Showing posts with label stephen yafa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stephen yafa. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hey, It's Nonfiction November!

Happy November, reader friends!  I hope you didn't forget that this month means NONFICTION NOVEMBER!  :)

Last year, I had a ton of fun participating in this event.  While I don't think I am going to get much nonfiction reading done this month (based on how my library hold list currently looks...my own fault!), I still want to jump in and post during NFN where I can, because it really reignited my love for nonfiction books when I took part last year.

This week's host is Kim over at Sophisticated Dorkiness, so please stop by!  Here's the prompt for the week:

Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What is one topic or type of nonfiction you haven’t read enough of yet? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Let's start with my favorite nonfiction book of 2015 (so far).  That's a tough call!  I'd have to say it's a tie between Missoula by Jon Krakauer, and Dead Wake by Erik Larson.  Both are truly exceptional in their own way.

As for the nonfiction book I've recommended the most (at least from my 2015 reads), other than the 2 faves above, I think it's been Grain of Truth by Stephen Yafa.  I have several friends with gluten allergies and/or sensitivities, and that book was a very enlightening read for me on the subject.  I've recommended it to both gluten-free and non-gluten-free eaters, because I think it sheds a lot of light on a topic that is often regarded as "just a trend" by the non-GF eaters.

A nonfiction topic I haven't read enough of yet...hmmm.  I've covered a lot of nonfiction areas, but one that I have a lot of interest in (even though I've yet to read much of it) is medical nonfiction.  Examples would be the Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, Stiff by Mary Roach, or On Immunity by Eula Bass.  (All three have been on my TBR list for ages!)

What do I hope to get out of Nonfiction November this year?  Well, as I mentioned above, I probably won't be able to read a lot of ACTUAL nonfiction this month (and I'm quite sad about it!).  However, when I participated last year, just talking about nonfiction with other NF lovers made me so very excited to dive into some new titles, and my nonfiction TBR list went through the roof as I read through the other blogs that were involved.  So I suppose I hope to spread the nonfiction love, and get plenty of new nonfiction inspiration for myself.  :)

What's your favorite nonfiction read of 2015 been thus far?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

GIVEAWAY! Grain of Truth by Stephen Yafa


Title: Stephen Yafa
Author: Stephen Yafa
Publisher: Avery
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source: copy received from the publisher for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads

No topic in nutrition is more controversial than wheat. While mega-sellers like Grain Brain and Wheat Belly suggest that wheat may be the new asbestos, Stephen Yafa finds that it has been wrongly demonized. His revealing book sets the record straight, breaking down the botany of the wheat plant we’ve hijacked for our own use, the science of nutrition and digestion, the effects of mass production on our health, and questions about gluten and fiber— all to point us towards a better, richer diet.

Wheat may be the most important food in human history, reaching from ancient times to General Mills. Yafa tours commercial factories where the needs of mass production trump the primacy of nutrition, and reports on the artisan grain revolution. From a Woodstock-like Kneading Conference to nutrition labs to a boutique bakery and pasta maker’s workshop in Brooklyn, he also finds that there may in fact be a perfect source of wheat-based nutrition. Its name is sourdough.

For readers of Salt Sugar Fat and The Omnivore's DilemmaGrain of Truth smoothly blends science, history, biology, economics, and nutrition to give us back our daily bread.


My Review:

This book was of interest to me because, of course, I am a bit of a food science nerd.  However, I also have several friends who are gluten sensitive and/or have celiac disease, so my curiosity was heightened more than usual.  I often get annoyed by people who go gluten-free without having any particular health reason to do so, but more because they are following the latest diet fad.  Doesn't this make things a little harder for the people who actually can't eat gluten, but are now taken less seriously because of all the bandwagon jumpers?  (I have heard a counterpoint to this though, I believe from Heather at Capricious Reader--that it makes life easier for celiacs, because there are more gluten-free options now, given heightened demand.  So I suppose it could go either way.)  Anyway, as soon as I read the description for Stephen Yafa's journalistic approach to this topic, I knew I had to give it a go.

First, I really enjoyed Yafa's lighthearted tone throughout the book.  He obviously did a lot of well-rounded, in-depth research for this project, but his voice has a levity that will keep readers engaged.  Everybody likes a well-timed bread joke, right?  Yafa's more casual, personable tone makes his narrative stand out from that of other food science writers (ie. Michael Pollan (not that I don't think you are personable or funny, Michael Pollan, you know I am a groupie for life)).

Yafa does begin the book by exploring the trend towards gluten-free--who is doing it because they need to, and who is doing it because it just seems healthier.  From there, he gets to the real meat of it (wheat of it?)--is an avoidance of gluten really going to make you healthier?  And while people with celiac really must avoid wheat at all costs, is there anything that people with gluten sensitivity (less serious than celiac) can do to incorporate wheat into their diets safely?

Yafa's findings are extremely interesting.  I won't go through all the conclusions here (I'll make you read the book, of course!), but he uncovered a lot of scientific studies about gluten sensitivity that could be real game-changers in the gluten-free movement in the coming years.  I'll give a warning that some of the heavily scientific chapters towards the middle can get a tad dry, making my head spin with all the talk of proteases and amino acids and microbiomes.  That said, it's all good information--just not the type of reading I would do if you're not prepared to be fully steeped in the book for a while.  (My "I'll just read for a while before bed, even though I've been up since 5am, but I'm sure I can stay focused!" routine was not always a good one.)

Anyone with celiac's disease or gluten sensitivity--I highly recommend this for you.  But obviously, the appeal for this book goes beyond that (since I'm about as gluten-unfree as they come).  Foodies, lovers of foodie non-fiction, and really anybody who wants a better understanding of what they're eating, are sure to find something fascinating between these pages.

Are any of my loyal blog readers gluten-free?  By necessity, or by choice?  How do you think this book would influence your daily diet (if at all)?

Avery Books has generously offered to give away a copy of Grain of Truth to one of my lucky readers!  Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  US entrants only please.  Ends May 21!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Monday, and I promise I'm reading!


Hello, reader friends!  I know, I know...not a lot of bookish goodness around here lately!  As the mileage has increased for my half marathon training, reading/blogging time has gotten tight.  But I promise that I AM reading!  And I have so many good books on the horizon.  I figured it was high time to update you on my literary life.

As always, I was super jealous of everyone participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon this past weekend...I hoped to be able to do it this time around, but then my race happened and I knew I wouldn't be able to swing it.  Maybe in the fall?  FINALLY?!?

I recently finished...

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova

This book was excellent!  It follows the lives of a family when they find out that their patriarch (Joe O'Brien) has Huntington's disease.  HD is autosomal dominant, which means that if one parent has it, each child has a 50% chance of getting it as well.  The O'Briens struggle to come to terms with both Joe's diagnosis, as well as what this means for each of their individual futures.  I have enjoyed two of Genova's previous novels, and this one did not disappoint either.  Reviewing soon!

I am currently reading...

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

I just started it, so not much to say yet, but here's a plot summary from Goodreads for you:

While his successful wife goes off to her law office each day, Simon Connolly takes care of their kids, Jake and Laney. Now that they are in high school, the angst-ridden father should feel more relaxed, but he doesn't. He’s seen the statistics, read the headlines. And now, his darkest fear is coming true. There has been a shooting at school. 

Simon races to the rendezvous point, where he’s forced to wait. Do they know who did it? How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are led out of the room to reunite with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone.
As his worst nightmare unfolds, and Jake is the only child missing, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for mistakes he must have made, for the reason everything came to this. Where is Jake? What happened in those final moments? Is it possible he doesn’t really know his son? Or he knows him better than he thought?

My review is coming next week for TLC Book Tours!

I will soon be reading...

Grain of Truth by Stephen Yafa
I was recently offered a copy of this for review, and I could not resist the idea of some solid food science nonfic right now!

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
Picked up from the library this week because I totes cannot turn down Gaiman short stories.

Lots of books to keep me busy around here!  Hope you all are having as much luck with your reading choices lately as I am.

What are you reading this week?
 
Imagination Designs