Archive | April 2011

Eats, Shoots and Leaves

Lynne Truss’s book isn’t new. (It was published in 2003.) However, it is still one of my favourites.

It is definitely one of the reasons my family has questioned my mental stability. There I sat, reading on the couch while they watched TV. From time to time, I would laugh aloud. (It takes a lot to make me laugh or cry when I’m reading a book, especially non-fiction.)

If you haven’t read Truss’s book, I encourage you to Google it. Take a look at the cover. If that was the only good thing about Eats.., I would considered it worth the retail price. The title…Absolutely brilliant!

Thankfully, the pandas and the gun aren’t the only brilliant elements of Truss’s work. (If you still haven’t Googled it, I bet you do now.) My favourite part inside the covers of this book about punctuation…yes, I said punctuation…is the Dear John letter. It is presented twice, back to back. Good writing? Not unless the author has a good reason. Since it’s a book about full stops (aka periods; Truss is British), exclamation points, semicolons, etc, it isn’t surprising to learn the only difference between paragraphs is the punctuation.

It may not sound particularly side-splitting, but you’ve got to get your hands on Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It may just make you laugh out loud, too–even if you’re not a writer or an editor.



The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises

And here is yet another evidence of my eclectic interests. As a personal trainer, this book is a well-used reference. However, I would recommend it to any woman who is looking to learn a wide variety of exercises. (There is a men’s version available as well.)

The exercises are grouped by the muscles they work. Each exercise includes simple instructions and clear step-by-step photographs. Whether you workout in a gym or in your home, there are enough variations of any given exercise to give you the options you need. There are also progressions of difficulty, so you can keep increasing the difficulty. (No, really! That’s a good thing.)

It was published in 2010, so the information is up-to-date. That’s important, considering the ever-changing view on what makes for a safe and effective routine.

And speaking of routine, The…Big Book…includes pointers on how to put together your own routine. It also includes a number of workouts you may want to try. These routines include “The Skinny Jeans Workout,” “The Wedding Workout,” “The Lose-the-Last-10-Pounds Workout,” and many others.

You will learn about the muscles you’re working and gain nutrition advice as well.

The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises is well worth the investment and just may be the only exercise book you need.


My question…Why hasn’t someone written this book before now–or one like it?

This proposal wrapped in Donna Dawson’s story of two fictional women and the medical researcher who changed their lives investigates what could become a cutting edge medical procedure. Once made available, the question as to whether or not to have an abortion for an “unwanted pregnancy” would be moot.

Apparently, micromanipulation has been going on with livestock for years. (To the farmers and ranchers out there…forgive my ignorance.) A fertilized egg is transferred from the uterus of one animal to the prepared uterus of another. Dawson explores the implications for women who become pregnant but do not want to be and those who wish to become pregnant but can’t.

Statistically, more women than men will read this book, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Pregnancy, childbirth and abortion are topics that affect us all. There are well-developed male characters in this book. Men, you won’t be alone.

As they do when it comes to this topic, emotions run high in Rescued. Dawson adds an element of danger and suspense. This is far from a clinical text. The story illuminates what could be much brighter days ahead. The Abortion Debate will continue for years. However, with enough research dollars and public awareness, there may be a satisfactory answer for those on both sides of the issue.

Visit the author’s page to learn more about the book and her other projects at

Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper

While perusing the shelves of my local library, I stumbled upon one of SARK’s books, Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper. (SARK stands for Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy.)

At first glance, if looks like the work of a child. The pages are handwritten with various coloured markers. There are delightful doodles and drawings, fun fonts and photos. Am I getting carried away here? Maybe just a little. But that’s what this book does for a writer: It says, “Go for it! Have a blast! Write for you…and invite others to hear your heart.”

I have many books about writing on my shelves, from the very serious to those filled with fanciful prompts, but nothing comes close to Juicy Pens…It’s truly unique. Is it for everyone? No. But I loved it!

I love watercolours and chalk pastels because, with them, an artist can create something quickly. (Oil paints take too much time to dry, and sometimes the painter even has to wait before applying the next layer of colour.) Impatience. That’s one of the main reasons my favourite form of artistic expression is photography. Instant masterpiece! I love it! I also love the idea of dance: flowing, free, expressive. I say I love “the idea of dance” because all those cliche phrases describe me: clumsy, two left feet, uncoordinated…

So, what do these things have to do with writing and Juicy Pens..? SARK’s book gives me permission to be “less than perfect.” Each letter doesn’t have to be perfectly formed. Each thought doesn’t have to emerge fully mature. I can aim for perfectly flowing words, but like the would-be dancer, the steps may be awkward at times–and that’s OK.

Thank you, SARK, for giving me permission to write…just write.

To visit the author’s whimsical site, visit


Radical by David Platt is the second most life-changing book I’ve ever read. (The first being the Bible.)

It is written in an easy-to-read style. And yet, there is nothing easy about the message. Christians are challenged to live a radical lifestyle. In short, we are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned, all the while, sharing the Truth of the Scriptures.

Platt does not condemn material possessions nor those who have them. In fact, he is the pastor of a mega church. However, he is calling his congregation and millions of others to use that wealth to reach out in the name of Jesus.

He uses statistics in a way that got my attention. And believe me, I am not a numbers person. Don’t get me wrong; Platt doesn’t include long lists of numbers. He incorporates the information into each chapter in a very efficient and eye-opening way.

Maybe it’s because this book confirmed what the Lord has been teaching me. Maybe it’s because it answered some of my questions. Maybe it’s because it removed some of my long-held excuses. Whatever the reason, I would highly recommend Radical.

In the last chapter, Platt lays out a one year challenge. As he says, there are things we can commit to for a year and there are things we can lay aside for a year. If you’re ready to stop pursuing “the American dream”…If you’re ready, as one of Platt’s congregants put it, to have your life “ruined”…This book is for you.

You will also want to check out the corresponding website: