wendy {dot} blog

A Renaissance Soul blogging on traveling, books, work, miscellany, and enjoying life.

Book Review: Sugar, Salt, Fat

Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss My rating: 5 of 5 stars This exhaustively and impressively researched exposé on the food industry reads like good investigative journalism with an element of suspense thrown in. While I think most people know that processed and pre-packaged food isn’t good for you (for the most part), it’s quite another thing to learn how deliberately bad it is.

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Book Review: Spark

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey My rating: 3 of 5 stars This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. It started off strong and rather compelling with a case study about innovative personal fitness (not PE) classes at a few high schools that were almost an experiment to see if exercise had any effect on students’ academic performance. […]

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Book Review: Write Away

Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life by Elizabeth George My rating: 5 of 5 stars This turned out to be one of my favorite writing books written by a bestselling author (Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird being tied for my favorite). She caught my attention early on when she described herself as mostly left-brained (like me) and her subsequent need […]

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Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein My rating: 5 of 5 stars Loved this book! Initially, the first person narration by Enzo, a philosophical dog, was a bit off putting but then the uniqueness took hold and pulled me in. Enzo is a human soul trapped in a dog body, at least that’s how he feels. He has learned about a variety of topics, including reincarnation, […]

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Book Review: Galveston

Galveston: A Novel by Nic Pizzolatto My rating: 5 of 5 stars Galveston is a dark and often violent noir story narrated by forty-something Roy “Big Country” Cady. Roy is the hired muscle for a New Orleans crime boss. Roy does his share of inflicting pain and death on others and observes in an almost academic way that those marked for death always have a “no…wait” look on their face […]

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Book Review: Unbroken

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand My rating: 5 of 5 stars This was a fantastic read that tells the story of Louie Zampirini, a World War II airman who epitomized the Greatest Generation. Zampirini, the son of Italian immigrants, spends his childhood engaged in shenanigans and petty theft. He later converts his talent for running away from the scene of the […]

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Book Review: The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain My rating: 5 of 5 stars I absolutely loved this book. Although the story opens and spends some time in the US Midwest, the bulk of the story is set is 1920s post-war Paris. The author does an excellent job of rendering the setting in such a way that the magic of both the city and the era come alive. The Paris Wife tells […]

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Book Review: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely My rating: 4 of 5 stars I first saw Dan Ariely present his notion of predictable irrationality in a video on tedtalks.com. He presented his ideas in a very entertaining manner, so I thought I would check out his book. The book is almost a series of vignettes discussing various experiments that Dr. Ariely and his colleagues have […]

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