December 15, 2016 Booklist 11 www.booklistonline.com
most appealing. Ten weeks after Sean’s death,
she sets out for cold, landlocked Eastern Eu-
rope, the very opposite of Thailand. She visits
Auschwitz, Bosnia, Hungary, Romania, Isra-
el—places in their own states
of violence, grief, and recov-
ery. It is in these places, where
she can see people coming
back from tragedy, that she
begins to understand how to
continue her own irreparably
altered life. Fowler incorpo-
rates chapters depicting her
and Sean’s developing relationship, keeping him
as present for the reader as he is for her. Fowler
has turned her devastating, beautiful, honest,
and personal story into something universal.
Akin to Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (2012), her
book will appeal to globetrotters and readers of
hopeful stories chronicling grief and recovery.
The Happiest Mommy You Know: Why
Putting Your Kids First Is the Last Thing
You Should Do.
By Genevieve Shaw Brown.
Jan. 2017. 304p. Touchstone, $26 (9781501151644).
Award-winning journalist Brown goes beyond many of the recent humorous works by
blogger moms. As an experienced researcher,
she uses studies and statistics to back her reasons for supporting everything from going to
the doctor (checkups aren’t just for kids) to
dressing for the feeling of success, or at least
happiness, and treating your spouse at least as
well as you do the local barista. The premise
is clear but may be a challenge to achieve:
“Treat yourself as well as you treat your kids.”
The Happiest Mommy You Know chronicles
Brown’s journey from raising her kids perfectly
while losing sight of self-care to intentionally
treating herself as well as she treated her kids.
By regaining diet, health, sleep, and time with
friends, she helped herself, and with her book,
she’ll help many other moms get back to being as healthy as they hope their children will
be. In a saturated genre, The Happiest Mommy
shines out and will be a hit in the parenting
collection of public libraries. —Joyce McIntosh
Health & Medicine
The Brand New Catastrophe.
By Mike Scalise.
Jan. 2017. 260p. Sarabande, paper, $15.95
In 2002, a presumably healthy 24-year-old
man went to the emergency room with what
he believed was a migraine. Instead, Scalise’s
headache was a symptom of a bleeding pitu-
itary gland tumor in the brain. He writes about
his surgery, recovery, Gamma Knife radiother-
apy, injections, doctor’s visits, and necessary
hormone-replacement medications (Hydro-
cortisol, Synthroid, desmopressin, AndroGel).
After the rupture of his pituitary tumor and
operation, he develops hypopituitarism—the
body’s inability to secrete essential hormones—
a condition he dubs “hormonelessness.” Prior
to the diagnosis and treatment of the tumor,
he unknowingly had acromegaly, an endocrine
disorder of excess human growth hormone.
Lurch of TV’s The Addams Family, Jaws in
James Bond movies, and wrestler Andre the
Giant also had acromegaly. Scalise handles his
calamity with a weird sense of humor and often
nonchalance. Along the way, he gets married,
works a number of different jobs, and has
frequent interactions with his eccentric par-
ents. The effect of illness on self-image and
its gravitational pull on family, friends, and
spouse are touchingly detailed in this upbeat
health memoir. — Tony Miksanek
Cravings: How I Conquered Food.
By Judy Collins.
Feb. 2017. 272p. Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $26
She appeared the epitome of calm, the woman with the crystal voice who sang “Amazing
Grace” and turned Joni Mitchell’s exquisite
song “Both Sides Now” into a huge hit. But
even at the height of her success, Collins was
afflicted with addictions to alcohol, drugs,
and food. She suggests that she inherited the
addiction gene: her father, blind from the age
of four, was an alcoholic. But it is her eating
disorder that she focuses on in this intensely
candid and detailed memoir. She describes
herself as “an active, working alcoholic with
an eating disorder” who yearned for “serenity.”
She knew how to thrive onstage, but getting
through ordinary life was altogether different
as she struggled with binge eating and purging, bulimia, gaining and losing weight, and
even losing her voice. Although she loved
sugar, she was determined, from an early age,
never to get fat (“I would rather die”). And
die she almost did, numerous times. Collins’
many fans, and everyone touched by or concerned about addiction, will be moved by her
inspiring story. —June Sawyers
Running with a Police Escort: Tales from
the Back of the Pack.
By Jill Grunenwald.
Jan. 2017. 244p. Skyhorse, $22.99 (9781510712799);
e-book (9781510712805). 613.2.
Cleveland librarian Grunenwald’s clos-
est connection to exercise was an occasional
interest in the weight-loss show The Biggest
Loser when she received a wake-up e-mail
from her sister, who was worrying about her
health. Then over 300 pounds, Grunenwald
started dieting and running on her apartment
complex’s “dreadmill.” Soon, Grunenwald,
who blogs and records a podcast about her
experiences, could hardly believe that she,
never before an athlete and still vividly re-
membering the traumas of childhood PE,
was suddenly enjoying running. Her first 5K
race became several, before she started run-
ning 10K races and half marathons. Whether
she’s writing about setting goals, finding the
best sports bra (“Strap. That. Shit. Down”),
or getting out of a running slump, self-pro-
claimed slow runner Grunenwald’s chatty,
confessional style will entertain readers and
perhaps even inspire them to lace up, too.
(Clevelanders especially will appreciate her
detailed descriptions of race routes and the lo-
cal running scene.) Readers will find that the
author’s unique perspective “from the back of
the pack” challenges preconceived notions as
it encourages stepping outside of one’s com-
fort zones. —Annie Bostrom
Fresh from the Garden: An Organic
Guide to Growing Vegetables,
Berries, and Herbs in Cold Climates.
By John Whitman.
Jan. 2017. 544p. illus. Univ. of Minnesota, $49.95
The University of Minnesota Press could
hardly have made this book’s journey to a library shelf any more challenging. A title by
the same name by Sarah
Raven, published by Riz-zoli Universe in 2012,
already exists and is not
to be confused with Ann
Lovejoy’s Fresh from the
Garden Cookbook (
Sas-quatch, 2005). Patrons
would not know from
the title of the book at hand—only from the
subtitle—that it’s intended as a cold-weather
growing guide. On the other hand, it’s equally
usable in other, milder regions of the country,
such as the northwest coast. Still, it’s an excellent resource for home gardeners at any level,
especially beginners, offering a thorough introduction to the basics of organic gardening:
site selection, soil amending, planting seeds
(directly in the ground or indoors), anticipating or solving pest and disease problems,
harvesting and culinary uses, and recommended tools and materials. Following is a
copiously detailed, alphabetical listing of dozens of cold-hardy plants—about three-fourths
of the book—from asparagus to watermelon,
each entry providing info on every aspect
of growing that fruit or vegetable, from soil
needs to planting requirements to unique
problems to harvesting and culinary uses. An
excellent handbook deserving a larger audience than it may receive. —Alan Moores
Native Plants of the Midwest: A
Comprehensive Guide to the Best 500
Species for the Garden.
By Alan Branhagen.
2016. 440p. illus. Timber, $39.95 (9781604695939). 635.9.
Gardeners considering adding native plants
to their gardens should be sure to start with
the well-written introduction rather than being tempted by the 677 photographs of many
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