Review – The Body Book by Cameron Diaz

the body book by cameron diazAuthor: Cameron Diaz and Sandra Bark

Title: The Body Book

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: 2014 (first pub. 2013)

Genre: Non-Fiction Health

Source: Library

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Lately I have been working a lot harder on trying to improve my health (and lose weight); for me that means reading a lot of ‘health’ books to find out what works best for me.

The Body Book is aimed at women and covers all areas of health including exercise, food and motivation.  Instead of focusing on one specific diet, Cameron Diaz gives the information needed to understand why eating certain foods and doing certain exercise makes such a difference to our health.

Reading parts of this book was like going back to school. Diaz basically gives a biology lesson on how the body works – most of it I already knew but it was nice to have a reminder as it’s been a while since I learnt it.  Through diagrams and charts we are not only taught the parts of the body, but why it is important to keep it healthy and how to do so.  Throughout the book there are also plenty of easy to access charts which make all the information extremely clear.

One thing I loved about The Body Book was the enthusiasm with which Diaz talks about getting healthy.  Despite the awful attempts at sassiness (sorry, but occasionally throwing out a ‘sister’ or ‘ladies’ only makes me cringe), I found the book extremely motivating as it got me excited about becoming healthier, especially through exercise, which is something I really appreciated. Even after finishing the book I am still feeling motivated at living a healthier lifestyle which is exactly what you want from a book like this.

The Body Book is primarily aimed at women and includes a chapter about menstruation and taking care of our lady-bits. However, for the most part I feel this book would be just as effective for men, though they will likely need to adjust some of the numbers to fit their physique.

I wasn’t expecting this to be particularly well written (though at least Diaz makes it clear she had help rather than disguising the fact that it is ghost written), but was pleasantly surprised. While it’s not incredible literature, it serves its purpose in providing a lot of information in an easy to understand format.  I’m not particularly good at remember what I have read in non-fiction books, but as this book focuses more on the intent to become healthier, as well as giving specific advice, I feel much more confident in how to make choices on what I eat, etc.

I would recommend The Body Book to anyone starting to explore living a healthier life as it provides all the basic information you need to make healthier choices.  It is not a dieting book, nor is it a step-by-step how-to, but rather shows how, and more importantly why, to make healthier decisions in day-to-day life.

Teaser Tuesdays (22nd July)

 

teaser tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

What I really want to do is go and check my clothes collection. But I divert myself with my to-do list, which today is a long list of phone numbers.

~p.p. 113 ‘Laura’s Handmade Life: A Novel’ by Amanda Addison

As I looked down to type out the sentences I’d chosen I nearly took them from another paragraph as it started exactly the same – something I never would have noticed without this tag.

Musing Mondays (21st July)

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Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits. 
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s). 
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!  
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it. 
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us! 
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
 
My Musing:

I have just finished reading The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. I have to admit I don’t normally pick books up that are by celebrities (except autobiographies) as I know it’s unlikely they’ve actually written it themselves (yes, this may be a bit snobby of me, but I’m a writer so appreciate the person who wrote the words).  This book isn’t any different except it clearly states the ‘ghost writer’ – Sandra Bark – which is definitely better than trying to imply they had the time and skill to write a book alongside everything else they are doing; though the book is still in first person so it’s impossible to tell how much input Diaz had. I chose to read this book as I read a review on another book blog which piqued my interest, and overall it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, though the style felt a bit generic (I assume this is from trying to meld two voices together to sound like one, but I can’t know if it would’ve been better if only Diaz or Bark had written it).

Do you read books by celebrities?

Review: Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

Allegiant_DemiJacket_WetProofTest.inddTitle: Allegiant (Divergent series #3)

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: Oct 2013

Genre: YA Dystopian

Source: Library

My Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

 

Allegiant is the final of the Divergent trilogy and Tris and Tobias are confronted with more violence and truth, shattering their world once again.

I know I’m in the minority, but I didn’t love the Divergent series. To me, it was just okay – obviously okay enough to read all three books, but nothing stood out to me about this series.  Unfortunately this book lowered my expectations of any future releases by Veronica Roth, and if it wasn’t for the ending I would be rating this book 2/5.

Allegiant is written in both Tris and Tobias’ voices (first person point of view), at least, that’s the intention. Personally it could have all be in the voice of one of them and be more or less the same and I often had to flick back to the beginning of the chapter to check who it was I was reading – this is definitely something you don’t want in a book, as if you are going to write in multiple points of view, each character has to have a distinct voice.  Because they didn’t, it made the characters feel flat and unreal which is a shame as in the previous books didn’t have this problem.

Roth does expand on the character’s histories a lot more in Allegiant. For the most part this was more interesting to read than the current action.  It did occasionally get a little confusing as memories and thoughts and action all reads as the same thing, not to mention thinking I was reading one point of view to suddenly find I had mistaken it, but the past worked as a way for the reader to understand the character’s decisions.  Thankfully Roth managed to include these snippets of the past without straying into information we don’t need, which kept the book succinct and meant we weren’t taken out of the action too much.

I have now read the entire Divergent trilogy, however it has been quite a long time since I read Insurgent (#2) and couldn’t remember much of what happened. I was hoping that Roth would leave a few reminders at the beginning of Allegiant, but no such luck, and so it took me a while to get into the story as I was left struggling to remember what had just happened that had caused the big opening.

Despite the sloppy writing, I found that the book was a page-turner, and quite a quick read which is what I was looking for (as I needed to get back into reading more), even though a lot of it felt quite generic for a YA dystopia.  The only thing about this book that stood out to me was the ending. Obviously I can’t write about that without massive spoilers, but it improved my overall experience of reading this book.

The Divergent series will probably appeal to you if you enjoy YA Dystopia, though I believe there are much better examples of that out there.  The series is great if you are looking for a quick read, or perhaps if you are trying to get a teenager into reading (I would advise you read the books before giving them to a young child to read).  If you have read the first two books, I would recommend reading Allegiant simply for the ending.

International Authors Day Blog Hop 2014

b My favourite author is Cecelia Ahern. I always feel slightly guilty when I admit this, as surely my favourite author should be someone I grew up with such as Enid Blyton or L. M. Montgomery.  Of course it would have been impossible for me to grow up reading Cecelia Ahern, seeing as she is around the same age as me and had her first book published when she was 22.

That takes me to my next worry. I haven’t actually read P. S. I Love You, her first book and by far the most famous; which makes me feel that I’m a fraud in saying she’s my favourite author. But I have read almost all her other books (I think I’m just missing the last one published, but it’s definitely on my TBR list). The only author I’ve read every single book to date by is J. K. Rowling (which mainly consists of the Harry Potter series as I’m sure you know), so I guess if any other author was my favourite I’d have the same worry.

The first Cecelia Ahern book I read was A Place Called Here which I picked up at a charity shop because I recognized her name (from all the publicity around P. S. I Love You which was in cinemas at the time).  A Place Called Here is about the place where all the lost things go, and I knew as I was reading it I’d fallen in love with Ahern.  Her writing is so vibrant and enjoyable; but for me, the reason she stands above all other authors is the unpredictability of her stories.  Every book she writes is completely different, not just from her other books, but from any other books I’ve ever read (and as I’ve read thousands of books so far in my lifetime, that’s a big deal).  Cecelia is an inspiration as a writer, but also in life as it is her books that have not only taught me that life doesn’t usually follow the expected path, but that going the unexpected route can be liberating and yield amazing experiences. Of course, I don’t expect to get the memories from a blood donor, or meet an invisible man, but Ahern’s stories aren’t about those things, they are about people and life and change.

I wasn’t going to do a giveaway, but after writing this I just had to share one of Ahern’s books with one of you (I wish I could send you all one).  So I will be giving away A Place Called Here the first Ahern book I read, and therefore I have the best connection with.  There are no hoops to jump (though of course I would love it if you subscribed to this blog or my Twitter and shared this post) as I want to make it a simple giveaway.  The giveaway is open internationally (as long as I can send mail to you, you can enter) and will be open until July.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was written for the International Author’s Day Blog Hop hosted by Debdatta of b00k r3vi3ws

Teaser Tuesdays (15th July)

teaser tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

I go from being a wilted plant to one that has just been rejuvenated by the rain.  All of my cells fill with water and I become bright and vibrant again.

~p.p. 87 ‘The Body Book’ by Cameron Diaz

 

Review: Poverty and Progress by B. Seebohm Rowntree

Title: Poverty and Progress

Author: B. Seebohm Rowntree

Publisher: Dissertations-G

Published: 1941

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Library

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

In 1936 Seebohm Rowntree conducted a survey in York about the poverty of the population. This was his second survey (the first being in 1889), and this book is his findings.

I decided to read Poverty and Progress because I am very interested in history from a social point of view (how real people lived) and this book was mentioned in a documentary I watched.  The book gave me much more insight into life in the 1930’s than I expected, and covered a lot of areas.

The first part of the book deals mainly with statistics – how much people had to live on, where they acquired that money (wages, benefits, etc), and how many were under the amount calculated to live off.  As well as including the statistics, Rowntree also includes examples taken from notes made during the survey about what type of building people were living in, how many people in the number of rooms, etc.  For me, the most interesting part of this was the information about diet. Not only does Rowntree discuss the percentage of the population under his poverty line, but again, examples are given of what a family ate for a week or two.

The second half of the book mainly discusses how poverty affects the living and social standards of the people in York, as well as making comparisons with the previous survey and discussing what change had occurred over the 40 years.  Personally the section about how people spent their social time was my favourite part of the book as it gave me real insight into how real people lived at that time.  This section of the book was also easier for me to read as it wasn’t so heavy with statistics.

Because the book was not written as a history book, I feel this gives it a unique perspective as it is aimed at people of the time. Therefore I found I didn’t necessarily understand everything discussed (such as certain jobs), and my knowledge of currency at that time is very vague. However, I don’t think that made it any less accessible to me, only more authentic as it wasn’t constantly trying to explain what it’s talking about. I feel that the intended audience of a book can give information about the society it is published in, in addition to the information in the book itself.

While Poverty and Progress is quite an in-depth non-fiction book, I feel that Rowntree’s narrative style makes it much more accessible to those of us who aren’t studying the book for whatever subject at University. The only thing about it I didn’t like was when Rowntree gave his opinion on changes (either positive or negative) in such a way that it reads like fact (for example, when he laments the way young people don’t visit church as often as in the previous survey), as I feel a non-fiction book such as this one shouldn’t include any bias opinion without it being clear that it is just an opinion.

I think that most people probably wouldn’t enjoy reading Poverty and Progress cover to cover unless they have a real interest in life in England in the 1930’s for those in poverty.  While the survey was only taken in York, Rowntree states how York is in comparison to other similar-sized towns in England.  However, I think that anyone with a passing interest in the society of the past would be interested in certain sections of the book.

musingmondays51

Musing Mondays (7th July)

musingmondays51

Musing Mondays is a meme created by MizB at Should be Reading and asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
My Musing:

I have always read for pleasure above all else. At school I hated having to analyse the text as it took all the fun out of reading. And I’m fairly sure that most authors don’t agonize over every single word as if they did, nothing would ever get finished.

I still read for pleasure, but now I have this blog it has changed the way I read ever so slightly. I still don’t like analysing, but now I pay more attention to how I respond to what I’m reading. If there’s something that bugs me, or that I really like, I write it down so I won’t forget it when writing the review later.  Admittedly I’m still learning with this whole writing thoughts down in the middle of reading, but I’m getting there.  I think being a writer helps in a sense as I can usually work out an authors intent in certain parts of the book (or in the book as a whole), and therefore can say whether or not I feel they have achieved that or something completely different. Of course, I am only one reader and anything I write is from my interpretation (if it wasn’t then everyone would like exactly the same things and how boring would that be), and, as I said, I don’t like analysing, so it’s a very vague and personal interpretation.

If you have a book blog has it changed the way you read? Do you prefer to analyse everything in a book, or take it as a whole?

 

Wondrous Words Wednesday (2nd July)

wondrous2

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at BermudaOnions Weblog where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. Feel free to get creative! If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

This week my two words are both from Poverty and Progress by B. S. Rowntree, which I have finally finished:

Quinquennium – A period of 5 years (after finding out the explanation, I suddenly feel dumb not working it out).

Charing – In the book I got the impression it was a job, and apparently a ‘charwoman’ was someone who was hired to clean and tidy a house.  However, when I looked it up it had other meanings – to burn or scorch; to reduce to carbon or charcoal.