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Yoga for Warriors: Basic Training in Strength, Resilience & Peace of Mind

Beryl Bender Birch. Sounds True, $19.95 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-62203-348-5

After a friend asked yoga expert Birch (Power Yoga)—who was living in New York City on September 11, 2001—if she could help 9/11 victims and their families, Birch was surprised to discover the benefits of yoga for people suffering from PTSD. Noting that even the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration have identified yoga as a tool for managing stress, Birch presents a program tailored to the needs of PTSD sufferers and veterans. Readers will learn the benefits—pain relief, mindfulness, greater relaxation, improved sleep, greater mental clarity, and more—that can come from regular yoga practice; clear instructions for poses are accompanied by photos to ensure proper technique. Novices will appreciate Birch’s admonitions to manage expectations before attempting more challenging poses, while more experienced followers will find guidance for advanced variations. In a calm and patient tone, Birch frequently acknowledges potential fears and stumbling blocks, and encourages readers to push forward. Even readers without PTSD will find this to be a warm and welcoming introduction to an ancient discipline that can yield lifelong benefits. Photos. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The HD Diet: Achieve Lifelong Weight Loss with Chia Seeds and Other Hydrophilic Foods

Keren Gilbert. Rodale, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-62336-293-5

Though a diet promising permanent weight loss by eating hydrophilic (“water-loving”) foods sounds like another fad, nutritionist Gilbert’s plan turns out to be quite sane: eat fruits and vegetables, and cut back on sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. What sets Gilbert’s plan apart is her emphasis on soluble fiber, which soaks up water in your intestines and keeps blood sugar steady and hunger at bay, while promoting good digestive health. Because of this emphasis, the book’s 12-week program may seem complicated. Dieters will have to remember that onions and zucchini are “high-hydro,” while eggplant and cauliflower are simply “hydro-friendly.” However, Gilbert’s can-do attitude is infectious, and interviews with her clients make the process more relatable. Those wary of chia seeds and agar will find plenty of recipes for inspiration. Gilbert’s sample meal plans allow for plenty of “freebies,” such as a hearty “Good Decisions Soup” and vanilla chia pudding to satisfy sweet tooths. Readers will appreciate helpful chapters on the importance of decision-making and commitment; Gilbert stresses that weight loss is as much about mind set as it is about diet. Agent: Mel Flashman, Trident Media Group. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog

Grant Peterson. Workman, $13.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-7611-8054-8

Combining a low-carb diet, advice usually given to diabetics, and common sense, Peterson’s low-cost approach to wellness offers well-worn concepts in an easily digestible form. Over the course of 100-plus mini-chapters, Peterson (Just Ride) shows readers how to take better control of their health by drastically reducing their carb intake while upping their protein intake, exercising (though not jogging), recalibrating their taste buds, and learning to manage their glucose levels—all to stave off diabetes and minimize weight (and fat) gain. Avid consumers of diet and exercise books, magazines, and TV shows will find few new ideas; many of Peterson’s exercises—such as pull-ups, squat-thrusts, sit-ups, and kettlebell routines—are standard. Though tips such as cutting back on salt, eating oily fish, and avoiding sugars certainly won’t do readers any harm, those looking for an innovative approach will likely leave wanting. Would-be gym rats with a low tolerance for reading—most chapters are barely a page—are the most likely to enjoy this breezy approach to fitness. Illus. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys

Steven Raichlen. Workman, $22.95 (656p) ISBN 978-0-7611-6644-3

Raichlen’s 30th cookbook is not exactly reaching out to a new audience. Over the past 16 years, with tomes like The Barbecue Bible and TV shows like Primal Grill, his masculine sensibility of cooking with fire has been hard to miss. However, give or take a blowtorch, there is little here that would be deemed inappropriate for a miss, though he does pump up his prose with references to, or recipes from, V for Vendetta, Oliver Platt, Eisenhower, Stanley Tucci, and Chairman Mao. With over 300 recipes, it would be easier to list what is not offered: doughnuts and sushi, which Raichlen deems “better at bakeries and restaurants,” and also cupcakes, which he somehow believes “aren’t really guy food.” That means a hungry man is left to choose from an armada of burgers, chops, and steaks, as well as chili, fried turkey, five-hour duck, pasta, soups, seafood, quinoa pilaf, and candied bacon sundaes. Interviews with major foodies of the male persuasion are sprinkled throughout the text. Despite bearing the unfortunate slug Food Dude, these are easily digestible and provide the reader with, for instance, Michael Pollan’s favorite go-to dish, and Thomas Keller’s first food memory. (June)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Revolutionary Pizza

Dmitri Syrkin-Nikolau. Page Street, $19.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-62414-050-1

Chicago’s Dimo’s Pizza has developed a cult following due to its innovative approach to pizza making, offering pie-based versions of fish and chips, chicken and waffles, and the Chicago hot dog, in addition to classics like pepperoni, sausage and cheese pizzas. Syrkin-Nikolau and his co-conspirators take readers behind the counter to share the secrets for their imaginative platters of cheesy, yeast-based goodness. He’s serious about his pizzas and wants readers to appreciate the work that goes into them. The book is even dedicated to “all those who have slaved away in a kitchen preparing food, selflessly and without praise, so that others may enjoy it.” Pizzas like the Cure, designed with the hung-over in mind, combines ingredients typically found in a Bloody Mary with pepperoni, cheese, and olives to help revelers make it through the day, and the Steak ’n’ Eggs’ combination of grilled steak, scrambled eggs, and home fries offer a hearty take on breakfast. There’s also much more than novelty going on: the Argyle, a spicy Asian pizza topped with marinated tofu, lemongrass, and peanut satay, and Jamaican jerk chicken pies are worth checking flights to Chicago. A must-have for anyone serious about their pizza. (July)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, and Lots of Creamy Italian Classics

Chloe Coscarelli. Atria, $19.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-4767-3607-5

Cheese and creamy sauces are a staple in classical Italian cooking, making it a huge challenge for vegans. Coscarelli (Chloe’s Kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts) does the near impossible by offering delicious vegan versions of Italian classics with inventive twists that will please and satisfy. She also provides menu ideas and suggestions for gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free substitutions. Many recipes include notes or make-ahead tips that will help busy or new cooks. Butternut bruschetta with caramelized onions, and herbed risotto cakes with arrabbiata dipping sauce are simply scrumptious. Artichoke hash browns, braised kale with pine nuts and cranberries, and pomegranate roasted brussels sprouts offer smart and appealing variations of everyday veggies. Pasta, always a main Italian staple, is equally appetizing in Coscarelli’s hands including artichoke pesto pasta salad and white lasagna with butternut squash and spinach. She also includes appetizing soups and salads. Heirloom tomato toast, simple yet so appealing, and meatball sliders made with brown rice and mushrooms will appeal to any palate, while Chloe’s Rawsagna, a raw lasagna with pine nut ricotta and sun-dried tomato sauce is just stunning. Desserts such as Florentine bar cookies, Nutella cinnamon rolls, and banana coffee cupcakes are also sure to gratify. Filled with old favorites and new dishes sure to become mealtime staples, this collection will delight vegans, vegetarians, and all those looking to eat healthier meals. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The Pizza Bible

Tony Gemignani. Ten Speed, $29.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60774-605-8

With résumé credentials such as Guinness Book of World Records holder for creating the largest pizza, and president of something called the World Pizza Champions, it would be easy to not take Gemignani seriously. But given the content of this collection of more than 100 recipes, this would be a mistake. He approaches the craft of making pizza dough with the same intelligence and expertise as that of a pro brew master concocting an artisanal ale. In the opening section, he teaches a master class of crust, exploring everything from the proper flour and yeast and kneading and fermenting to the correct technique for moving a pie from countertop to oven. He makes no apologies for the precision found in weighing ingredients using metric measurements, though he is perhaps owed one from the designer who decided to list recipe ingredients in narrow, left-hand margins that sometimes, confusingly, run on for more than one page. Pizza styles from across the country and around the world are touched upon, so there is plenty to love and to hate. Beyond the classic opposites, New York thin crust and Chicago deep dish, there are sweet California options like a multigrain white pie drizzled with honey, and a Monterey Jack pizza topped with figs and roasted almonds. The sauce for a Barcelona pie contains Spanish saffron threads, and his Sardinian recipe calls for a regional pecorino cheese. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The Baking Bible

Rose Levy Beranbaum. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40 (576p) ISBN 978-1-118-33861-2

Beranbaum, a veteran cookbook author and baker, divides this worthy tome into four sections: Cakes; Pies, Tarts, and Other Pastries; Cookies and Candy; Breads and Yeast Pastries. All recipes include weights and volume for ingredients, and the author’s “Golden Rules” give readers essential baking information, such as why one should always use fresh baking powder and high-quality unsalted butter. “Highlights for Success” boxes are filled with inventive and helpful tips including freezing berries on branches. Classic recipes—think pumpkin pecan pie—are aplenty, but first-time recipes and unusual selections such as the author’s Pink Pearl Lady Cake, Cadillac Café’s milk chocolate bread pudding, and an Amish BlueRhu pie make this title a must-have gem. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia

Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr. Univ. of North Carolina, $39.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4696-1822-7

Ritchie, founder and producer of NPR’s the Thistle & Shamrock, and Orr, founder of the Swannanoa Gathering music workshops, strike all the right chords in this pleasantly tuneful survey of the history of the evolution of Scottish music in Appalachia. The authors allow musicians and storytellers—ranging from Appalachian singer and dulcimer player Jean Ritchie and North Carolina storyteller Sheila Kay Adams to Doc Watson and former Carolina Chocolate Drops member Dom Flemons—to chronicle the tales of this rich tradition in their own words; thus, Ritchie, known as “The Mother of Folk” shares her story of growing up in eastern Kentucky singing the ballads she learned from her community and her family and bringing insight into the centuries-old ballad tradition through her own insights into the music. Chock-full of photographs, 60 black and white and 64 color, Ritchie and Orr take us on a journey from the rich musical traditions in various regions of Scotland to the voyage of the music from Scotland to Ulster and then across the ocean, where music permeates the daily lives of the wayfarers, and finally to the migrations and settlement in a new land, where the immigrants’ music meets and mingles with other traditions. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Unretirement: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life

Chris Farrell. Bloomsbury, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-62040-157-6

Business writer Farrell (The New Frugality), a contributing editor for Businessweek, certainly touches the zeitgeist with his latest book. Retirement is a dirty word for many older Americans, who identify strongly with work; they abhor the idea of getting old and being put out to pasture. Since Americans live longer, there is a time gap between the workplace and the grave. Mass retirement is a relatively new phenomenon, with the forever-young baby boomers now reaching the age of 65 and older. Relentlessly upbeat, Farrell stresses the wisdom and insights of age in the workplace. You won’t hear much about infirmity or dementia. Farrell urges senior “pushback” instead; a weak chapter on fighting old-age stereotypes only reinforces the book’s fragile propositions. Farrell offers sound financial advice and tips on how to navigate change, though his giddy macro-theme of “unretirement” and his would-be unretirement movement—starting new careers or entrepreneurial ventures, volunteering—seem closer to fantasy than not. However, for older workers at a loss for ideas and eager to postpone the inevitable, Farrell’s how-to-cope book will provide a comforting road map and set of possibilities. Agent: Joelle Delbourgo, Joelle Delbourgo Associates. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 07/18/2014 | Details & Permalink

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