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Friday, May 31, 2013

June is Men's Health Month

      It’s always the right time to improve your health and look and feel younger; here are a few books to help men meet these goals.

      Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha: a Real World Guide to an Unreal World, written by fitness experts John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein, introduces the reader to a program that will safely and naturally produce more testosterone. This increase allows you to lose weight, increase muscle size, improve sexual performance and enhance brain function.

     The Life Plan: How any Man Can Achieve Lasting Health, Great Sex, and a Stronger, Leaner Body, written by Jeffry S. Life, a medical doctor who is 70+ years-old and a prime example of the rewards to be gained when you follow this book’s program. The program’s precepts include exercise, healthy diet, nutrient supplements, and male hormone replacement; a guide to all of these is provided.

     Flat Belly Diet! For Men: Real Food, Real Men, Real Flat Abs, written by Liz Vaccariello and D. Milton Stokes, shows how diet and exercise can enable you to get rid of that gut. The diet includes plenty of fiber to fill you up and protein to boost testosterone production, and recommends the use of monounsaturated fatty acids that is thought to target belly fat. It also includes easy-to-do exercises and stress reduction techniques that contribute to building a muscular, fit physique, better health and more energy.

   The Eat-Clean Diet for Men: Your Ironclad Plan to a Lean Physique, written by Robert Kennedy and Tosca Reno, is a modification of the original Eat-Clean Diet book but designed specifically for men. Learn to follow this diet without having to count calories or exclude food groups. Instruction is given on assessing your body’s needs for improvement; lists of food beneficial in losing or gaining weight are accompanied by recipes, shopping tips, and more.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Afternoon Book Discussions

     Join us once a month, on a Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, to discuss a fiction or non-fiction book selection. Coffee, tea and cookies are served. Books are available at the Circulation Desk four weeks before the discussion date. Our schedule is:

July 17th
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, written by Stieg Larsson
Salander is plotting her revenge – against the man who tried to kill her; and against the government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. But it’s not going to be easy, as she’s in Intensive Care under close supervision

August 21st
The Language of Flowers: a Novel, written by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Discovering the symbolic meanings of flowers while languishing in the foster-care system, eighteen-year-old Victoria is hired by a florist when her talent for helping others is discovered, a situation that leads her to confront a painful secret from her past

September 18th
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: a Savannah Story, written by John Berendt
In charming, beautiful, and wealthy old-South Savannah, Georgia, the local bad boy is shot dead inside of the opulent mansion of a gay antiques dealer, and a gripping trial follows

October 16th
The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island, written by Linda Greenlaw
The author details her return to Isle au Haut, a tiny Maine island with a population of seventy year-round residents, many of whom are her relatives, to describe small-town life in a lobster-fishing village

November 20th
The Lost City of Z: a Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, written by David Grann
Interweaves the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who vanished during a 1925 expedition into the Amazon, with the author’s own quest to uncover the mysteries surrounding Fawcett’s final journey and the secrets of what lies deep in the Amazon jungle

December 18th
The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A young man, newly rich, tries to recapture the past and win back his former love, despite the fact that she has married

Wide Sargasso Sea

     Here’s a different view of the “madwoman” in the book Jane Eyre. Author Jean Rhys, a Caribbean/British mid-twentieth century novelist, presents her version of Antoinette Bertha Cosway, born into a wealthy white Jamaican family fallen on hard times. The first part of the book is narrated by the young Antoinette. Her widowed mother is too self-absorbed to raise her; Antoinette is tended to by Christophine, a native servant. Slavery has recently ended in Jamaica, and some of the former slaveholding families are belittled and bullied; Antoinette’s family among them. After the mother remarries, there is a downward spiral in which she becomes increasingly insane. Antoinette is sent off to a convent school, during which time her mother dies.

     Part two is narrated by both Antoinette and Mr. Rochester. When Antoinette returns home from the convent, a marriage is arranged between her and Rochester by her stepfather. Rochester is not the sympathetic character we see in Jane Eyre. Emphasis is put upon his lust for both Antoinette’s dowry and her physical self. Their marriage deteriorates as Rochester puts stock in rumors about the insanity streak that runs through her family tree. Antoinette is bewildered and seeks a magical cure from Christophine so that Rochester will “love” her again.

     Part three is narrated by an increasingly bizarre Antoinette, now in England and locked in the attic with a servant to guard her and virtually ignored by Rochester. She is completely out of touch with reality. We are given the impression that Antoinette jumps to her death during the fire, as she does in Jane Eyre.

     Rhys’s viewpoint leads the reader to realize Antoinette as a fully fleshed-out individual, capable of love even though she didn’t receive much during the course of her life and with her freedom limited, almost to the point of being a slave. We see that Antoinette’s life is as tragic as that of Jane Eyre’s, except that Jane is able to attain equality by the end of her story and Antoinette’s release only can come through death.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Daddy's Gone a Hunting

   Mary Higgins Clark, the mistress of romantic suspense, has produced yet another novel featuring a young woman entangled in a dangerous situation. By now we know that the heroine will survive and succeed through the use of her intelligence and high moral standards. But it’s always fun to let the momentum of the plot (short chapters, rotation of characters narrating the story) and lushly descriptive settings create an exciting reading experience.

     In this story, Hannah Connelly is beside herself with worry when her twin sister Kate is found in the explosion/fire of their family’s antique reproduction factory building, along with Gus, a disgruntled craftsman, now retired. Gus is killed and Kate is critically injured. Did Gus cause the massive destruction? Kate? Who else could it be? The reader eventually finds out; also, two other minor mystery plots involving missing persons are featured and the solutions brought to light. We get three mysteries for the price of one.