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My Book Reading


Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner - (review just published; superb)

Agent in Place - Mark Greaney (Gray Man thriller, review up)

The Saboteur - Paul Kix (review up)

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer (review published)

Operator Down - Brad Taylor (reviewed)

Robicheaux - James Lee Burke (outstanding, of course, and written about)

National Security - Marc Cameron (reviewed)

Red Sparrow - Jason Matthews (phenomenal)

The Terminal List - Jack Carr (great debut novel)

Book Towns - Alex Johnson (dream destinations)

The Deceivers - Alex Berenson (completed)

Greeks Bearing Gifts - Philip Kerr (reading now)

Podcast Favorites

Joe Rogan Experience #1058 Dec. 28 2017 . Nina Teicholz


Big Yoga - A Simple Guide for Bigger Bodies by Meera Patricia Kerr 

I’m cautiously tackling Big Yoga. When I read the forward by Dean Ornish, I was surprised to find myself agreeing with him about the benefits of yoga. Happily he didn’t go off on any anti-meat, vegetarian rants, so I was ok. As I was told by a person nicer than myself, a book supportive of overweight women who want to know how to practice yoga, who likely feel left out in the first place, is a good idea. Maybe it’s a first step towards further health and fitness for these ladies; certainly becoming involved is far better than staying home. In my past I've taken yoga classes, and enjoyed them more than I anticipated. They proved to be good for me physically and mentally. I approached Big Yoga with an open mind.

Reading Kerr’s book reveals that she actually put together an entry-level yoga program helpful to anyone new to the practice. Her advice is timeless, useful and encompassing. An array of helpful photos bring the moves and positions familiar to yoga people to life for those most likely to pick up Big Yoga. If you’re new to yoga and to fitness, this guide will assist you in easily entering what probably felt like a forbidden world.

$17.95, paperback, Square One Publishers


Carolann Ames - Laurel Canyon Road 

Amazing vocals; gave me shivers. All original songs, what’s really expected these days, but also lyrics that peek inside Ames. I enjoy this record; it’s calming yet engaging at the same time. Even if you’re not a listen-to-the-words person, I know you’ll like the sound of Carolann Ames. Pretty doesn’t do this music justice.


The New Atkins For A New You Cookbook by Colette Heimowitz

I lived for years on a modified version of the Atkins diet, felt good and enjoyed eating that way. It was easy and logical to be active in the gym, on the bike, and in life. Since then I’ve constantly modified how I eat, based upon athletic needs (CrossFit today, bodybuilding and powerlifting and cycling in the past), and today eat Paleo. But I have affection and respect for the Atkins style of eating, and feel it’s unfairly maligned by those who don’t understand it, and have not given it enough of an opportunity.

This new book provides 200 recipes, all low-carb, flavorful, and most important in our society, simple and quick to prepare. If you are interested in low-carb food preparation, perhaps tired of the same dozen meals you’ve been eating over and over, get out a cutting board sharp knife, and dig into The New Atkins For A New You Cookbook.

Touchstone, $19.99


Chubster: A Hipster's Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool by Martin Cizmar

“At its core, the Chubster plan is built around calorie counting and enjoyable exercise.”

I’m good with half of that equation, taken from the press release for Chubster.

Let me lay the premise of Chubster out for you: the author was at least 100 pounds overweight, but didn’t want to join a gym or become involved in any organized program to lose weight and get into shape. He considered himself cool, a hipster (Goodwill shopping for clothing, hip footwear), but wanted to preserve what he considered his lifestyle while getting into shape (I’d call being at least 100 pounds overweight life threatening, but that’s just me). 

Much of the advice in Chubster is fine, if unoriginal. But that’s ok, as clearly there are millions of people in the U.S. who aren’t getting the message, aren’t putting the pieces of knowledge together to help themselves. If Cizmar’s smart-ass attitude helps them understand they should move around in life more, and stop shoveling crap into their mouths, all the better.

paperback, $13.95, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


The Complete Record Cover Collection by R. Crumb

Crumb is a long-time force in American popular culture. Those of us old enough to remember the 1960s and underground comics (comix), retain a fondness for the era. Rock music was shaping itself in a different, less commercial way via albums and underground radio, and formative rock’n’roll magazines were distributed by hippies carrying backpacks (Crawdaddy, Creem, Chicago Seed, etc.). The comic book world was changing dramatically - Archie, Marvel and DC suddenly had competition for the teenage and older audiences. Artists were emerging from every major metropolitan area and college town, self-publishing or becoming involved with small presses (the legendary Kitchen Sink Press, for example). This was an exciting time, and R. Crumb was squarely in the middle of it all.

Crumb quickly became known for his comix - Mr. Natural, the Grateful Dead coming out as fans, legendary big women, setting himself apart from the pack. He was a bit of a recluse, as well, giving few interviews, keeping to himself and being prolific with his art. But he jumped from the underground comic world to the mainstream with his dramatic cover art for the first Big Brother & the Holding Company (Janis Joplin) album. After that his career as an artist seemed to take off in a more mainstream manner, if that word can be applied to Crumb. 

Music is where I always felt R. Crumb showed his true passions. He clearly loved old blues and jazz music. In the 1970s his band, R. Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders, recorded and released interesting, compelling records with blues, ballads, and old standards. My memory is weak on this, and I could research but am not going to today, but I think he even put out some 78 rpm platters). Find a copy of one of Crumb’s calendars from a few years ago devoted to Paramount Records labels and ephemera. They are classics (John Tefteller at Blues Images publishes them, and continues today with amazing blues calendars and CDs today).

Over the decades Crumb has created more record album covers than he probably remembers; certainly a hell of a lot more than I would have thought. The Complete Record Cover Collection compiles all of them - 450 in all! Paging through the beautiful square-bound book (the die-cut cover is so great, reminiscent of a record album), my nostalgia hit top gear. But this is more than a wandering journey down memory lane. Crumb produced amazing, creative illustrations. I found myself taking a long time with much of this; I’d estimate a good third are album covers I hadn’t seen before, or didn’t realize were his work. Amazing stuff.

Fans and appreciators of old, classic blues music, 78 rpm records, American popular culture, and the best graphic art, will treasure The Complete Record Cover Collection by R. Crumb.

W.W. Norton, $25.95