A health book recommendation: This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2ixpunU.
As a writer her informal, chatty style engenders a kinship with both her struggles and triumphs. She speaks directly to the reader and welcomes them in to her private thoughts and dreams.
Book description from Google Books:
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir–wise, complex, smart, funny–a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read Gabourey Sidibe–“Gabby” to her legion of fans–skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”    Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true. 
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 2449 ratings. See 435 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2izvnAC.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h77znH.

A health book recommendation: Love and Trouble: A Midlife Reckoning by Claire Dederer

A critic review (source Washington Times) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iw3ucK.
Claire Dederer is different. She picks out private exploits that people rarely mention except to bosom buddies. By writing about them she makes her readers play the buddy role while she is the exhilarating friend: smart, clever, serious and funny.
Book description from Google Books:
From the New York Times best-selling author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, a ferocious, sexy, hilarious memoir about going off the rails at midlife and trying to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become. Claire Dederer is a happily married mother of two, ages nine and twelve, when she suddenly finds herself totally despondent and, simultaneously, suffering through a kind of erotic reawakening. This exuberant memoir shifts between her present experience as a middle-aged mom in the grip of mysterious new hungers and herself as a teenager–when she last experienced life with such heightened sensitivity and longing. From her hilarious chapter titles (“How to Have Sex with Your Husband of Seventeen Years”) to her subjects–from the boyfriend she dumped at fourteen the moment she learned how to give herself an orgasm, to the girls who ruled her elite private school (“when I left Oberlin I thought I had done with them forever, but it turned out …they also edited all the newspapers and magazines, and wrote all the books”), to raising a teenage daughter herself–Dederer writes with an electrifying blend of wry wit and raw honesty. She exposes herself utterly, and in doing so captures something universal about the experience of being a woman, a daughter, a wife.
The book is rated 3.45/5 at goodreads.com, from 822 ratings. See 149 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iwFVAE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ivkUqb.

A health book recommendation: Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2izghLs.
Wright’s insight on this point is just one of the many truths in his delightfully personal, yet broadly important, new book Why Buddhism Is True.
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Bestseller From one of America’s greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.Robert Wright famously explained in The Moral Animal how evolution shaped the human brain. The mind is designed to often delude us, he argued, about ourselves and about the world. And it is designed to make happiness hard to sustain. But if we know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, what do we do? Wright locates the answer in Buddhism, which figured out thousands of years ago what scientists are only discovering now. Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly—and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people. In Why Buddhism is True, Wright leads readers on a journey through psychology, philosophy, and a great many silent retreats to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age. At once excitingly ambitious and wittily accessible, this is the first book to combine evolutionary psychology with cutting-edge neuroscience to defend the radical claims at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. With bracing honesty and fierce wisdom, it will persuade you not just that Buddhism is true—which is to say, a way out of our delusion—but that it can ultimately save us from ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 1115 ratings. See 160 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h5LUfz.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h7rgf9.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A health book recommendation: Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays by Mary Gaitskill

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2yw6RJT.
The news these essays bring is, I am happy to say, not at all. She continues to wield a remorseless little hammer.
Book description from Google Books:
“Engaging, unusual essays written over the last two decades, on matters literary, social, cultural, and personal–from the explosive date rape debates of the ’90s to the ubiquitous political adultery of the ’00s, from Anton Chekhov to Celine Dion. Here is Mary Gaitskill the essayist: witty, direct, penetrating to the core of each issue, personality, or literary trope (On Updike: “It is as if [he] has entered a tiny window marked ‘Rabbit,’ and, by some inverse law, passed into a universe of energies both light and dark, expanded and contracted, infinite and workaday.” On Elizabeth Wurtzell: “If this kooky, foot-stamping, self-loathing screed is meant to be, as it claims, a defense of ‘difficult women,’ i.e. women who ‘write their own operating manuals’ . . . all I can say is, bitches best duck and run for cover.”) Gaitskill writes about the ridiculous and poetic ambition of Norman Mailer, about the socio-sexual cataclysm embodied by porn star Linda Lovelace, and, in the deceptively titled “Lost Cat,” about how power and race can warp the most innocent and intimate of relationships. Appearing in chronological order, the essays offer their thoughts and reactions, always with the heat-seeking, revelatory understanding for which we value the author’s fiction”
The book is rated 3.66/5 at goodreads.com, from 220 ratings. See 41 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yvzYgr.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yAZGjE.

A health book recommendation: Exes: A Novel by Max Winter

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2xIfAVS.
…one could easily see the Affleck brothers starring in a film adaptation of this often heartbreaking novel about the devastations of severed attachments.
Book description from Google Books:
[A] heartbreaking novel about the devastations of severed attachments.” —NPR For Clay Blackall, a lifelong resident of Providence, Rhode Island, the place has become an obsession. Here live the only people who can explain what happened to his brother, Eli, whose suicide haunts this heartbreaking, hilarious novel-in-fragments. A failed actor impersonates a former movie star; an ex-con looks after a summer home perched atop a rock in the bay; a broken-hearted salutatorian airs thirteen years’ worth of dirty laundry at his school’s commencement; an adjunct struggles to make room for her homeless and self-absorbed mother while revisiting a scandalous high school love affair; a recent widower, with the help of a clever teen, schemes to rid his condo’s pond of Canada geese. Clay compiles their stories, invasively providing context in the form of notes that lead always, somehow, back to Eli. Behind Clay’s possibly insane, definitely doomed, and increasingly suspect task burns his desire to understand his brother’s death, and the city that has defined and ruined them both. Full of brainy detours and irreverent asides, Exes is a powerful investigation of grief, love, and our deeply held yet ever-changing notions of home.
The book is rated 3.33/5 at goodreads.com, from 73 ratings. See 24 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yr0M1H.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yr0Mid.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A health book recommendation: The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us by Bruce Feiler

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2xLiF7u.
Feiler plunges into this thicket with verve, intelligence and style. He’s done a miraculous thing, the literary equivalent of breathing life into a figure made of clay — taken a story I’ve been hearing since services were held in the old sanctuary and made me experience it again as if for the first time.
Book description from Google Books:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham comes a revelatory journey across four continents and 4,000 years exploring how Adam and Eve introduced the idea of love into the world, and how they continue to shape our deepest feelings about relationships, family, and togetherness. Since antiquity, one story has stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. One couple has been the battleground for human relationships and sexual identity. That couple is Adam and Eve. Yet instead of celebrating them, history has blamed them for bringing sin, deceit, and death into the world. In this fresh retelling of their story, New York Times columnist and PBS host Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from John Milton’s London to Mae West’s Hollywood, discovering how Adam and Eve should be hailed as exemplars of a long-term, healthy, resilient relationship. At a time of discord and fear over the strength of our social fabric, Feiler shows how history’s first couple can again be role models for unity, forgiveness, and love. Containing all the humor, insight, and wisdom that have endeared Bruce Feiler to readers around the world, The First Love Story is an unforgettable journey that restores Adam and Eve to their rightful place as central figures in our culture’s imagination and reminds us that even our most familiar stories still have the ability to surprise, inspire, and guide us today.
The book is rated 3.93/5 at goodreads.com, from 207 ratings. See 54 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yu9kVb.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: .

A health book recommendation: Life After Life: A Guildford Four Memoir by Paddy Armstrong

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2xLyKdu.
Life After Life is Paddy Armstrong’s account of the nightmare that engulfed his life. It is an extraordinary, terrifying, gripping story.
Book description from Google Books:
Looking back over the last six, almost seven decades, the images that flash through my mind are hardly believable – sometimes, it feels like I’m remembering someone else’s life. The truth is, I’ve lived three very different lives: the one before prison; the one in prison; and my life since then. It has taken years to make sense of it all, but now I’ve found a voice to speak about it.  Paddy Armstrong was one of four people falsely convicted of The Guildford Bombing in 1975. He spent fifteen years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Today, as a husband and father, life is wonderfully ordinary, but the memory of his ordeal lives on. Here, for the first time and with unflinching candour, he lays bare the experiences of those years and their aftermath. Life after Life is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of forgiveness. It reminds us of the privilege of freedom, and how the balm of love, family and everyday life can restore us and mend the scars of even the most savage injustice. ‘This book captures the sweet soul of Paddy. Beautifully written. For lovers of freedom everywhere.’ Jim Sheridan ‘Paddy Armstrong’s account of his wrongful conviction and imprisonment is as gripping as a work of fiction. It is an extraordinary, terrifying story. I am familiar with just about all the considerable body of memoirs arising from the miscarriages of justice of the 1970s, but I can say without equivocation that this is the best. Beautifully written. If it were a work of fiction, it would be worthy of the Man Booker shortlist.’ Chris Mullin, The Observer ‘Couldn’t put it down, stunningly written, honest, shocking, harrowing. A horrendous story, populated with some real heroes’. Noel Whelan, Barrister and Irish Times columnist 
The book is rated 4.48/5 at goodreads.com, from 44 ratings. See 3 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yuC943.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: .

A health book recommendation: Somebody with a Little Hammer: Essays by Mary Gaitskill

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2yw6RJT.
The news these essays bring is, I am happy to say, not at all. She continues to wield a remorseless little hammer.
Book description from Google Books:
“Engaging, unusual essays written over the last two decades, on matters literary, social, cultural, and personal–from the explosive date rape debates of the ’90s to the ubiquitous political adultery of the ’00s, from Anton Chekhov to Celine Dion. Here is Mary Gaitskill the essayist: witty, direct, penetrating to the core of each issue, personality, or literary trope (On Updike: “It is as if [he] has entered a tiny window marked ‘Rabbit,’ and, by some inverse law, passed into a universe of energies both light and dark, expanded and contracted, infinite and workaday.” On Elizabeth Wurtzell: “If this kooky, foot-stamping, self-loathing screed is meant to be, as it claims, a defense of ‘difficult women,’ i.e. women who ‘write their own operating manuals’ . . . all I can say is, bitches best duck and run for cover.”) Gaitskill writes about the ridiculous and poetic ambition of Norman Mailer, about the socio-sexual cataclysm embodied by porn star Linda Lovelace, and, in the deceptively titled “Lost Cat,” about how power and race can warp the most innocent and intimate of relationships. Appearing in chronological order, the essays offer their thoughts and reactions, always with the heat-seeking, revelatory understanding for which we value the author’s fiction”
The book is rated 3.66/5 at goodreads.com, from 219 ratings. See 41 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yvzYgr.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: .

A health book recommendation: The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us by Bruce Feiler

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2xLiF7u.
Feiler plunges into this thicket with verve, intelligence and style. He’s done a miraculous thing, the literary equivalent of breathing life into a figure made of clay — taken a story I’ve been hearing since services were held in the old sanctuary and made me experience it again as if for the first time.
Book description from Google Books:
From the New York Times bestselling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham comes a revelatory journey across four continents and 4,000 years exploring how Adam and Eve introduced the idea of love into the world, and how they continue to shape our deepest feelings about relationships, family, and togetherness. Since antiquity, one story has stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. One couple has been the battleground for human relationships and sexual identity. That couple is Adam and Eve. Yet instead of celebrating them, history has blamed them for bringing sin, deceit, and death into the world. In this fresh retelling of their story, New York Times columnist and PBS host Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from John Milton’s London to Mae West’s Hollywood, discovering how Adam and Eve should be hailed as exemplars of a long-term, healthy, resilient relationship. At a time of discord and fear over the strength of our social fabric, Feiler shows how history’s first couple can again be role models for unity, forgiveness, and love. Containing all the humor, insight, and wisdom that have endeared Bruce Feiler to readers around the world, The First Love Story is an unforgettable journey that restores Adam and Eve to their rightful place as central figures in our culture’s imagination and reminds us that even our most familiar stories still have the ability to surprise, inspire, and guide us today.
The book is rated 3.93/5 at goodreads.com, from 205 ratings. See 54 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yu9kVb.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yuryWX.

A health book recommendation: Exes: A Novel by Max Winter

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2xIfAVS.
…one could easily see the Affleck brothers starring in a film adaptation of this often heartbreaking novel about the devastations of severed attachments.
Book description from Google Books:
[A] heartbreaking novel about the devastations of severed attachments.” —NPR For Clay Blackall, a lifelong resident of Providence, Rhode Island, the place has become an obsession. Here live the only people who can explain what happened to his brother, Eli, whose suicide haunts this heartbreaking, hilarious novel-in-fragments. A failed actor impersonates a former movie star; an ex-con looks after a summer home perched atop a rock in the bay; a broken-hearted salutatorian airs thirteen years’ worth of dirty laundry at his school’s commencement; an adjunct struggles to make room for her homeless and self-absorbed mother while revisiting a scandalous high school love affair; a recent widower, with the help of a clever teen, schemes to rid his condo’s pond of Canada geese. Clay compiles their stories, invasively providing context in the form of notes that lead always, somehow, back to Eli. Behind Clay’s possibly insane, definitely doomed, and increasingly suspect task burns his desire to understand his brother’s death, and the city that has defined and ruined them both. Full of brainy detours and irreverent asides, Exes is a powerful investigation of grief, love, and our deeply held yet ever-changing notions of home.
The book is rated 3.33/5 at goodreads.com, from 73 ratings. See 24 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2yr0M1H.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2yr0Mid.
Google Books preview available in full post.