My Recent Reads

Hello all,

It’s been a while since I wrote about books I’ve read so I thought I would share with you what I’ve been into this August and September.

 

     1. Elements of Etiquette by Craig Claiborne

This concise book on etiquette was written by famed restaurant critic, Craig Claiborne. What I liked about this book versus others that I have read is that it is relevant to today’s modern social situations. While it can be interesting to read about more obsolete social expectations from long ago, this practical and contemporary approach will give you the information you need to make the best decisions in today’s world.

     2. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Don’t read this book with makeup on! It’s rare for a book to make me cry, but this one definitely did. Written by the late Randy Pausch, it encapsulates a lifetime of wisdom and lessons in a humorous tone despite the author’s knowledge that he will soon die due to cancer. This book is not emotional because of the author’s impending death — he has had way too much fun in his life to allow that too happen — but because of his acceptance and resiliency in spite of that. It’s a tear-jerker that teaches us to never forget our childish innocence and do whatever it takes to  live out our own fun and beautiful life.

3. Paris in Love by Eloisa James

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to live in Paris then all you have to do is read this book! This beautiful memoir captures the author’s Paris experience in a way that is both dream-like yet accurate. After living in France for two years myself, I can certainly say that I left my heart there and this novel brings back all of my own memories. It’s amazing how this book is so personal to the author and yet I find myself remembering my own experiences in her words.

4. What Islam Did For Us by Tim Wallace-Murphy

This book was not what I expected it to be. I was expecting to learn more about the inventions and discoveries in the field of medicine, mathematics and astronomy by Muslim scientists that I’ve heard so much about, but instead this book focuses heavily on the historical ties between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This is not necessarily a negative point, but based on the title it definitely wasn’t the subject matter I was expecting to read about. This is a great book for those who want to understand how each of the three religions have affected each other since ancient times until now.

That’s what I’ve read so far in the last two months. I’m open to recommendations for new books to read so feel free to comment. Watch my video to see what I’m currently reading and what I’m planning on reading soon!

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Book Review: French Women Don’t Get Fat

I am sure many of you have heard of a very popular health and cooking book called, “French Women Don’t  Get  Fat”. It was an enormous commercial success amidst a transition in the diet and health industry towards favoring a holistic,  pleasurable, “slow food” approach to long-term health and weight loss, in stark contrast to the obsessive calorie-counting, restrictive, puritanical tone to achieving your ideal body that had dominated the weight loss industry. If you have not yet read the book, I highly suggest you do so.  It will shift your attitude towards your ideal body, the traditions and ritual of food preparation and enjoyment with the larger goal of discovering and cultivating your little pleasures.

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Giuliano writes this diet book within the context of her own weight loss story after some late adolescent weight gain after a study abroad trip to the states. The experience of reading this diet book is so different from any other you may read because it is a story that Giuliano tells so charmingly well. It is an incredibly liberating and enjoyable experience to see the subject of food and weight loss presented in such a way that puts back the ritualistic and sensory pleasures of dining. There is no mention of calories, counting, fat, carbs, gym memberships. and the endless other unpleasantness that are found in any other weight loss book. Just sensible portions, fresh and seasonal ingredients, some light walking and other slow and easy shifts in your habits is what this book is about. A distinctly French method that emphasizes pleasure over deprivation and shuns the “no pain, no gain” approach to living in and loving your ideal body.

Although the concepts are simple enough to remember and apply in my daily life, and while I may not eat certain staples of the conventional French diet such as wine, cheese, or bread, I still find myself reaching for this book every once in a while just to enjoy Guiliano’s storytelling. I find that this book is more than just about weight loss; it’s about getting to know yourself and cultivating your own pleasures in not just food, but also in life. I think that we all work very hard to create the lives we want to live and between the demands of schooling, work, and family, this book has helped me to learn how to take my moments to take care of myself and perhaps its can bring about that same shift for you. 

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