Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Joy of Browsing at Borders

I’m afraid it’s going to be a book review extravaganza for my next several posts. I’m reading Caitlin Flanagan’s book, so I’ll review it here shortly. I’m also going to be posting a review of Jennifer Margulis’ new book Why Babies Do That on the 21st. But in the meantime, on Saturday my husband said, “You look like you could stand to get out of here alone for awhile, I’ll take the kids this afternoon if you want to.”

And he didn’t have to make the suggestion twice… I was out the door before he finished his sentence. So I spent a good chunk of Saturday at Borders.

First I went to the Fitness section and checked out a book by Joey Shulman that I’d seen at MUBAR. I learned that green tea increases metabolism. Did you know this? So I’ve been drinking green tea and let me say that it’s heinous (I’m a coffee drinker. Period.), but I’ve lost 1.2 pounds since Sunday so I’m going to keep choking it down. I was also inspired to cut out refined carbohydrates and sugar, but the rest I can’t do. Not enough red meat & dairy, too much soy!

Then I saw a book called How the Rich Get Thin. It’s long, dense and boring and in a nutshell, according to this doctor, everyone who lives on Park Avenue exercises for at least an hour every morning and doesn’t eat carbohydrates. So there you have it. Easy as pie (or, rather, easy as no pie).

But then I found the book that was really annoying. Any other aspiring writers out there? I’m trying to find an agent or publisher for my book and I’ve been advised by many books and many people that agents and publishers only care about seeing something they think they can sell. And, among other things, it’s important to have a great title. Now I’ve written a marketable book, but no one wants anything to do with it anyway. So I’m perusing the diet aisle and I see a book called The Rice Diet. The Rice Diet. The Rice Diet for gods sake! And I can’t help but wonder, who thought that was a catchy title for a book? I can see The Fat Diet or The Ice Cream Diet or Your Long Erotic Weekend… these are all good titles. But The Rice Diet? Who wants to buy that? And then I can’t help but wonder who the author had to blow to get it published.

Oh no, I’m not bitter, why do you ask?

And then I saw Dr. Weil’s books. I can not believe that anybody actually buys his books either. First of all, he advocates eating nothing but raw tree bark for the most part. And second, just look at him! I can totally see why you might see Suzanne Somers doing the thigh master and think, Gosh, maybe I ought to do that too. But looking at Dr. Weil doesn’t exactly inspire me to eat like he does. Evidently I’m in the minority and a lot of people aspire to eat raw foliage and look as healthy as Dr. Weil. Perhaps I have no understanding of book marketing at all.

The book I was planning to buy is Mommy Knows Worst by James Lileks. I was very impressed by the concept (taking old parenting advice from the 40s and 50s and making fun of it), but not impressed by the execution. It did make me giggle a few times, but didn’t make me want to own it. It’s worth taking a look at it though just to see the picture of a baby-sleeping apparatus for use in apartment buildings. It’s sort of like a crib that hangs out the window in much the same way an air conditioning unit does (because babies need fresh air!). I hope they didn’t actually sell too many of those.

And finally, on to kids’ books. I’m reading the old A.A. Milne Pooh books with J and they are the best children’s stories I’ve read so far. I was surprised at how literary they are and still keep a kid’s attention. I might be enjoying them more than J as I think some of the subtle humor might be over his head. But I’ve underestimated him before so maybe not.

And if you’re looking for politically incorrect, good lord, look no further than the Curious George series. I’m awfully hard to offend and even I cringe while reading it. The series begins when Curious George is captured in Africa by the “man in the yellow hat” and put on a zoo-bound boat. And he goes to prison, gets himself drugged up on ether & blacks out, and has all kinds of other silly adventures every four-year-old should read about. Oh but they’re classics, right? So it’s okay.

So please stay tuned for the Flanagan and Margulis reviews and after that, I promise to think of another topic!


Redneck Nerdboy! said...

...and as you ran out the door, hubby added, "But you don't have to if you don't want toooo! Honey? Honey?"

Christine D. said...

I love Dr. Weil! He inspired me to give up dairy for my asthma! And it really, really helped. If only he could have inspired me to stay off it permanently. Instead, I take medication daily and stuff myself with cheese, cream, etc. But I'm definately a fan of his. Okay, so he's chubby. His beatific smile suggests the secret to health and happiness.

MommyWithAttitude said...

Christine, check out quackwatch.org sometime and read what they say about Dr. Weil. Pretty funny. Among other things they suggest that his "beatific smile" is the result of being a pothead (or maybe it's a former pothead, I can't remember).

Not that I would know, I'm just sayin'...

Sheena said...

I think you're right about the Park Avenue rich 'n' thin comment. Quaffed a couple of pints across the street from Carnegie hall last night and man, did I ever see a lot of silver-tipped lollipops.

Wonder if maybe they are what all those alien abductees are describing when they talk about the grey ones.

Mom101 said...

Thanks for the nice comment at my place, and for leading me back here. Always nice to find another articulate, clever, insightful blog out there.

As someone who's had a book published, I assure you you're right. It's totally about the marketing. I mean have you ever read the Celestine Prophesy? It sounds like it was translated from Swahili by a ten year-old who's never been to school. Insipid drivel. But best-seller. Woohoo!

Off to get some green tea now. And take another look at the Peta-blacklisted Curious George. Who knew?

Jill said...

Two thoughts.

One, if you chuckled at Lileks but wasn't ready to buy him, just read his blogs instead. Go to www.lileks.com to link to many things he has written. Very funny (plus I just gotta stick up for him as he is a fellow Minneapolitan).

Second, whatever you think of Curious George, Jack Johnson's soundtrack to the movie is awesome. Check that out too.

ninepounddictator said...

Hey, can you do a fiction review? I'm always interested in hearing about good fiction!

MommyWithAttitude said...

Thanks Mom 101. I actually have the Celestine Prophecy, but was never able to get past the first page... I guess it's not just me!

MM - awesome link! I had never heard of him before, only of his new book. I can see some internet-surfin' time wasting coming on...

Rebecca - my fiction list-to-read is about four times as long as my non-fiction list, but I aim to please so I'll start working on some of those next.

Anjali said...

Ok, my suggestion is that you try different brands of green tea. Some taste better than others (and some have honey or lemon mixed in, which might help).

Dr. Weil is weird, and funny-looking, and maybe he is a pot-head, but I'll tell you -- he's the only person whose advice could cure me of incessant urinary tract infections. (Too much info, I know.)

Looking forward to your reviews!

MommyWithAttitude said...

Anjali, I'll do that and maybe I'll try just squeezing some lemon into what I already have, and maybe icing it...

I filled out Dr. Weil's health profile and indicated that cancer is one of my health concerns and he suggested I drink green tea too.

I guess it's a miracle food.

Redneck Nerdboy! said...

I'm signing off for the weekend. Happy Mother's Day to you Staci!

Food Mum said...

Hi Staci, I love your blog, very refreshing and energising. I'm looking forward to reading you regularly. By the way for really unPC children's stuff try the Tintin books - my 8 year old loves them, I never know whether to edit out the appallingly unPC stuff or just hope that it will pass him by and he'll learn from real life example rather - all the baddies are of 'ethnic origin' to put it nicely! Enid Blyton does a nice line in stereotypes in the Noddy books too. My parents hated reading them to us when we were little and mow my children are exacting revenge on their behalf!

I've put a link on my blog to yours - here is my address if you'd like to reciprocate.
Food and Family

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