Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Reviews: Slums, Joy and Anti-Cancer

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

I cannot rave enough about Katherine Boo's book. Boo is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist married to an Indian. She has spent years writing about poverty in the States and wanted to write about the poor in India but didn't for years because of her health (she has terrible rheumatoid arthritis among other things). One day she tripped over a dictionary in her apartment and decided while laying on her floor is she could get injured in her apartment then the slums couldn't be much worse. She spent years with translators in the slums listening to these stories and recording their lives. This story focuses around the drama of people living in Annawadi, a slum behind the airport in Mumbai. The politics and corruption come through to the nth degree in the slum and the book highlights how poverty isn't a problem that will disappear even with the right agencies involved or programs started (one sentence mentioned a World Vision worker than ran away with money that was supposed to go for a school). It reads like a fiction story but is completely non-fiction. The lives of these people astound me. And I want to move to India.

Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson

I'm only counting this as a book I read because I literally read every word of it. I've been obsessed with Joy for awhile now and love her blog. My best fried pre-ordered this as a Christmas present for me and getting it in February made my week! She offers helpful hints for substitutions and great instructions. The pictures are gorgeous too. I'm carefully selecting my first recipe to make out of this sometime soon.

Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber

If I could make pretty much everyone I know read this book I think I would. Schreiber was diagnosed with a brain tumor while conducting his own research on brain functioning and doing CT scans. He was then diagnosed again with a reoccurance 7 years later. At that point he realized he could not keep living the way he was an survive much longer. He "changed his terrain". He brings up how Western medicine is best for curing short term problems but there is so much more that needs to change with someone faces a chronic problem, such as cancer or heart disease. It's about both treating and preventing cancer, because like he says "everyone has cancerous cells in their body but not everyone gets cancer." One of the first things he says is to go ahead and do conventional treatment but also do anything else you can for your own health. He writes a summary of all the research he did regarding cancer treatment and prevention. He gives lists of foods to eat to help prevent cancer, advises on decreasing anxiety and meditating, keeping active and decreasing your exposure to cancer-causing environmental agents. I really recommend this.

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