hookers of 5 


The Sex Life of Food by Bunny Crumpacker

With a name like Bunny Crumpacker… She’s unlikely to disappoint. Especially about two of our favorite subjects: FOOD and SEX. Crumpacker (teehee) details how human desires go hand in hand, with hunger and horniness being the most potent of them all. From Eve and the apple to modern cannibals, I’d say she covers a little bit of everything… 51NFYQQ01GL._SY300_

I found this book INSANELY readable. I mean, really, you had me at sex and food, but still. Her writing style is a rare blend of wit and humor and I wizzed through this book in about a day. Who doesn’t find cannibals interesting?? Could you eat human flesh if you had to do it to survive?

I don’t even like fish!

It’s interesting to note that the two things we crave most in life–the two things that are actual essential to human life–are the two things we feel the most shame about. We want too much, we don’t want enough, we starve, we stuff, we hump, we die.

A perfect bath tub book ❤

5 apple cores of 5


The Honey Trail by Grace Pundyk

I happened to pick up Grace Pundyk’s little gem whilst casually strolling through unexplored sections of my local library. She succeeded in taking me on an adventure that many authors can only hope to replicate. And she was lucky enough to experience it firsthand. 9780312629816

I’ve been interested in beekeeping (and honey) for many years, but it was only in the spring of 2011 that I decided to do anything about it. My college offered a non-academic apiary class open to the public. The meetings were only once a month, so how could I say no? There I got to experience beehives and the honey making process up close and personal, even building my own hive and keeping my bees for nearly a year before they succumbed to an invasion of wax moths while I was in England.

Pundyk, like me, took an interest in bees because of their delicious golden upchuck. Honey.

This interest in the product, as well as the industry, led her on what had to be an almost year long around the world adventure. (If only we could all be so lucky to have those traveling funds!) She explored Borneo, England, Australia, New Zealand, China, America, and Russia and how the unique techniques and attitudes of the area influence the local honey–not to mention how the terrible pests and mysterious diseases that now abound are threatening supermarket shelves globally…

I found this book absolutely riveting and my only criticism is that I didn’t have the opportunity to stow away in her luggage!

A new favorite is hatched.

5 worker bees of 5


The Wild Life of Our Bodies by Rob R. Dunn

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In his astonishingly interesting book, The Wild Life of Our Bodies, Rob R. Dunn takes us on a very intimate journey. From modern day who we are back to prehistoric who we were. He postulates that many of our 21st century afflictions are caused by lack of microbial, bacterial, and parasitic presence in our bodies–that we evolved to function with, not against. 

Many of us now live in “First World” countries and as a result we are exposed to far fewer bacteria than ever before. Everywhere you look there are water filters, hand sanitizers, and antibiotics galore! As a result, things like anxiety, autism, allergies, dementia, etc… are caused by the body attacking itself rather than its normal battle against intestinal parasites. In Third World countries, it is practically unheard of for a child to have autism. In the US, nearly 1 in 7 kids is diagnosed. 

While Dunn is NOT saying we all need to go off and swallow some worm eggs to calm ourselves down and get back in tune with nature–he does raise some interesting points. He also has the most logical explanation of the appendix’s function that I have ever heard.

A new favorite.

5 microorganisms of 5 


The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

Ahh… Facebook. That time-sucking DELIGHTFUL waste of my life. How I loathe love you! The_Facbook_Effect_cover

I admit, I check my account at LEAST a dozen times a day. I love it. Add Instagram and you had me at hello. If anyone was destined to read The Facebook Effect, it was definitely me.

Unfortunately, instead of leaving me inspired to start my own mega-successful superbusiness online badassery, I just felt… bored.

The whole thing read like a 400 page news article. Would you like to read a 400 page news article? Didn’t think so. I had hoped that the book would be injected with the kind of witty, silly, intellectual humor that seems to be the heart of the site. Nope. It was dry, bland, and strictly black and white.While it was informative, you can only read SO MANY pages of college grads sitting on the floor typing fervently at their computers before your eyes glaze over.

And even after reading TFE, I don’t feel like I know who Mark Zuckerburg is as a person anymore than I did previous to the book.

But really, I can only thank everyone who was involved with the creation of Facebook, because seriously… do any of you remember what you used to do with all that spare time?? I sure don’t. But my advice is skip the Facebook book and just go straight to the site. That’s all you really need to know.

2 status updates of 5


Why We Write edited by Meredith Maran

Everyone who knows me well knows that my one deep dark aspiration in life is to become a published author. Seriously, on my bucket list–seeing my name on a shelf on a table at  (or honestly, even in a corner of) Barnes & Noble–this dream comes before all others. And what, might you ask, am I actively doing to achieve this goal? 9780452298156_medium_Why_We_Write

Jack diddly squat.

I make excuses, I fiddle around. I clean my house. I turn on the tv. I look at those godforsaken demon-spawn time-sucking websites (that I ADORE), Facebook and Pinterest. Basically anything other than sitting still and putting words in a new document.

(Whatever dude, that blinking cursor is scary).

In Why We Write, twenty authors explain how they stay motivated, get past the cursor heebie-jeebies, and produce/publish their work. (And from the sounds of it, it seems many of them find the writing process as torturous as I do… Although there are several jerks who “can’t NOT write.” Well poop on them). I found myself dog-earring a ton of pages and I plan to write them all down in my “writer’s” notebook. (See? I have tons of ideas of things to do other than write!)

This book arrived at my door as an unexpected gift from my cousin, and I intend to put it to good use–just as soon as that laundry gets folded…

4 blank pages of 5


The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

You’d honestly think that reading a book about plants would be as about as exciting as, well, watching the grass grow. Fortunately, I long ago learned to expect better things from Michael Pollan. In his book, The Botany of Desire, he categorizes four plants and how human desire shaped their evolution, genetic sprawl, and guaranteed their success in the modern world. bod-3

There are apples for sweetness, tulips for beauty, marijuana for intoxication, and potatoes for control

Basically, because each of these plants provided something that we wanted and/or needed, they ensured their own survival based on the roles they filled in human life. Pollan definitely taught me something along the way:

  • Folk hero Johnny Appleseed really guaranteed the spread of alcohol (hard cider) across the US.
  • A rare color strain of tulip, worth thousands of dollars to the medieval Dutch, was actually caused by a flower-killing virus/mutation.
  • Potatoes are one of the first (and most successful) genetically modified crops–Monsanto having produced a type that emits its own insecticide.

Crazy stuff.

I really enjoyed TBOD, and Pollan has yet again managed to be informative without being boring. He’s almost like that cool teacher you had in high school that somehow snuck learning into your curriculum without you realizing it.

4 pot leafs of 5


Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus by John Gray (and in the Bedroom, too!)

I know, I know… You make one mention of “relationship book” and women put on their glasses to do some research, while men run screaming for the hills. But seriously, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus is a classic for a reason. Never before have I had so many AHA! moments while reading a self-help/relationship book. To put it simply, Gray points out what men do to drive women insane and what women do to annoy men to death. By relating to each other as if we are from different planets, it’s easier to change our expectations about how the opposite sex “should” react. men-are-from-mars-women-are-from-venus-by-john-gray-phd-2010-01-15

Even I initially rolled my eyes thinking of reading this book. Now, I’m a strong believer that EVERYONE should read it, male and female. Because it’s oh so true. The book could’ve been written based on a case study of myself and my live-in boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great relationship, but… he’s from Mars…

There were actually examples of conversations that we have actually had, and it perfectly described his need for alone time versus my ups and downs. It makes it much more simple to realize that the two sexes handle things

51vnt96a25l_494_origdifferently and men aren’t “insensitive” and women aren’t “crazy.” They are just from two different planets.

However, when I decided to read Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus in the Bedroomthat’s when Gray started to go a little awry. I couldn’t really relate to the exercises he’d prescribe couples and the whole thing read uncomfortably–like that weird squirmy feeling you get when you’re watching a movie with your parents and a sex scene comes on. Gross.

So, definitely DO NOT miss out on MAFMWAFV, but you can totally skip the creepiness that is …In the Bedroom.

5 dumb boys out of 5 for the former, 2 flannel nightgowns for the latter


Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Since its original publication in 1938, Think and Grow Rich has sold about a quazillionbilliontrillion copies. For realzies. It’s all about how realizing your dreams–using visualization, positive thinking/energy flow, and perseverance are the way to achieve fabulous wealth. There’s no formula for getting rich while sleeping??

Dang it. There go my plans… ThinkAndGrowRich3

Written around the time of the Great Depression, TAGR was probably one of the first (if not THE first) motivational book on making money. I’m sure it’s inspired tons of people to pursue their dreams over the last several decades. My only problem with the book is that it was written during the time where America was still portrayed as “the land of opportunities” and that the “streets are paved with gold.” Flash forward seventy-five years, and things don’t seem quite so peachy. It’s much more difficult than it once was to just contact the head of a company and, say, get a book published, or land your dream job. College degrees hardly mean much anymore.

While I definitely support the ideas that Hill demonstrates, like self-confidence, dreaming big, and not taking no for an answer–his “answer” to all our modern-day money woes seem to be a little out of reach. (Plus, his suggestion to channel all excess sexual energy into productivity is just… strange.)

I feel pressured by society to rate this book higher, but for application with MY generation, I feel like it deserves:

3 dolla dolla bills ya’ll of 5