October 15, 2016 Booklist 7 www.booklistonline.com
her advice. While African gray parrots, chinchillas, red-eared sliders, wallabies, and more
make appearances during the week, the sick
sugar gliders remain Hess’s primary mission.
Though perhaps not a brisk intellectual walk,
the book is an easy-reading, enjoyable stroll in
Hess’s shoes. —Emily Dziuban
The Wood for the Trees: One Man’s Long
View of Nature.
By Richard Fortey.
Dec. 2016. 320p. Knopf, $28.95 (9781101875759).
The long view seems to be underappreciated
in our breathless, social-media-driven times.
It’s one of the reasons why Fortey’s (
Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms, 2012) everyday
discoveries about his small patch of woodland provide such unadulterated pleasure.
Here, then, is an in-depth portrait of nature
as it unfolds over the course of one year in
the Chiltern Hills of Oxfordshire, England.
There is no fixed agenda, just the sheer joy
of solitude as Fortey observes the variety
of carpet moths in June, of mushrooms in
October. He also considers humanity’s relationship with nature, researching the customs
of people who lived on this land in centuries
past. The discovery of a small trench launches
an exploration of Grim’s Dyke, a man-made
construction “already old by Saxon times.”
Fortey’s brilliantly absorbing exercise in ecology and anthropology occasionally gets lost
in the thickets, but it is nevertheless a tender
ode to life’s seasonal cycles and an essential reminder that one needn’t travel far and wide
to appreciate the many splendors of nature.
A backyard will do just fine. —Poornima Apte
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things
and Why They Matter.
By David Sax.
Nov. 2016. 304p. Perseus/Public Affairs, $25.99
(9781610395717); e-book, $17.99 (9781610395724).
Here is a compulsively readable book af-
ter a Luddite’s heart. The digital revolution
streamlined our lives, but it
also curtailed crucial expe-
riences. Sax looks at things
and ideas altered irrevocably
by technology and then asks
why some people choose the
“old ways.” The book exam-
ines the soaring interest in
vinyl, paper, film, and board
games and then delves into “analog ideas”: re-
tail, work, school, summer. Sax articulates in
a reasoned way what technophobes have been
tantrumming about. Our human relationship
with things is about full-bodied experiences
and engaging with the world, warts and all.
Analog vinyl recordings capture a “heart-
felt, organic sound” that Auto-Tune would
smooth over. Readers will be surprised by the
chapter on technology and schools—experts
reserve damning comments for failed initia-
tives that didn’t consult teachers or willfully
ignored the basic tenets of early childhood
education. Sax closes with a visit to a summer
camp that bans electronic devices for camp-
ers. For some campers (and their parents), this
concept is incomprehensible, but for the vast
majority, it proves to be a great stress reliever
and contributes to stronger, more lasting so-
cial relationships. Sax isn’t preaching a return
to the pre–Industrial Age, but neither is he
embracing the robot overlords. He thought-
fully, wisely, and honestly points out how
analog experiences enhance digital creativity
and how humans benefit from what both have
to offer. Essential reading that will be great for
book groups. —Kaite Mediatore Stover
The Confident Parent: A
Pediatrician’s Guide to Caring for
Your Little One—without Losing Your
Joy, Your Mind, or Yourself.
By Jane Scott and Stephanie Land.
Nov. 2016. 288p. TarcherPerigee, paper, $16
Scott, a Colorado-based neonatologist and
pediatrician, shares wisdom gleaned from both
her medical career and her experience as a parent and grandparent in this guide to caring
for infants and toddlers. As the title suggests,
the overall purpose here is to help parents feel
more confident in a variety
of decisions and to reduce
the fear often felt in today’s
parenting-as-an-endurance-sport environment. Parents
who reject the rigidity of
some attachment parenting
advocates will appreciate the
research-based boosts that
Scott provides for formula feeding, sleep training, and letting the baby sleep in her own bed
(hint: none of them will damage a child). Scott
is decidedly in favor of letting babies and toddlers explore their world, and she encourages
parents to “gather their village,” including partners, extended family, and other care providers,
to reduce parental stress, which can have negative effects on children’s well-being. The final
two chapters, on discipline and the importance
of play, touch briefly on issues related to preschoolers and grade-schoolers, but the focus is
primarily on the younger set, with confidence-boosting advice that first-time parents will
find especially useful when faced with the exhausting complexities of caring for a newborn.
Health & Medicine
Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair.
By Emma Tarlo.
Nov. 2016. 416p. illus. Oneworld, $20 (9781780749921);
e-book (9781780749938). 646.
Tarlo, Professor of Anthropology at Gold-
smiths, University of London, takes on a
new subject in her notable career researching
culturally significant anthropological top-
ics: hair. Tarlo’s chronicle of her experiences
investigating hair is filled with fascinating
details about human hair and the hair trade.
As she travels to the far corners of the world
in search of tantalizing tidbits on the de-
ceptively simple subject, Tarlo adds to her
research as a curator would to a cabinet of
curiosities. Written in conversational prose
with historical images, little-known facts,
and an absorbing narrative woven through-
out, this is a lively read that explores the
fashion, industry, and history of hair, while
untangling our own often-complicated re-
lationship with this natural accessory. In an
informative and often whimsical voice, Tarlo
personalizes her research with vignettes about
her own fascination with hair. From eccentric
wig makers in China to hair hunters in In-
dia and customers in Europe, Tarlo takes us
on an eye-opening journey that will make us
wonder if our own hair doesn’t have a secret
life of its own. —Glendy X. Mattalia
The Secret Life of Fat: The Science
behind the Body’s Least Understood
Organ and What It Means for You.
By Sylvia Tara.
Dec. 2016. 288p. Norton, $26.95 (9780393244830). 613.
Blubber. Flab. Even fat’s alternative names
sound disgraceful. Adipose is surely the most
scorned, obsessed with, and misunderstood
tissue in the human body. Billions are spent
battling it. Yet fat is positioned somewhere
between friend and foe. Biochemist Tara gives
readers the skinny on fat in a lively discussion
that incorporates sumo wrestlers, a bloated
diet industry, genetics, and leptin (the satiety
hormone). Fat is an organ and a component in
the endocrine system with multiple functions:
storing energy, releasing hormones, facilitating
puberty, generating heat, and providing insulation. Tara explains that too much fat is linked
with lots of health problems (diabetes, heart
disease, even cancer), and she covers methods
of controlling fat, including exercise, proper
eating, intermittent fasting, and managing
your microbiome. She summarizes current
adipose research; for example, “infectobesity”
is the theory that some viruses and bacteria
can cause excess fat production. Tara emphasizes the importance of keeping body fat in a
normal range and appreciating adipose for its
physiological worth. Readers will discover that,
regardless of body size and shape, fat does some
heavy work on our behalf. —Tony Miksanek
But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!
125 Recipes to Win Everyone Over.
By Kristy Turner.
Nov. 2016. 336p. illus. The Experiment, $24.95
(9781615193424); e-book (9781615193431). 641.5.
Feeding a family used to be simpler when
mom put together a meal and everyone ate