Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

Why Zebras Don't Get UlcersWhy Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Robert Sapolsky is one of my favorite science writers. I generally find his work engaging, informative, and conversational, and “Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers” is no exception. This book is dense! It is jam packed with information on how your body reacts to and copes with stress. By the end of it, I found my self wondering if there was anything that glucocorticoids couldn't screw up. Though parts of it did drag a bit (for me), on the whole I found the chapters in this book to be interesting and full of useful information. I was a bit disappointed with the last chapter, however. I was hoping for more concrete suggestions on how to deal with and lessen stress. But perhaps that was an impractical expectation on my part.

I would recommend this book to anyone who worries about what effect their stressful life might be having on their mind and body. This book will clearly lay out those effects in detail, and knowing what's going on (why you aren't sleeping, why you are gaining weight, for example) is the first step to stopping it.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

"A Long Way Down" Felt Like a Long Way To Nowhere

A Long Way DownA Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was a struggle to get through from the beginning. Generally, I consider myself a fan of Nick Hornby. I don't think he's God's gift to literature or anything, but his novels are usually entertaining and satisfying like a particularly well constructed romantic comedy movie.

"A Long Way Down" however lacked charm, substance, and narrative arc. It went nowhere, slowly. I kept waiting for the characters to develop into people I could give a shit about, but that never happened. In fact, I found them so boring and unlikeable that I hoped that they would all just jump off of that rooftop and end the misery for all of us.

Only my dogged tenacity and hope that Hornby would somehow redeem the story in the end kept me reading. It turns ou, that there was no payoff in finishing this mind-numbing, nose-picking, navel-gazing slop. I would not recommend it to anyone.

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