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My Book Reading

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly  (completed)

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

Killing Floor by Lee Child   (completed)

   (1997, Reacher's first appearance)

Sticky Fingers - The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan


The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone (Dey St. Books, just completed, full review just published)

Double Agent Celery: MI5's Crooked Hero by Carolinda Witt (pen-and-sword books)

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (1980, the book that started the franchise, just completerd)

The Take by Christopher Reich (Mulholland Books)

Podcast Favorites

Kara Swisher's Recode Decode this week is an interesting conversation with Tina Brown. Using the publication of her new Vanity Fair Diaries as a starting point, they examine Brown's publishing career, notably her wonderful runs with Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Then they dive into the internet age, how it's changing the publishing world, Brown's start-up of The Daily Beast, followed by venting about Facebook today. Swisher puts together the best intervierw/talk with Brown I've heard since her book was published. Brown was consistently creating some of the best magazines in the world, at a time when that mattered.

Rich Roll's podcast is one I've discovered recently, and I'm working to catch up. Here are two don't-miss episodes:

Fogel is the star of, the producer of, the man behind Icarus. If you've not watched this documentary, exclusively streaming on Netflix, get to it! Of all the interviews I've read and heard with Fogel, Roll brings out the most interesting perspective. It's a fabulous listening experience.


Lance Armstrong needs no introduction. I don't care whether you admire or dislike him, his wealth of experience and new perspective on many matters is worth listening to. Me, I think he's one of the finest athletes ever.


Paleo Cookbooks Keep On Comin'

Make It Paleo II by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley

Maintaining their established standards for stunning photography, bringing food alive on the printed page, Mason and Staley have once again created an instant classic of a cookbook. If your kitchen bookcase is full, select a book you never use, put it somewhere else, and make room for Make It Paleo II.

Simply put, each time you flip this book open your eyes will widen, and you’ll think you can smell and taste what you see and read! Taste buds will awaken, senses will be alive, as you feast yourself on these recipes.

I’m tired of Paleo as a religion, I dislike Paleo junk food and desserts, yet at the same time I enjoy my food tasting great. Make It Paleo II overwhelmingly devotes itself to flavor and health in an indulgent manner. The recipes are easy to follow, ingredients are logical and available (if I can find them up here in north-east Wisconsin, so can you). I cannot wait to spill food on the pages while the book is open in the kitchen. 

Make It Paleo II is essential for your library.

Victory Belt, $34.95

The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook by Diana and Andrew Rodgers

Spring is coming to the Midwest, one of these days. Winter still has us in it’s grip, but the sun has some bite and days are longer. Homegrown Paleo Cookbook arrives just in time, accompanied by packets of tomato and basil seeds! What a clever touch.

Here’s why this book stands out from the Paleo crowd: Connections to our food in our society today are tenuous at best. Few people even known a farmer any longer. More people are gardening, though, and that’s where Homegrown Paleo Cookbook shines. Diana Rodgers uses her book to state a case for sustainable Paleo living. This involves much more than your backyard garden, though that’s an important step. Learn how to support food growers on a local or regional level. Your food buying decisions impact more than just whether you have a six-pack!

If you want to take the next (big) step and begin raising animals, in these pages you’ll find a guide to bringing up rabbits, chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, bees - even cows! Probably of greater help for most of us is good old-fashioned, straight out of Mother Earth News in the ‘70s, instructions for composting, building raised beds, starting seeds, and following through by raising vegetables.

Topped with recipes for seasonal, gluten-free garden-to-table eating, and much more, the more I dug into Homegrown Paleo Cookbook the more useful information I found. 

Now if only spring would get here so I can plant these basil and tomato seeds!

Victory Belt, $39.95






Another Reason to Avoid Bread

Keep it Paleo Reason #1 - I broke a tooth yesterday on a piece of toasted rye bread. Ouch!


Mediterranean Paleo Cooking by Diane Sanfilippo, Caitlin Weeks and Chef Boumrar

Forgive me for thinking of this beautiful book as as a new Diane Sanfilippo work. I get excited. Now that I’ve read through the introductory portions, I have respect for Weeks and Chef Boumrar. That being said: “hey, a new Diane Sanfilippo book is here!”

My first comments out loud to my wife were about the photographs. Yeah, many cookbooks rightly are praised for wonderful photos. All the time. Justifiably. But damn, the bar has been raised with Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. These pages flow by the eyes; in this age of odd Instagram filters and goofball “I’m a graphic designer ‘cause I own a Mac” keyboard jockeys, here I find brilliant and beautiful design. Heck, look at the book from the right side and thoughtful design touches stand out immediately. Every photograph is clear, colorful, and set up with effective little touches. Whether an herb, a serving piece, or the composition, these are the best food photographs I’ve seen in a book. 

And guess who designed Mediterranean Paleo Cooking and took all the photographs? Diane Sanfilippo!

My favorite elements are the indexes at the back of the book. Using postage-stamp photos, and creating categories along the lines of “food nerd party”, is genius. I’ll be referencing this area often. “The basics” is clearly pointed right at kitchen people such as myself - I’m learning but always stressed for time. Diane helps me feel I can effectively create ingredients such as olive oil mayo, or roast my own peppers.

Diane speaks out on one of my personal favorite complaints about Paleo people. I am bombarded on Facebook, Instagram and via my client’s meal plans with “Paleo crap fake food.” Clearly Sanfilippo is well aware and experiencing the same thing. On page 61 she features “A word on treats and desserts.” Read both paragraphs and absorb her warning. She closes with these words: “Be honest with yourself about how many sweets and treats - even if they’re Paleo - are too many for your health goals.”

Nicely said, Diane.

Clearly I’m fully over the top about Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. I plan to have food stains on my copy pretty quick! This is your “go to” gift for everyone in your life concerned with their food, preparation and taste buds.

 #mediterraneanpaleocooking, #dianesanfilippo, @balancedbites, @victorybeltinc


Perfecting Paleo by Ashley Tudor

Next time someone you know asks you weird, detailed questions about why you eat Paleo, and throws some biased, “read it on the Internet” anti-Paleo crap at you, tell them to head to Amazon and buy Tudor’s eye-opening Perfecting Paleo. She’s about the science, not the mythology or religion of Paleo.

“Personalize your diet rules” - Tudor brings Paleo into your life on a personal basis. There are no rules, not really, but there’s a hell of a lot of science to apply.

“Ancient wisdom meets self-testing” - Again, the knowledge of how to take the strict guidelines of Paleo and make them work in your life are made clear in the pages of Perfecting Paleo

Ashley Tudor is a wizard. She takes science, the framework of how the human body’s systems work, and breaks it down and explains. With the tools in this book, using her quick reference guides, you will easily uncover the diet rules specific to you and your unique biology.

Have you ever wondered why some people “eat Paleo” yet remain fat? Or did you rack your brains counting calories, found it a useless exercise, and wonder what to do next?

Get smarter, understand the timeless science of why Paleo makes sense to the human body, by reading Perfecting Paleo. Even if you don’t read it cover to cover, having this book shelved in your home will smarten you up!

Allow Tudor to drop a load of knowledge on you; she wants you to look and feel your best.

@VictoryBelt, @ashleytudor


Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine: Authentic Recipes Made Gluten-Free by Sarah Fragoso

Paleo lifestyle, eating Paleo, strict Paleo - many people are beginning to tire of Paleo itself, the term, being touted as the ultimate answer to everything. Long ago I discontinued strict Paleo eating; for my lifestyle and exercise load living “near-Paleo” but “all real food” works best.

Sarah Fragoso is one of my Paleo movement heroes. She lives the life, travels the Paleo path with her family, and throws herself into the business of teaching people the life-enhancing benefits of a dairy, grain, gluten and legume-free life. Her podcasts, website, writing and teaching makes a difference for untold numbers.

Time in Thailand with her family, immersing themselves in the cuisine and people, learning how to live with Thai food, helped spur the creation of Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine. I frankly find the book compelling as hell. I like Thai food, but I’m convinced reading these pages I’m going to love Thai meals prepared in this manner. 

Fragoso knows how to reach people with her message; her recipes are clear and flavorful and appear manageable. If I think I can use them, so can you. Her earlier books remain mainstays in my kitchen, are nicely spattered with food and wine stains, and welcome Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine to the kitchen bookcase. 

Victory Belt Publishing,

@VictoryBeltInc, @TheSarahFragoso