Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Beat: Does this book make my butt look fat?

I've been planning to post a big old book beat that covers a lot of the reading I've done this summer (and it's more than you might imagine for a mother of a newborn, NTB, but mostly because of my audiobook addiction and my ability to read while nursing). I don't think I'm up for the task so I will just give you this post, inspired by my viewing of Biggest Loser Families and composed in my head during the two plus hours it just took to get Little Bit to settle down for a good night's sleep.

Loyal readers know that I love to eat, shop for, talk about, and think about food. I also like to read about food. So, here they are . . . MEP's recent reads that involve eating or (not) eating:

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation by Elizabeth Berg
I love Elizabeth Berg and believe we could be friends were we ever to meet (and we could meet, as she does live in Chicago or maybe Oak Park). Her books are comfortable and pleasurable events for me. Many of the short stories in this collection feature women on and off diets. A couple of the stories make explicit references to Weight Watchers, which I enjoyed as I have counted points from time to time (though never attended meetings). Here are two passages from two different stories that I enjoyed:

Here's one:
“All the way to Panera, Laura has told herself not to get the bread as a side, get the apple. But when she gets there, she goes right ahead and gets the bread.”

I love this one because I tell myself the same thing before I go to Panera. Get the soup and salad pick two, but don't eat the bread. Don't eat the bread. But then I always get the bread, spread butter on the bread, and eat the bread. And, because Panera serves Pepsi products, I wash it all down with a Dr. Pepper.

Here's another:
“Skinny people look at fat people with disgust and have visions of them stretched out on fuchsia-colored silk sofas snarfing down Cool Ranch Doritos and Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, but it isn’t like that.”

I just love any literary reference to "Cool Ranch Doritos."

Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir by Jennette Fulda
I am somewhat addicted to weight loss stories and found this one to be especially thoughtful as well as humorous. Fulda's weight loss is inspiring but her commentary on society and obesity is really insightful and not exactly what I expected to read (in a good way). Also, great title. Plus, Fulda's memoir started as a blog, which is pretty cool.

Through Thick and Thin by Alison Pace
This is a novel about two sisters and their efforts to work through some issues, lose some weight, and restore their relationship. I really enjoyed this novel, a breezy read but not one that lacks substance. I especially appreciated Pace's pop culture references, which I found right on and totally delightful. For example, one of Pace's main characters names her dog DB Sweeney after the lead actor in The Cutting Edge. I love that movie and love that she included that detail. Also, this novel makes me want to get a dog and try yoga. Wow.

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody
Diablo Cody is famous now for writing the screenplay for Juno and for her Entertainment Weekly column. Candy Girl is her memoir of a year spent working as a stripper--for the challenge, for the personal satisfaction, as a social experiment, likely for writing fodder, and also for cash. I learned more about stripping and the sex industry than I ever knew I wanted to know and some things I'd prefer not to know. Cody is witty and has an eye for detail. I returned the book to the library before I could copy down one of my favorite passages, but basically it involved her description of gyrating in front of a man wearing a manwich-stained flannel shirt. See, manwich. Another book about food.

Okay, that's all for now. I need to be rested for when Little Bit needs to eat next.


LAP said...

Toe pick.

PastaQueen said...

Glad you liked it! I'll have to check out some of those other books.

CaraBee said...

Okay, the parallel lives connection continues. The book I have on my bedside table waiting to be read: Moose, A Memoir of Fat Camp. I'll let you know what I think. Also, Dr. Pepper is the nectar of the gods. Seriously. If I could pump it in intravenously, I would, but then I'd miss out on the 23 flavors and that would suck. Btw, I ALWAYS get the bread. Always. I may go there now, just to get the bread.

Actchy said...

While I am always tempted by your rec's, I'm gong to skip each of these for now. Have I mentioned that my otherwise perfectly sweet OB has told me I can only gain 20lbs during pregnancy? TWENTY POUNDS? What on earth? This is what they told my mom in the 1970s. And also the suggested gain for those women who were severely overweight prior to pregnancy, a category that doesn't include me. And yet he keeps telling me this, and most notably when I go and see him three days after a vacation that involved daily sticky buns and ice cream cones.

MEP said...

LAP -- Yes, Doug can read.

Pasta Queen -- Wow, thanks for stopping by! It's not often (or ever!) that authors of books featured on NTB actually comment upon my mini-reviews!

CaraBee -- Would it scare you to know that I have been waiting for my turn for Moose at the library for three weeks now! Dr. Pepper is truly awesome. It's the only soda that I will not drink in diet form, which is odd since so many people claim it tastes more like the regular version than any other diet drink does.

Actchy -- I will tell you again that your OB is a nut with regard to weight gain, especially since you are very tall and not overweight AT ALL. I "only" gained 35 pounds with Little Bit and my doctor seemed proud of me.

Anonymous said...

During the two day power outtage, I enjoyed numerous warm Dr. Peppers and reaquainted myself with books on tape.NTB m

Anonymous said...

I always love your recommendations and now consider you my reading resource. The library absolutely overwhelms me....I like to just go in there and ask for the books that you recommend. Love it!

Anonymous said...

I could not survive my communtes here in Tidewater without audio books, and it's the only reading I do right now too since I fall asleep as soon as I open a regular book these days! Also, when I go to Panera, I usually get a pick 2 with a soup, sandwich, AND bread--apparently the bread from the sandwich just isn't enough for me:)
L. Reyes

msh said...

first off, i am outraged by the 20lbs. OB. OUTRAGED! i gained over 40 pounds with eli and (gratefully) no one ever made me feel bad about it! what happens happens and your body does what it does! so there's that! (i don't know why this topic always gets me fired up, but it does. everytime.)
books! i've never read any elizabeth berg, so i will add her to my list. and "candy girl" is on reserve for me at the library, so i'm glad you liked it--even with all the stripping. and this book has nothing to do with food at all--though maybe it does because i've been craving indian food the whole time i've been reading it--but just wanted to recommend "the namesake" by jhumpa lahiri. i'm obsessed with this book, almost neglecting my kids to read it!

cake said...

i too am outraged by the 20lbs. so, i know this comment is for actchy, but i felt compelled. it is my firm belief that you should focus on feeding yourself very well during your pregnancy. sure, it is a good idea to eat nutritional food, make every calorie count and all that, but you can't be worrying about weight gain. you need to eat quality food, and lots of it.

ok. nuf said.

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