2016 Reading Challenges followup

This post covers my 2016 Reading Challenges and goals, as best as my data and time allow.

Personally set goals and some counts

Total number of books finished in 2016:  120

  • Nonfiction:  54
  • Fiction:  64
  • Graphic novels: 60
  • Ebooks:  8
  • Beer & Brewing:  15
  • Biography:  2
  • Central Oregon:  3
  • Cookery:  6
  • Erotica/Sex & Gender: 3
  • History: 5
  • Librariana:  0; 1 in progress very slowly
  • Literature/Language:  2
  • Memoir:  2
  • Philosophy:  3
  • Photography:  2
  • Poetry:  2
  • Renewal:  5
  • Science:  6
  • Tech/Software:  2
  • Translations: 14
  • Wander: 3
  • YA & Kids:  13

I know one book counted as both fiction and nonfiction: Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables. No doubt some counts in some of the categories could be retroactively changed if I felt like reanalyzing many entries. For instance, science just went up by 2 [doubled] with just a quick look. Taking data as is though until I see a need to do otherwise. It has already received a fair bit of “fact checking” and cross-checking.

These were my generic goals for 2016:

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here,
  • More erotica, sex & gender.
  • Less graphic novels.
  • More literature.
  • Librariana? didn’t read any in 2015. “Who have I become?, one might ask.
  • Translations check.
  • Ebooks check.
  • Nonfiction check.
  • More essays and short stories.

How did I do on these?

Not so well. I read 1 less in poetry [3 vs 2 (2015 vs 2016)]; same number on erotica, sex & gender [3]; less than two-thirds as many graphic novels, so nailed this one [99 vs 60]; 7 less in lit [8 vs 1]; still 0 in librariana but I am working on one (very slowly); 7 less translations [21 vs 14]; 28 less ebooks [36 vs 8]; 14 less nonfiction [68 vs 54]; and as best I can tell no change in essays and short stories [0? vs 1?]. Not so well at all. The only one I actually accomplished was reading less graphic novels. ::sigh::

Books currently reading being read [2016current]

Finish all nine of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Bennett, ed. – Japanese love poems
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [gave up]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living
  • Farhi – The breathing book
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and its role in the evolution of human society

Finished 5 and gave up on one. Sara and I were reading that to each other and we both agreed to quit it. So calling this 5 for 9. Not great but acceptable.

2016 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2016poss]

Read 12 of 44 possible

Read 11 of 12. Of the 11 categories I read books from this list in 7 of them [and one is currently being read from another for 8]. I read books in all those other categories, just not from this list. So calling this one close enough.

2016 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, up from 75 last year. I have been alternating between demolishing my goals and being a bit over here for several years.

Made this a while ago. Not quite as early or numbers as high as last year but I also read a lot less graphic novels. Total read is 120.

Challenges hosted elsewhere

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016 [2016nfc]

Master level 16-20 books (top) Reached 20 on 05 June 2016 [well, finished reading; not posted yet],

25 reviews posted. 54 nonfiction books read in total.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016 [2016trans]

Linguist 10-12 books (top)

12 books reviewed. 14 translations read.

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2016gnc]

  • 12 for Modern Age [Reached 31 January 2-16]
  • So 24 for Bronze Age [Reached 8 May 2016]
  • 52 for Silver Age [Reached 15 December 2016]

52 reviews posted but 60 graphic novels or manga read.

More breakdowns [books by month; from libraries]

These are the books I finished in 2016 by month (6 were started in 2015 and 1 in 2014!):

Author Title

January

  • Bennett, ed. Japanese love poems
  • Oliver The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Modan The Property
  • Fetter-Vorm Trinity
  • Berlin The Power of Ideas
  • Harris Integrating Reality
  • Hester Vegan Slow Cooking: For Two or Just for You
  • MacLean ApocalyptiGirl: Aria for the End Times
  • Lee and Hart Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Fox
  • McKendry Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables
  • Brontë, A The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • Modan exit wounds
  • Pond Over Easy
  • Tezuka Ode to Kirihoto
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite [1]
  • Abouet & Oubrerie Aya
  • Modan Maya makes a Mess
  • Way & Ba The Umbrella Academy: Dallas [2]
  • Foster Porter (Classic Beer Styles 5)

February

  • Wang Koko Be Good
  • Brrémaud and Bertolucci Love: The Tiger
  • Foster Brewing Porters & Stouts
  • Williams A Pictorial History of the Bend Country
  • Backes Cannabis Pharmacy
  • Modan Jamilti and Other Stories
  • Hayden The Story of My Tits
  • Alanguilan Elmer
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues (1)
  • Simone, et al. Red Sonja: The Art of Blood and Fire
  • Black The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book
  • Morrison, et al. The Invisibles : say you want a revolution
  • Strong Brewing Better Beer
  • Waters Tipping the Velvet

March

  • Gunders Waste Free Kitchen Handbook
  • Thug Kitchen Thug Kitchen Party Grub
  • Dunlap-Shohl My degeneration: a journey through Parkinson’s
  • McQuaid Tasty
  • North & Henderson The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (2015)
  • Delavier Delavier’s core training anatomy
  • Hennessy, Smith and McConnell The Comic Book Story of Beer
  • Vitrano The Nature and Value of Happiness
  • Hoffman Survival lessons

April

  • Tucholke Wink Poppy Midnight
  • Immonen & Immonen Moving Pictures

May

  • Miyazaki Princess Mononoke: The First Story
  • Rail Why Beer Matters
  • Tezuka Apollo’s Song
  • Lawson & Smith Sidewalk Flowers
  • Guojin The Only Child
  • Stuppy, et al. Wonders of the plant kingdom
  • Rail The meanings of craft beer
  • Miller Dave Miller’s Homebrewing Guide
  • Jackson The New World Guide to Beer
  • Kemp A bouquet of gardenias
  • Love Bayou, volume one
  • Dysart, et al. Neil Young’s Greendale

June

  • Yana Toboso Black Butler I
  • Yana Toboso Black Butler II
  • Stevenson Nimona
  • Dunegan Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Chapman The 5 Love Languages
  • Love and Love Shadow Rock
  • Love and Morgan Bayou, volume two
  • Toboso Black Butler III
  • Ratey Spark
  • Toboso Black Butler IV
  • Tonatiuh Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
  • Halloran The new bread basket
  • ACSM ACSM’s Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual

July

  • DeConnick, et al. Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine(Bitch Planet (Collected Editions))
  • Miller Water: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Kissell Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

August

  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 1
  • Herz & Conley Beer Pairing
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 2
  • Arcudi, et al. A god somewhere
  • McCool and Guevara Nevsky: a hero of the people
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 3
  • Martin, et al. A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, volume 4
  • Ottaviani & Purvis The imitation game
  • Vaughan, et al. Paper Girls 1
  • Abel La Perdida
  • Carriger Prudence (The Custard Protocol; 1)
  • Carriger Imprudence (The Custard Protocol; 2)
  • Ottaviani & Wicks Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gladikas
  • Owens How to Build a Small Brewery
  • Orchard Bera the one-Headed Troll

September

  • Rowling The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Cantwell & Bouckaert Wood & Beer
  • McCoola & Carroll Baba Yaga’s Assistant
  • Hales, ed. Beer & Philosophy

October

  • Samanci Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey
  • Ellis, et al. Trees, volume one: In shadow
  • Schuiten & Peeters The leaning girl
  • Tsutsumi, et al. Out of Picture Volume 1: Art from the Outside Looking In

November

  • Stockton South Sister: a Central Oregon volcano
  • ATK Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution
  • Protz The ale trail
  • Smith The Wander Society
  • Krucoff Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain
  • Hensperger & Kaufmann The ultimate rice cooker cookbook
  • Sumner Brewing Science, Technology and Print, 1700-1880
  • Duarte Monsters! and Other Stories

December

  • Maltz, ed. intimate kisses
  • Milne The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Out of Picture Volume 2: Art from the Outside Looking In
  • Brown Andre the giant: Life and legend
  • Hanh How to walk
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me (Fatale #1)
  • Brubaker & Phillips Fatale, Book 2: The Devil’s Business (Fatale #2)
  • Ottaviani & Big Time Attic Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards: Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology
  • Smith, et al. Long Walk to Valhalla
  • Colfer, et al. The Supernaturalist
  • Montellier & Mairowitz The Trial
  • Culbard, Edginton; Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Bagieu Exquisite Corpse
  • Bishop Living with Thunder
  • Bryson Tasting whiskey
  • Dawson The Place WherE I Come From

Totals finished per month are:

  • Jan 20
  • Feb 14
  • Mar 9
  • Apr 2
  • May 12
  • Jun 13
  • Jul 3
  • Aug 15
  • Sep 4
  • Oct 4
  • Nov 8
  • Dec 16

Not entirely sure what happened in April, July September or October. Perhaps I simply was reading more longer books then and thus finished less. Or, I cut my right index finger to shreds along with minor finger and hand injuries in April so … who knows?

 From libraries:

  • Central Oregon Community College Barber Library: 12
  • Deschutes Public Library: 58
  • Summit (consortium): 7
  • OSU-Cascades: 3
  • Interlibrary Loan: 1 [suspect is a bit higher]

So, 81 of 120 books came from libraries. Not bad. Then again, several of these started out as books from the library that I/we went on to purchase.

Wrap-up:

There is always more can be said–genders of authors; but that is pretty much a mug’s game–and perhaps I have forgotten something I wanted to count or add but oh well. I have straightened out some categories to track for 2017–things to make life easier, or at least I hope. I already have two posts re books in 2017 up but at least one more will be coming.

Brown – Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown

Date read: 05 December 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc, 2016nfc

Cover image of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown

Paperback, 240 pages
Published 2014 by First Second
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Teen Graphic Novel BROWN BOX]

I quite enjoyed it. Very quick read but informative nonetheless. The simple line drawings work well.

I never really got into pro wrestling when a kid or later. I did see some of it on TV when young and it looked so fake; I found roller derby far more exciting and even that seemed pretty hokey. And I could only watch either when the parents weren’t home.

I do remember in late 1986 as we drove into the state of Pennsylvania on our way to my new duty station of Carlisle Barracks, we heard a news report on the radio that the PA state senate had just wrapped up a $10,000 study into whether or not pro wrestling was fake, which I thought was widespread knowledge already. I laughed my ass off at my new state and wondered what that boded for the next couple of years. Turns out it was quite the mixed bag in central PA.

The line drawings really carry the story, showing both action and emotion very well.

Andre the Giant was in many ways larger-than-life but this shows him as one of us, as one more lonely being trying to make it through all of the shit the world throws at him.

Highly recommended.

This is the 50th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 25th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Samanci – Dare to disappoint

Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey by Özge Samanci

Date read: 03 October 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc, 2016nfc

Cover image of Dare to disappoint: growing up in Turkey by Özge Samanci

Paperback, 190 pages
Published 2015 by Margaret Ferguson (Farrar Straus Giroux)
Source: Deschutes Public Library (via Jefferson County Library District) [YG Samanci]

This is a memoir and graphic novel of self-discovery, along with being a (very) quick) overview of (recent) Turkish history and society. I quite enjoyed it and learned a good bit.

Summary: “Growing up on the Aegean Coast, Ozge loved the sea and imagined a life of adventure while her parents and society demanded predictability. Her dad expected Ozge, like her sister, to become an engineer. She tried to hear her own voice over his and the religious and militaristic tensions of Turkey and the conflicts between secularism and fundamentalism. Could she be a scuba diver like Jacques Cousteau? A stage actress? Would it be possible to please everyone including herself?

In her unpredictable and funny graphic memoir, Ozge recounts her story using inventive collages, weaving together images of the sea, politics, science, and friendship.”

Contents:

  1. The Other Side
  2. First-Grade Teacher
  3. Ataturk
  4. To Die For
  5. Pink Ruler
  6. Single Channel
  7. Istanbul
  8. Zero
  9. Approval
  10. Broken Radio
  11. Hunting Ground
  12. Potato
  13. Sun Behind the Clouds
  14. In Between
  15. Beginning

The author, who is also the illustrator, uses several different techniques, sometimes mixing them in the same panel, to get the story across. I liked that; gave it a bit of the homemade feel, and also like it was a child/young woman telling the tale.

Recommended for young adults and above.

The author blogs a daily image at http://www.ordinarycomics.com/

This is the 46th book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 23rd book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Ottaviani & Wicks – Primates

Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviano and Maris Wicks

Date read: 26 August 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc 2016nfc

Cover image from Primates: The fearless science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Gladikas by Jim Ottaviano and Maris Wicks

Hardback, 140 pages
Published 2013 by First Second
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Teen Graphic Novel OTTAVIANI JIM]

I really enjoyed this book, as I have the previous two Ottaviano books I have read: Feynman and The Imitation Game [Sorry, no actual review of Feynman.]  I have pretty much all other of his books on my to read list now.

This book tells the story of three fearless women: Jane Goodall and her chimpanzee research, Dian Fossey and her research into mountain gorillas, and of Biruté Galdikas and her research on orangutans. The book has four sections, in that order, with the fourth being on the three of them together. [All links in this paragraph to Wikipedia.]

All three women were protégés of Louis Leakey and they all became preeminent ethologists although they all started with little in the way of formal academic “qualifications.” In fact, all three made discoveries—repeated, recorded observations really [which is what much “discovery” consists of]—that radically changed how we think of ourselves and some of our closest relatives, much less the behavior and intelligence—tool use, anyone?—of animals in general.

The book is considered a young adult book but I fail to see why that is the case. Anyone older can certainly learn a great deal from this book and also appreciate it at the same time. But I guess it alerts us to the fact that it is appropriate for that age group and that is cool.

An afterword from the author discusses the fact versus fictionalized narrative issues, while the book ends with a picture of all three renowned scientists together, a bibliography and a colophon.

The artwork is in one sense fairly simplified but it is also extremely effective at relating the story. What I mean is that facial and body expression is used more prominently than over-detailed extraneous visual details. Thus, much of the rest is as minimal as needed to effectively help move the narrative along. I think the artwork is exceptionally done overall!

Highly recommended! For every one.

This is the 43rd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 21st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

 

Ottaviani & Purvis – The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis (illustrator)

Date read: 15-16 August 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc, 2016nfc

Cover image of The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded by Jim Ottaviani & Leland Purvis

Hardback, 234 pages
Published 2016 by Abrams ComicArts
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [QA 29 .T8 O772 2016]

 

I enjoyed this, just as I enjoyed Ottaviani’s Feynman, which I read in 2012. I also just marked most of his books as To Read in Goodreads.

“I still work as a librarian by day, but stay up late writing comics about scientists.”

I didn’t know he was a librarian too!

Aha! That’s right. “He now works at the University of Michigan Library as coordinator of Deep Blue, the university’s institutional repository.[1][2]” [per Wikipedia].

The book consists of some prefatory material, 222 pages of graphic novel, an author’s note a bit over a page long, an annotated 3-page bibliography and recommended reading, and 6-pages of notes and references.

The graphic novel proper consists of the following sections: “Universal Computing” (pp. 1-66), “Top Secret Ultra” [think Bletchley Park] (pp. 67-152), and “The Imitation Game” (pp. 153-222) [links are to Wikipedia].

Highly recommended! If you know about Turing, and have, like me, perhaps read his papers on universal computing and the imitation game (philosophy and applied computer science undergrad), then this is still a great resource with all of the notes and references to specific works that might be of particular interest to you.

If you know little to nothing about Turing then this is a great introduction. Far better even than the recent (2014) movie, The Imitation Game, with Cumberbatch and Knightley. The presence of actual citations and sources are the basis for this claim.

This is the 41st book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

This is the 20th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

This is actually way past 20 nonfiction books for me this year; I simply have failed at reviewing quite a few, or finishing reviews, which is essentially the same thing. Many were started.

Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend

Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)( Best hikes near series) by Lizann Dunegan
Date read: 6 April 2015 – 5 June 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Image of the cover of Lizann Dunegan's Best Hikes Near Bend

Paperback, viii, 223 pages
Published 2014 by FalconGuides
Source: Own

This one took me a while, primarily due to one or two very long reading breaks. It is actually a fairly quick read, if one were to read it cover-to-cover like I did.

Bottom line: Highly recommended for hiking in the vicinity of Bend.

The book is “endorsed” by the American Hiking Society, as their emblem is on the cover, but I can find no other info in the book regarding such agency. No idea if they are the premier US hiking organization or fall somewhere else on the spectrum. http://www.americanhiking.org/

The book contains 40 hikes around the Bend area. And, yes, Pilot Butte is hike #1, as it should be [Haven’t talked about the butte here in a while, have I?].

Here is the map used to show you what that means:

Image of the map showing region covered as near Bend.

There is also a short introduction with some [but not much] information on weather, flora and fauna, wilderness restrictions/regulations; a how to use this guide section; a trail finder which covers waterfalls, great views, for children, for dogs, streams, lakes, nature, and history.

Next comes the 40 hikes and then a 23-page section called the Art of Hiking, which covers the following: trail etiquette, getting into shape, preparedness [water, treating water, food, shelter, finding a campsite], first aid [general, sunburn, blisters, insect bites and stings, ticks, poison ivy, oak and sumac, snakebites, dehydration, heat exhaustion, hypothermia, frostbite, altitude sickness (AMS), Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)]; natural hazards [lightning, bears, mountain lions, other considerations]; navigation [maps, compasses, GPS, pedometers]; trip planning with checklists for day hikes and overnight trips; equipment [clothes, footwear, hiking poles, backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, cellphones; hiking with children, hiking with your dog; and an index.

Each hike has an overview which covers why you might be interested, what else you will see, etc. Then there is a big box with all of the important info summarized (start, distance, hiking time, difficulty (and why), trail surface, best season, ….

Then there is a more fleshed out description and photos, followed by a clear map of the hike, miles and directions [turn-by-turn, if you will], options and hike information.

I found the format to be clear and highly useful. I have done a few of these hikes but I look forward to doing several more; hopefully soon for one or two. The author also does a good job in the text of telling us where we need mosquito/insect repellent.

Highly recommended if looking for a hiking guide book of trails “near” Bend. Use the scan of the map above to determine whether they are near enough to Bend for you.

This is the 19th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Hoffman – Survival Lessons

Survival lessons by Alice Hoffman

Date read: 18-19 March 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Cover image of Survival lessons by Alice Hoffman

Hardback, viii, 85 pages
Published 2013 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Source: Deschutes Public Library via Jefferson County Library [616.99 Hoffman]

This is a book with highly divergent reviews. Some find it uplifting, delightful, beautifully written, and so on. Others find it trite and written from a position of privilege. I would say it is all those things and more, both good and bad.

It was written as a survivor, 15 years after Hoffman was diagnosed breast cancer, as you read about in the preface.

It is a small book that can be quickly read, which is what I did. In that manner, it very easily seems trite. But if you truly need this book—which, in effect, is trying to teach you how not only to be a survivor but to thrive doing so—then you ought read it slow. Read a section at a time. Ponder what your own answers to the topic might be. Don’t just embrace hers. Not everyone needs a puppy. Then act on them. In that way, the book would become much much more and could, in fact, be life changing. But only as a catalyst; one must still choose and act. That was always the answer.

Contents:

  • Preface
  • Choose Your Heroes
  • Choose to Enjoy Yourself
  • Choose Your Friends
  • Choose Whose Advice to Take
  • Choose Your Relatives
  • Choose How to Spend Your Time
  • Choose to Plan for the Future
  • Choose to Love Who You Are
  • Choose to Accept Sorrow
  • Choose to Dream
  • Choose Something New
  • Choose to Give In to Yourself
  • Choose to Make Things Beautiful
  • Choose to Tell Your Own Story
  • Choose to Forgive
  • Choose to Claim Your Past
  • Choose to Be Yourself
  • Choose to Share
  • Choose Love
  • Choose the Evidence

Each section is between two and seven pages long, and the book includes a brownie recipe and instructions for knitting a hat.

One main comment regarding the book is that you do not need to be fighting cancer or trying to survive a trauma or whatever your situation may be. These points are all valid for every single person. Your character will come through by what you choose and, more importantly, those choices you actually act on.

Recommended if you need it. But know that simply reading it will be pointless, as quick as that may be. You must invest thought and action. Otherwise it is simply tripe.

This is actually my 19th nonfiction book finished this year but the review for the 18th is taking a bit.

This is the 18th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Delavier’s Core Training Anatomy

Delavier’s Core Training Anatomy by Frédéric Delavier and Michael Gundill

Date read: 01-07 March 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Cover image of Delavier's Core Training Anatomy book

Paperback, 144 pages
Published 2010 by Human Kinetics (“This book is a revised edition of Des Abdos D’Enfer, published in 2010 by Éditions Vigot.” — Half t.p. verso)
Source: Own

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Part 1 20 Steps to Creating the Perfect Core workout Program
  • Part 2 Increase the Visibility of Your Abs
  • Part 3 Basic Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs
  • Part 4 Advanced Exercises and Techniques
  • Part 5 Exercises Using Machines and Accessories
    Part 6 Workout Programs for Abdominal and Core Muscles
  • Exercise Index

While the title of this book claims to be focused on core anatomy I am a bit disappointed in that coverage. It does cover the abs quite well. Of course, the abs are part of the core, and a few of the exercises also strengthen other core muscles, but there is otherwise absolutely no coverage of the other core muscles, or even a discussion of balancing the entire core. That seems odd for a book titled “core.” Perhaps the American publisher hosed the title; in French it is Abs of Hell.

Considering this as a book about the abdominal muscles and their care and keeping, it is quite good.

Part 1 considers 20 questions/factors so that you can either build and focus your own training plans, along with verifying theirs for yourself. Some of these factors are: Set your goals, how many workouts each week, how many sets, how many exercises for each muscle, how many reps per set, rest time between sets, choosing exercises that work for you, and so on. Many of these are pulled apart based on the four possible main goals that are elucidated: strengthening core, losing inches off waist, using as a cardio workout, and improving athletic performance.

Part 2 is a short section focusing on exactly what it says, Increase the Visibility of Your Abs. Not my concern so am happy that the coverage—while good—was short.

Part 3 Basic Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs goes through 17 exercises covering the rectus abdominis, obliques, stability, breathing exercises, stretching the abdominal muscles, the hip flexors, and the low back. Anatomical drawings showing the muscles in use, along with photos of the exercise being performed, really help to understand what is going on. Variations are provided for each exercise, some to make it easier and some to make it more difficult.

Part 4 Advanced Exercises and Techniques discusses isolating the upper from the lower abs and provides 7 exercises for the upper abdominals, lower abdominals, and the obliques.

Part 5 Exercises Using Machines and Accessories discusses home and professional machines and again provides 7 exercises for the upper abdominals, lower abdominals, and the obliques.

Part 6 Workout Programs for Abdominal and Core Muscles provides 8 programs under Six-Pack Programs, 4 under Programs for Well-Being, and 4* under Sport-Specific Core Programs. I put an * for sport-specific because there are actually 19 specific sport programs after 3 more general athletic-enhancing ones. Along with those, most of the programs I listed have a beginning and an advanced version, and sometimes even more. So quite a few programs are provided for the novice or anyone who simply doesn’t want to bother with making their own programs, at least starting out.

An Exercise Index is also provided.

The book is easy to understand and does a good job pointing out dangerous practices and how to do these exercises properly.

Most of the exercises require no equipment as that is where they chose to focus. They do bring a a few bits using hanging bars, stability balls, and a few ab machines but the vast majority are equipment free.

Highly recommended.

I previously reviewed Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy and have been meaning to get around to reading some others.

This is the 16th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

McQuaid – Tasty

Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat by John McQuaid

Date read: 21 February – 05 March 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc, 2016poss

Cover image of Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat by John McQuaid

Hardback, vii, 291 pages
Published 2015 by Scribner
Source: Own. Bought via Amazon July 2015 (released January 2015).

Contents:

  • 1 The Tongue Map
  • 2 The Birth of Flavor in Five Meals
  • 3 The Bitter Gene
  • 4 Flavor Cultures
  • 5 The Seduction
  • 6 Gusto and Disgust
  • 7 Quest for Fire
  • 8 The Great Bombardment
  • 9 The DNA of Deliciousness
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

1 The Tongue Map

Covers the origin and spread of the infamous tongue map.

Edwin G. Boring, in his “magisterial survey of the science of the human senses,” Sensation and Perception in the History of Experimental Psychology (1942), reviewed an experiment (1901) by David P. Hänig (2):

“He [Hänig] found the threshold for detecting each taste varied around the edge of the tongue. The tip, for example, was more sensitive to sweetness and to salt than was the base.

It wasn’t clear what this meant—if anything—and the differences were very small. But Boring found this notion interesting and went to some lengths to illustrate it. He borrowed the data from Hänig’s study and turned it into a graph. The graph was just a visual aid; it had no units, and its curves were impressionistic. But the result was that—perhaps to dramatize the point, or perhaps inadvertently—Boring made small difference in perception appear huge.

The wayward chart became the basis for a famous diagram of the tongue, divided into zones for each taste: …. Linda Bartoshuk, a professor of psychology who has studied the map’s origins, believes it came about through a game of “telephone”: First, Boring exaggerated Hänig’s findings. Then researchers and textbook editors misinterpreted Boring’s graph, using the peaks of its curves to label specific areas on the tongue. A final round of confusion produced a diagram with taste boundaries clearer than those on a world map” (2-3).

“The old diagram has lost much of its cachet in recent years. But it still lingers in some areas of the culinary world, including coffee and wine tasting, which value tradition and continuity as much as science” (4).

The chapter goes on to explain the research that has proved the tongue map wrong and also discusses some other topics, such as the development of taste in children. We learn that  flavor science made great strides in the 20th century, and is progressing with astonishing speed in 21st.

Beginning early on, I found it quite interesting, but the endnotes are that asinine textual selection thing. Grrr.

2 The Birth of Flavor in Five Meals

“The first inklings of flavor appeared as early life-forms began to sense the world around them and the taste of nutrients floating by in seawater excited primitive nervous systems. … Five ancient meals, each taking place at a turning point in evolutionary history, help explain where the ensue of flavor, and Homo sapiens’ talent for culinary invention, came from” (17).

3 The Bitter Gene

While not exactly a hop head, I do like many bitter foods and drinks and—like most everyone—had to learn to like them. As a serious beer drinker, homebrewer, student of brewing, friend of hop growers, …, I am especially interested in bitterness and its detection.

There is a test to determine if one is a non-taster of bitterness, which includes about a quarter of the US population [PROP test, 6-n-propylthiouracil]. 58

The biology of flavor perception, and particularly bitterness, is crazy intriguing and as we learn more it will only get more so (68-71).

“… the preponderance of them [correlations] indicates that bitter taste biology influences the whole body. Since the DNA of taste receptors was decoded over the last decade, it has been found all over the body: along the digestive tract, in the pancreas and liver, in the brain, and in the testicles. (Smell receptors have also been isolated in the liver, heart, kidneys, sperm, and skin.)” (69).

4 Flavor Cultures [Fermentation]

5 The Seduction [Sweetness]

6 Gusto and Disgust

Brain damage, “wild children,” and other topics to show that “Feeling and observing disgust generate similar patterns of brain activity, and similar feelings” (146) because “Distaste and the “yuck” face are the products of an ancient circuit of firing neurons, blood flow, and neurotransmitter activity in the brain that includes the insula and orbitofrontal cortex. Disgust uses the same circuit.” (145).

“The insula, remember, is also a hub for many of the body’s internal states and feelings. … It also contains a distinct kind of neuron found only in the brains of humans, great apes, elephants, and whales and dolphins” (147).

Which goes to show that, “This means that visceral taste reactions underlie our most sophisticated behavior, animating our thoughts and judgments about everything from politics to money.” 148

7 Quest for Fire [capsaicin]

Quite interesting and includes a good bit on the search for the hottest peppers.

8 The Great Bombardment

Potato chips, fats, flavor’s deep connection to pleasure, and why there’s always room for dessert, among other topics.

9 The DNA of Deliciousness

Gastroscience, new mappings of the flavor space, and umami.

Wrap-up

I know I could’ve done a better job with this review but I want to re-read it in the not too distant future anyway. I also need to go back and get the sources I marked and read those. So it is what it is. Take my word, very intriguing.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone interested in our senses of taste, aroma and flavor, but especially for anyone seriously tasting (and/or judging) beer, wine, coffee, etc.

This is the 15th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

This book also is one of my 2016poss books.

Thug Kitchen Party Grub

Thug Kitchen Party Grub (TK2) by Thug Kitchen

Date read: 29 February – 02 March 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Cover image of Thug Kitchen Party Grub

Hardback, xv, 240 pages
Published 2015 by Rodale
Source: Own; Barnes & Noble

Warning: This book and review contains curse words and dope references. Move along if either of those offends you.

This book is the shit! My son and daughter-in-law turned us on to the first book from Thug Kitchen, Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck, which we also own, around Thanksgiving 2014. Seeing as that [this one too] is totally a vegetarian and vegan cookbook, and neither of them are and they were raving about it, we gave it a chance. We haven’t honestly used it a lot but we both loved its attitude. [Looks like I need to read through the first book; according to Goodreads I only browsed a library copy but we do own it.]

Sara grabbed this new one a week ago when we were at Barnes & Noble for a local author reading. It is awesome! And we have already used it.

The attitude is almost over-the-top but stops shy of completing the arc. Now, if you can’t take cursing then stay the fuck away. And if you think, “Hey, I’m a loner/introvert/non-partier/etc.,” then no worries—we think that about ourselves also—then this book is still for you (x):

Image from page 10 of Thug Kitchen Party Grub

Contents

  • Picture This Shit
  • Wake and Bake: Badass Breakfasts and Bougie Brunches
  • Pre-Party Like a Fucking Champ: Small Bites, Dips, and Stuff to Throw in Bowls
  • Dress to Impress: Salads, Sauces, and Sides
  • Bon Appétit Motherfucker: Potluck Staples and Main Dishes
  • Spin the Bottle: Desserts, Drinks, and Sides of Sweetness
  • Quick and Dirty
  • Thanks
  • Index

Oh, clearly, the authors are stoners or at least trying to rope in that crowd too. If you’re not you may well miss the references; but if you can get them and they bother you then also stay the fuck away.

We both found lots of good sounding, and pragmatically doable, recipes in this book with a lot of overlap. I am an omnivore but the wife is vegetarian, although honestly she is more of a carbohydratarian, by inclination. Thanks to my health issues of the last almost two years, I am eating and cooking a lot more vegetables and more plant-based proteins, along with trying to make myself reasonable amounts of quality meat.

The wife found 22+ recipes she’s interested in and I found 53! I’d say that’s a pretty good ratio and, bonus, across the recipes she and I picked we chose 17 of the same. Score.

One of the tips I already used is in making couscous. Maybe I’ve seen this elsewhere but if so I don’t remember.

“This cooks quickly since technically it’s a pasta, not a grain. Look that shit up if you don’t believe us. Anyway, these mini motherfuckers will be ready in 10 minutes flat. Throw 1 cup couscous in a pot or heatproof bowl with a pinch of salt. Add 1 1/4 cups boiling water, stir, and throw the lid on (or cover the bowl with a plate). No heat under the pot or anything. Let that sit for 8 minutes, then fluff the couscous with a fork and serve. Fucking done” (213).

Worked excellently. Only thing that makes me sad is that even regular pasta is just a tiny bit healthier and I’m not really supposed to be eating that. Sure wish this worked on some of the tinier grains; might have to experiment.

Highly recommended for everyone who wants to eat healthier while entertaining (even if just yourself), but especially if you are an omnivore looking to be just that little bit healthier by incorporating a few more non-animal products into your diet. Also recommended for party people. You know who you are. Just don’t forget this grub is dope for introverts too; you gotta eat something while you binge on that TV show.

The book even contains a few random lifestyle tips. For instance, maybe you do want to push yourself out of your comfort zone but can’t stand the thought of even your few friends nosing through your bathroom. They got some dope advice for that worry (141):

Image from page 141 of Thug Kitchen Party Grub

“The rumors will start themselves!” Ha. I love it.

If any of our local friends are reading, be warned, we’re dreaming up a Thug Kitchen-themed party. If you play nice we’ll let you pick your own recipes from the book to bring. Otherwise we’ll be sending you a recipe and be like, “Bring this shit, motherfuckers!”

This is the 13th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader