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Landscapes of Change: Innovative Designs and Reinvented Sites

Roxi Thoren. Timber, $34.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-60469-386-7

In a time of global urbanization, ecological degradation, and human disconnect from natural systems, this encouraging book examines how cutting-edge 21st-century landscape designers are drawing on disciplines of art, science, and city planning to create useful, livable landscape designs that delightfully enhance urban life. Thoren profiles 25 sites from 12 countries, organized by theme—infrastructure, postindustrial landscapes, vegetated architecture, edible landscapes, and urbanism. She notes in the introduction that the sites are so skillfully designed that they exploit multiple tactics: the incorporation of already existing trees, permeable pavers, and a portable plant nursery into the Marco Polo Airport Car Park in Mestre, Italy, creates a human-friendly parking infrastructure while maintaining ecological functions. The Haute Deûle River Banks in Lille, France, on the site of former canals and a cotton factory, repurposes the factory into mixed residential and commercial use and transforms canals into water gardens that revive the function and beauty of the original marshlands. Landscape architects and urban dwellers alike will find pleasure and hope in these imaginative integrations of nature and city. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After

Sophia Dembling. Perigee, $15 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-399-17061-4

Dembling (The Introvert’s Way) tackles the pitfalls of dating and relationships for the introspective and sometimes socially awkward. Claiming that no magic formula exists for choosing a mate, she describes for introverts the benefits of dating fellow introverts vs. those of dating extroverts. For instance, she claims, introvert couples are happy to “do things alone together,” whereas an extrovert can be relied upon by an introvert to do “most of the heavy lifting conversation-wise” in social situations. On meeting potential partners, Dembling insists on widening your social circle, saying yes to “any invitations that don’t sound unbearable” and cultivating an approachable body language. Other suggestions include joining a group like a book club or yoga class, and of course, using the Internet, “the introvert dater’s best friend.” Dembling also lays out the pros and cons of a variety of dating venues, from the traditional dinner and a movie to the quirkier flea market or street fair. She cautions readers against a passivity that may lead to settling for less or being manipulated into uncomfortable situations, and advises being direct but casual in communicating your needs. With introversion reaching buzzword status, this book may attract an audience, but the advice is largely common sense and widely available in other relationship guides. Agent: Penny Nelson, Manus & Associates. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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It Takes a Family: A Cooperative Approach to Lasting Sobriety

Debra Jay. Hazelden, $15.95 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-1-61649-534-3

Jay (Love First), an alcohol and drug counselor, presents a plan she calls “Structured Family Recovery,” which aims to bring family members together into a supportive, cohesive team. The book begins by asking why, according to Jay, 50%–90% of alcoholics and addicts relapse in the first year after treatment. Jay addresses the complex ramifications of the disease of addiction and reveals how the addict’s brain is altered by this physical and “spiritual” sickness. To create an effective family-centered, continuing-care approach, she draws on the Physician Health Program (a successful plan used to treat addicted physicians), arguing that this “gold standard of treatment” should be available to all. At the core of Jay’s program is a weekly phone conference among family members, to which the addict is invited once the group is firmly established. Other essential elements include enrollment in a 12-step program and attendance at meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon (for alcoholics’ family members), or another appropriate support group. Jay clearly explains how to run a conference call, come up with discussion topics for a year of meetings, and form cooperative family partnerships to support loved ones on the recovery path in this valuable addition to the literature on addiction. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The DODO Diet: Rapid Results, Permanent Fat Loss and Indulgent Days Off

Drew Price. Vermilion (IPG, dist.), $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-09-195479-6

Price, a London nutritionist whose clients include professional athletes and Olympic medalists, presents a program of intermittent fasting—or “IF”—as a panacea for a range of health- and excess weight-related woes. The secret to such mindful fasting, he says, consists of the physiological responses it triggers, which lead to fat loss; decreased instances of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease; and a slowing-down of the ageing process. The plan offers three different approaches, depending upon your primary goal: losing weight, increasing athletic performance, or improving overall health. General tips on navigating the day on, day off (DODO) nature of the diet in the short- and long-term, 70 pages of recipes, and a section on exercise, sleep, and stress cement the book’s comprehensive tone. The minutiae of the biochemistry behind the program’s success sometimes bogs it down (Price himself acknowledges this and tells readers how to leapfrog over it), but the information is sound and intriguing. Those looking for a genuinely workable way to improve their health will not be disappointed. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The DASH Diet Younger You: Shed 20 Years—and Pounds— in Just 10 Weeks

Marla Heller. Grand Central, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4555-5453-9

The latest in dietician Heller’s DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) series (The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook) ably serves as an addition to her expanding product line, but offers few new diet ideas. Ambitious claims of being able to decrease inflammation, rejuvenate your sex life, and reduce chances of a heart attack and cancer, not to mention reverse hypertension in 14 days, are based on what’s essentially common knowledge: exercise, cut back on sugar and salt, avoid processed foods, exercise, meditate, and get a good night’s sleep. Once she’s made her case, Heller moves on to what a DASH diet looks: eating plans for vegetarians and meat eaters alike and recipes for healthy staples like curried chicken salad and barley risotto with butternut squash. None include nutrition information or portion suggestions, an odd oversight for a dietician, but her dishes do have the virtues of all being from scratch, fairly easy to source and assemble, and not reliant on low-fat or overly processed ingredients, so dieters could certainly do worse. DASH devotees will welcome this sequel, but healthy lifestyle aficionados may want to look elsewhere. Agent: Laurie Bernstein, Side by Side Literary Productions (Jan.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The Autoimmune Solution: A Revolutionary Plan to Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Symptoms and Diseases

Amy Myers. HarperOne, $27.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-234747-3

Functional medicine physician Myers, who once suffered from Graves’ disease, claims that conventional medicine has failed the more than 50 million Americans with autoimmune diseases, which include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. The “Myers Way” relies on the “four pillars”: healing the gut (80% of the immune system, she notes, is located there); cutting out gluten; detoxifying the body; and dealing with infections (e.g., Epstein-Barr) and stress. Gluten, says Myers, causes inflammation and encourages leaky gut syndrome: avoid it, she advises, “like the plague” (in its hybridized state this is not the gluten, she explains, of our ancestors). Myers includes a 30-day meal plan for readers with autoimmune problems, replacing “inflammatory” ingredients like sugar, legumes, eggs, grains, and dairy with protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. In an appendix, she also includes a symptom tracker to help readers chart their progress. Though Myers’s protocol requires discipline (particularly difficult for vegetarians), those with autoimmune issues should welcome this helpful and hopeful resource from a physician who walks her talk. Agent: Stephanie Tade, Stephanie Tade Agency. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The Mother of All Meltdowns: Real Stories of Moms’ Finest (Worst, Completely Awful Moments)

Edited by Crysal Ponti. MommiFried Press, $9.99 trade paper (226p) ISBN 978-0-9899553-1-7

A collection of parenting humor pieces drawn from real-life experience brings together 30 authors from the prolific mommy blogosphere on the topic of the adult tantrum. As shown here, this kind of spontaneous emotional explosion can occur at home, in the car, in the grocery store, or anytime when life becomes too much. Most of the crises come from everyday troubles, like broken glass, smeared poop, and shattered Lego models, though a few notable pieces, including Michelle Nahom’s essay about having a critically ill child and Kristi Rieger Campbell’s touching self-exploration about having a child on the autism spectrum, tackle more serious concerns. Nearly all these bloggers are well-versed in the art of self-deprecation, and any one of the stories should draw sympathetic chuckles from women trying to forgive themselves for lapses in their cool in the face of daily frustrations. The anthology does, however, suffer from a narrowly middle-class, suburban perspective that makes it feel repetitive while missing an opportunity to celebrate the universality of parenting across geographic, ethnic, and social class lines. Though these expressions of maternal frustration are slight, they may provide a moment of understanding just when it’s most needed. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The Good Sleeper: The Essential Guide to Sleep for Your Baby—and You

Janet Krone Kennedy. Holt McDougal, $16 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9943-0

Psychologist Kennedy was an expert on adult insomnia when she had her first child. Aware that she would not be able to function without a reasonable amount of sleep, she developed a method of getting her own children to sleep as well. She shares that method, discussing sleeping locations, colic, and bedtime routine. Kennedy warns parents against allowing their offspring to become overtired, because once this has happened it’s hard for children to recover and get the “tons of sleep... they need.” She also addresses special circumstances like siblings sharing rooms and jet lag. Proposing “authoritative parenting” (rather than attachment parenting), Kennedy is making an argument about more than infant rest. She believes that children need to learn to cope with “normal discomforts like boredom” without parental coddling; otherwise, they won’t turn into well-adjusted adults. This approach is sure to draw strong reactions from the mommy-blogosphere, whether it’s ire from moms who like to sleep in the same bed as baby, or praise from exhausted parents who will no doubt be eager to try Kennedy’s program. Agent: Meg Thompson, Einstein Thompson Agency. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep—Newborn to School Age

Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright. Tarcher/Penguin, $16.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-16602-0

In this guide to encouraging healthy sleep patterns in children, psychotherapist Turgeon and parenting group leader Wright write for those parents who would rather be told that their kids should “get smart” than “get tough.” Solid information on children’s brain development and physiology supports a clear and systematic “attunement” philosophy that strikes a happy balance between “cry it out” and “overhelping.” Maintaining that kids are built to sleep, Turgeon and Wright claim that parental attempts to rock, bounce, and breast-feed babies to slumber can inhibit this essential skill development. Their methods focus on letting the child see the parent as a reliable presence, while still putting baby in charge of actually going to sleep. These include the “Soothing Ladder,” which encourages using minimal intervention techniques to help babies re-establish sleep after normal nighttime wake-ups, and the “Sleep Wave,” a simple but meticulous check-in routine. Different approaches are given for kids up to age six, making this a manual that will grow with the child. Turgeon and Wright’s compassionate but firm system reminds parents that even the smallest infants are already learners, and to be more cognizant of what they want to teach. Agent: Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency LLC. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Good Mother, Bad Mother

Gina Ford. Trafalgar Sq. Books, $19.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-09-195496-3

British baby routine guru Ford (The New Contented Little Baby Book) interweaves what feels like two separate books, even if both point toward the same idea: loving mothering is always good mothering, independent of the details. One section focuses on women’s relationships with their mothers and consists of an emotional, if not especially insightful, tribute to Ford’s own mother. Ford traces their bond from her childhood, when the family struggled financially, through an unconventional adult relationship, to the grief of caring for her mother on her deathbed. The other section is addressed to new mothers and consists of Ford’s insights into the difficulties they face, gleaned from decades of work as a maternity nurse (she has no children herself). Ford places particular emphasis on the pressures exerted by mothers, mothers-in-law, peers, and the culture at large. Setting herself against this mood of “unnerving criticism and competition,” she emphatically affirms that working, bottle-feeding, daycare-using moms are doing perfectly fine. By way of anecdotal demonstration, Ford includes dozens of interviews with mothers of young children, though these tend to be overlong and under-edited. Her established fans may feel comforted by Ford’s reaffirming words, but despite her reputation as an expert, Ford has little new to say about the ravages of the “mommy wars.” (Jan.)

Reviewed on 10/17/2014 | Details & Permalink

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