Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Mrs Smith Reads”

Mrs Smith Reads The End of Illness by David B. Agus, M.D.; The Metabolism Advantage by John Berardi, PhD, CSCS and The New ME Diet by Jade Teta, ND, CSCS & Keoni Teta, ND, LAc, CSCS, Plus Bonus Review, The Weight of the Nation on HBO, #CBR4 Reviews, #13, #14, #15


I’m combining three book reviews plus a documentary review into one post as they all deal with similar subject matter—namely health, fitness, diet and obesity. Be warned, it’s a bit long and somewhat personal, but hopefully not in a bad way…

Loathe as I am to admit it, in less than six months, I will be 50 years old. I don’t feel old, and I’m often told I do not look my age, which I really appreciate because I’m having a hard time thinking of myself as being “middle-aged.” Though I have been an avid excerciser since my 20s, and have instructed group fitness classes for the last ten years, I definitely can’t do as much of, or the same types of exercise as I used to do. Over the last five years, my weight has climbed, probably more due to stress and uncertainty than strictly bad eating habits but it has taken a toll on my overall fitness, strength and agility. Since my family has had no health insurance for over six years, and it doesn’t seem likely we will have it again any time soon, I decided I needed to take better control of my health and I knew that I had some antithetical habits that needed correcting. I’m a long-time expert at dieting and can lose 20 pounds just by cutting back on calories and alcohol, though it takes longer and longer to do as I get older, and now, those pesky pounds always come right back as soon as I find myself in another stressful situation, which these days, is pretty much all the time. I found myself ready to make a more steadfast change.

The End of Illness by David B. Agus, M.D.

The Metabolism Advantage by John Berardi, PhD, CSCS

The New ME Diet by Jade Teta, ND, CSCS and Keoni Teta, ND, LAc, CSCS

Mrs Smith Reads Shame by Karin Alvtegen, #CBR4 Review #12

If I had read Shame by Karin Alvtegen before I read her novel Missing, I would never have read another thing by her. I hated this book and found it left a very bad taste in my mouth when I got to the end.

Shame tells the stories of two Swedish women, Maj-Britt, a morbidly obese woman who lives alone and relies on care workers to provide for all of her needs, and Monika, a well-respected doctor with no self-esteem or personal life. Each is living with the burden of an assumed responsibility for the death of a loved one, which causes them constant mental dispair and crippling shame and leads them both to life decisions which only serve to push them to reject the good things that come into their lives as they believe themselves to be wholly undeserving.

Shame by Karin Alvtegen

Mrs Smith Reads Missing by Karin Alvtegen, #CBR4 Review #11

Sybilla isn’t your every day homeless person. She made a choice to be indigent, to live off the social grid and ignore her wealthy parents and their luxurious lifestyle.

Missing begins as we meet Sybilla, casually drinking a glass of wine in the bar of the Grand Hotel in Stockholm. She appears to be a well-cared for and successful businesswoman and it’s a disguise that will enable her to cadge a room for the night—a warm shower, a soft bed and a place to relax and enjoy the little pleasures that most homeless people could never even dream of. Sybilla engineers a meeting with a travelling businessman who’s staying at the hotel and pretends to lose her wallet so he will buy her dinner and secure her a room for the night. He is, of course hopeful that she might reciprocate with some sexy times, but Sybilla has done this before and knows how to handle the situation with a minimum of embarrassment for either party. It’s a successfully executed ruse, but in the morning, her benefactor is found dead and mutilated in his hotel room and the staff all remember her being with him. When the police come knocking, Sybilla has to get out quick, and thus begins the tale.

Missing by Karen Alvtegen

Mrs Smith Reads The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks, #CBR4 Review #7


”[…] That’s my score to date.  Three.  I haven’t killed anybody for years, and I don’t intend to ever again.  It was just a stage I was going through.”

The Wasp Factory is a hard book to review. You might already know about the big reveal at the end, as it was first published way back in 1984 and it’s a popular art school illustration assignment, as well has having been rewritten as a play, produced in the UK in 2008. When I read it the first time, around 1994, I had no idea. To this day, it is one of my favorite books and will probably always be in my Top 10, but it’s not a story that’s easy to summarize or explain. My well-worn copy has this review from the Irish Times.

It is a sick, sick world when the confidence and investment of an astute firm of publishers is justified by a work of unparallelled depravity. There is no denying the bizarre fertility of the author’s imagination: his brilliant dialogue, his cruel humour, his repellent inventiveness. The majority of the literate public, however, will be relieved that only reviewers are obliged to look at any of it.

As well as this one, from the Mail on Sunday.

If a nastier, more vicious or distasteful novel appears this spring, I shall be surprised. But there is unlikely to be a better one either. You can hardly breathe for fear of missing a symbol, or a fine phrase, or a horror so chilling that your hair stands on end. Infinitely painful to read, grotesque but human, these pages have a total reality rare in fiction. A mighty imagination has arrived on the scene.

If you’re like me, you are thinking, “I’ve got to read this book.” but The Wasp Factory is not for everyone.

Mrs Smith Reads The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

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