A health book recommendation: The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/2mVCZPw.
The thickly bound format is ideally read in bed. This is just the kind of book to shut out the world with a sense of Scandinavian comfort.
Book description from Google Books:
The Sunday Times bestseller The New York Times bestseller The Danish word hygge is one of those beautiful words that doesn’t directly translate into English, but it more or less means comfort, warmth or togetherness. Hygge is the feeling you get when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, in warm knitted socks, in front of the fire, when it is dark, cold and stormy outside. It that feeling when you are sharing good, comfort food with your closest friends, by candle light and exchanging easy conversation. It is those cold, crisp blue sky mornings when the light through your window is just right. Denmark is the happiest nation in the world and Meik puts this largely down to them living the hygge way. They focus on the small things that really matter, spend more quality time with friends and family and enjoy the good things in life. The Little Book of Hygge will give you practical steps and tips to become more hygge: how to pick the right lighting, organise a dinner party and even how to dress hygge, all backed up by Meik’s years’ of research at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. This year live more like a Dane, embrace hygge and become happier.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 14200 ratings. See 1660 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mKHIa1.
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A health book recommendation: A.D.H.D. Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic by Alan Schwarz

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2uL1lOC.
After he has shown so convincingly how compromised the research into ADHD has been all along, I find it hard to see how Schwarz can be so certain. But it makes sense for him to concentrate his attack on extreme overdiagnosis, given how urgent and overdue his book is.
Book description from Google Books:
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year The groundbreaking and definitive account of the widespread misdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—and how its unchecked growth over half a century has made ADHD one of the most controversial conditions in medicine, with serious effects on children, adults, and society.More than 1 in 7 American children get diagnosed with ADHD—three times what experts have said is appropriate—meaning that millions of kids are misdiagnosed and taking medications such as Adderall or Concerta for a psychiatric condition they probably do not have. The numbers rise every year. And still, many experts and drug companies deny any cause for concern. In fact, they say that adults and the rest of the world should embrace ADHD and that its medications will transform their lives. In ADHD Nation, Alan Schwarz examines the roots and the rise of this cultural and medical phenomenon: The father of ADHD, Dr. Keith Conners, spends fifty years advocating drugs like Ritalin before realizing his role in what he now calls “a national disaster of dangerous proportions”; a troubled young girl and a studious teenage boy get entangled in the growing ADHD machine and take medications that backfire horribly; and big Pharma egregiously over-promotes the disorder and earns billions from the mishandling of children (and now adults). While demonstrating that ADHD is real and can be medicated when appropriate, Schwarz sounds a long-overdue alarm and urges America to address this growing national health crisis.
The book is rated 4.15/5 at goodreads.com, from 243 ratings. See 62 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uKLijX.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xs9qMw.
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A health book recommendation: Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2d7RpX4.
These accounts alone make the book worth reading. Taken together, they form a powerful argument against the old idea that other species lack a cognitively rich inner life.
Book description from Google Books:
What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future–all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal–and human–intelligence.
The book is rated 3.94/5 at goodreads.com, from 3833 ratings. See 555 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2d7QJRk.
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A health book recommendation: Land of Enchantment by Leigh Stein

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2drELlS.
Because her memoir is told with some time behind it, Stein is able to reexamine and to edit her story, or at least to reframe it.
Book description from Google Books:
Set against the stark and surreal landscape of New Mexico, Land of Enchantment is a coming-of-age memoir about young love, obsession, and loss, and how a person can imprint a place in your mind forever.   When Leigh Stein received a call from an unknown number in July 2011, she let it go to voice mail, assuming it would be her ex-boyfriend Jason. Instead, the call was from his brother: Jason had been killed in a motorcycle accident. He was twenty-three years old. She had seen him alive just a few weeks earlier. Leigh first met Jason at an audition for a tragic play. He was nineteen and troubled and intensely magnetic, a dead ringer for James Dean. Leigh was twenty-two and living at home with her parents, trying to figure out what to do with her young adult life. Within months, they had fallen in love and moved to New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment,” a place neither of them had ever been. But what was supposed to be a romantic adventure quickly turned sinister, as Jason’s behavior went from playful and spontaneous to controlling and erratic, eventually escalating to violence. Now New Mexico was marked by isolation and the anxiety of how to leave a man she both loved and feared. Even once Leigh moved on to New York, throwing herself into her work, Jason and their time together haunted her. Land of Enchantment lyrically explores the heartbreaking complexity of why the person hurting you the most can be impossible to leave.. With searing honesty and cutting humor, Leigh wrestles with what made her fall in love with someone so destructive and how to grieve a man who wasn’t always good to her.
The book is rated 3.86/5 at goodreads.com, from 249 ratings. See 63 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cQ1vhW.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sfHC9e.

A health book recommendation: The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future by Joselin Linder

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2wyNg7G.
In her crisply written, deeply informed memoir, “The Family Gene,” Joselin Linder captures the dread and fatigue that accompanies such an odyssey, how it ripples out to engulf multiple branches of a family.
Book description from Google Books:
A riveting medical mystery about a young woman’s quest to uncover the truth about her likely fatal genetic disorder that opens a window onto the exploding field of genomic medicineWhen Joselin Linder was in her twenties her legs suddenly started to swell. After years of misdiagnoses, doctors discovered a deadly blockage in her liver. Struggling to find  an explanation for her unusual condition, Joselin compared the medical chart of her father—who had died from a mysterious disease, ten years prior—with that of an uncle who had died under similarly strange circumstances. Delving further into the past, she discovered that her great-grandmother had displayed symptoms similar to hers before her death. Clearly, this was more than a fluke. Setting out to build a more complete picture of the illness that haunted her family, Joselin approached Dr. Christine Seidman, the head of a group of world-class genetic researchers at Harvard Medical School, for help. Dr. Seidman had been working on her family’s case for twenty years and had finally confirmed that fourteen of Joselin’s relatives carried something called a private mutation—meaning that they were the first known people to experience the baffling symptoms of a brand new genetic mutation. Here, Joselin tells the story of their gene: the lives it claimed and the future of genomic medicine with the potential to save those that remain. Digging into family records and medical history, conducting interviews with relatives and friends, and reflecting on her own experiences with the Harvard doctor, Joselin pieces together the lineage of this deadly gene to write a gripping and unforgettable exploration of family, history, and love. A compelling chronicle of survival and perseverance, The Family Gene is an important story of a young woman reckoning with her father’s death, her own mortality, and her ethical obligations to herself and those closest to her.
The book is rated 4.10/5 at goodreads.com, from 335 ratings. See 69 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xcYYIL.
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A health book recommendation: Patient H.M.: A Family’s Secrets, the Ruthless Pursuit of Knowledge, and the Brain That Changed Everything by Luke Dittrich

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2cJD061.
The ability to write gracefully about something as abstruse as the brain, to clarify a complex idea with just the right metaphor, is a special skill.
Book description from Google Books:
For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks comes a propulsive, haunting journey into the secret history of brain science by Luke Dittrich, whose grandfather performed the surgery that created the most studied human research subject of all time: the amnesic known as Patient H.M. “Oliver Sacks meets Stephen King in a piercing study of one of psychiatric medicine’s darker hours. . . . A mesmerizing, maddening story and a model of journalistic investigation.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review) In 1953, a twenty-seven-year-old factory worker named Henry Molaison–who suffered from severe epilepsy–received a radical new version of the then-common lobotomy, targeting the most mysterious structures in the brain. The operation failed to eliminate Henry’s seizures, but it did have an unintended effect: Henry was left profoundly amnesic, unable to create long-term memories. Over the next sixty years, Patient H.M., as Henry was known, became the most studied individual in the history of neuroscience, a human guinea pig who would teach us much of what we know about memory today. Patient H.M. is, at times, a deeply personal journey. Dittrich’s grandfather was the brilliant, morally complex surgeon who operated on Molaison–and thousands of other patients. The author’s investigation into the dark roots of modern memory science ultimately forces him to confront unsettling secrets in his own family history, and to reveal the tragedy that fueled his grandfather’s relentless experimentation–experimentation that would revolutionize our understanding of ourselves. Dittrich uses the case of Patient H.M. as a starting point for a kaleidoscopic journey, one that moves from the first recorded brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the cutting-edge laboratories of MIT. He takes readers inside the old asylums and operating theaters where psychosurgeons, as they called themselves, conducted their human experiments, and behind the scenes of a bitter custody battle over the ownership of the most important brain in the world. Patient H.M. combines the best of biography, memoir, and science journalism to create a haunting, endlessly fascinating story, one that reveals the wondrous and devastating things that can happen when hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide. Advance praise for Patient H.M. “Patient H.M. tells one of the most fascinating and disturbing stories in the annals of medicine, weaving in ethics, philosophy, a personal saga, the history of neurosurgery, the mysteries of human memory, and an exploration of human ego.”–Sheri Fink, M.D., Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Five Days at Memorial “Dittrich explores the limits of science and the mind. In the process, he rescues an iconic life from oblivion. Dittrich is well aware that while we are the sum of what we may remember, we’re also at the mercy of what we can forget. This is classic reporting and myth-making at the same time.”–Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin “This book succeeds on every level: as a fresh look at the most famous patient in medical history, as an exposé of our dark history of psychiatry and neurosurgery, and, most powerfully, as a deeply personal investigation into the author’s past. And yet it’s still a page-turner that reads like a thriller.”–Susannah Cahalan, author of Brain on Fire “It felt as if I read this book in one breath. Patient H.M. is a fascinating, powerful investigation, a matryoshka doll of nested stories about the past and present, remembering and forgetting.”–Michael Paterniti, author of The Telling Room
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 2264 ratings. See 450 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2ctW3RM.
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A health book recommendation: Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society by Cordelia Fine

A critic review (source The Economist) can be read at: http://econ.st/2wCIpCv.
Despite this, Ms Fine’s is a provocative and often fascinating book. Armed with an array of studies on everything from rats to humans, she shows that adaptive traits can take different forms depending on the circumstances, and nothing is fixed.
Book description from Google Books:
Many people believe that, at its core, biological sex is a fundamental, diverging force in human development. According to this overly familiar story, differences between the sexes are shaped by past evolutionary pressures–women are more cautious and parenting-focused, while men seek status to attract more mates. In each succeeding generation, sex hormones and male and female brains are thought to continue to reinforce these unbreachable distinctions, making for entrenched inequalities in modern society.In Testosterone Rex, psychologist Cordelia Fine wittily explains why past and present sex roles are only serving suggestions for the future, revealing a much more dynamic situation through an entertaining and well-documented exploration of the latest research that draws on evolutionary science, psychology, neuroscience, endocrinology, and philosophy. She uses stories from daily life, scientific research, and common sense to break through the din of cultural assumptions. Testosterone, for instance, is not the potent hormonal essence of masculinity; the presumed, built-in preferences of each sex, from toys to financial risk taking, are turned on their heads.Moving beyond the old “nature versus nurture” debates, Testosterone Rex disproves ingrained myths and calls for a more equal society based on both sexes’ full, human potential.
The book is rated 3.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 432 ratings. See 95 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xhzSsq.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xhhYWA.

A health book recommendation: How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2uvQ7m1.
This is the first and best history of this courage, and a reminder that if gay life and culture flourish for a thousand years, people will still say, “This was their finest hour.”
Book description from Google Books:
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book The definitive history of the successful battle to halt the AIDS epidemic–from the creator of, and inspired by, the seminal documentary How to Survive a Plague. A riveting, powerful telling of the story of the grassroots movement of activists, many of them in a life-or-death struggle, who seized upon scientific research to help develop the drugs that turned HIV from a mostly fatal infection to a manageable disease. Ignored by public officials, religious leaders, and the nation at large, and confronted with shame and hatred, this small group of men and women chose to fight for their right to live by educating themselves and demanding to become full partners in the race for effective treatments. Around the globe, 16 million people are alive today thanks to their efforts. Not since the publication of Randy Shilts’s classic And the Band Played On has a book measured the AIDS plague in such brutally human, intimate, and soaring terms. In dramatic fashion, we witness the founding of ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group), and the rise of an underground drug market in opposition to the prohibitively expensive (and sometimes toxic) AZT. We watch as these activists learn to become their own researchers, lobbyists, drug smugglers, and clinicians, establishing their own newspapers, research journals, and laboratories, and as they go on to force reform in the nation’s disease-fighting agencies. With his unparalleled access to this community David France illuminates the lives of extraordinary characters, including the closeted Wall Street trader-turned-activist, the high school dropout who found purpose battling pharmaceutical giants in New York, the South African physician who helped establish the first officially recognized buyers’ club at the height of the epidemic, and the public relations executive fighting to save his own life for the sake of his young daughter. Expansive yet richly detailed, this is an insider’s account of a pivotal moment in the history of American civil rights. Powerful, heart-wrenching, and finally exhilarating, How to Survive a Plague is destined to become an essential part of the literature of AIDS.
The book is rated 4.41/5 at goodreads.com, from 766 ratings. See 160 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uwnu8g.
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A health book recommendation: Labyrinths: Emma Jung, Her Marriage to Carl, and the Early Years of Psychoanalysis by Catrine Clay

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2wxWb9u.
The subject is rich, definitely, and Jungian analysis has a groovy, woo-woo sort of appeal. But Ms. Clay’s sourcing is thin. She devotes pages of filler to the glorious architecture of Middle Europe — sounding uncomfortably close to the sales pitch for a Viking River Cruise…
Book description from Google Books:
 A sensational, eye-opening account of Emma Jung’s complex marriage to Carl Gustav Jung and the hitherto unknown role she played in the early years of the psychoanalytic movement.Clever and ambitious, Emma Jung yearned to study the natural sciences at the University of Zurich. But the strict rules of proper Swiss society at the beginning of the twentieth century dictated that a woman of Emma’s stature—one of the richest heiresses in Switzerland—travel to Paris to “finish” her education, to prepare for marriage to a suitable man. Engaged to the son of one of her father’s wealthy business colleagues, Emma’s conventional and predictable life was upended when she met Carl Jung. The son of a penniless pastor working as an assistant physician in an insane asylum, Jung dazzled Emma with his intelligence, confidence, and good looks. More important, he offered her freedom from the confines of a traditional haute-bourgeois life. But Emma did not know that Jung’s charisma masked a dark interior—fostered by a strange, isolated childhood and the sexual abuse he’d suffered as a boy—as well as a compulsive philandering that would threaten their marriage. Using letters, family interviews, and rich, never-before-published archival material, Catrine Clay illuminates the Jungs’ unorthodox marriage and explores how it shaped—and was shaped by—the scandalous new movement of psychoanalysis. Most important, Clay reveals how Carl Jung could never have achieved what he did without Emma supporting him through his private torments. The Emma that emerges in the pages of Labyrinths is a strong, brilliant woman, who, with her husband’s encouragement, becomes a successful analyst in her own right.
The book is rated 3.66/5 at goodreads.com, from 73 ratings. See 21 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cVuzSy.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2t8X4o5.

A health book recommendation: The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Benjamin Spock M. D.

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2eoap41.
Where previous American parenting guides were stern and repressive, Spock was humane, benign and borderline permissive, based on – this was really radical – his devout reading of Freud.
Book description from Google Books:
This is a reprint of the One and Only Original book by Dr. Benjamin Spock on Baby and Child Care. Prior to this reprint, the original book had not been reprinted since 1957. Instead there have been many new books, all bearing Dr. Spock’s name, but these have been considerably different books and usually much shorter. No book published after 1957 has been a true reprint of the original book. Starting with Baby and Child Care (2nd ed.). New York: Pocket Books (1957), books have been coming out claiming to be new editions of the original book, but in reality they are different books, not the same book. Poor Dr. Spock has had to cater to the demands of various pressure groups who demanded revisions of his work.
The book is rated 4.16/5 at goodreads.com, from 19 ratings. See 2 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dwLGgm.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sdrvco.