Oh hey, look, more book reviews.
Cataloochee, A Novel by Wayne Caldwell
Ambitious novel telling the story of a few generations living in the area in Tennessee that is now the Great Smokey Mountains. The prose was true to the “country” way of talking, but not pretty. There were a lot of characters, but the most prominent one was painfully unlikable. I just read another book (Homegoing) that told a story spanning generations, and Cataloochee compares unfavorably.
This sentence was the only thing I noted.
Pretty good, he thought, to marry a woman, live with her seventeen years, and still like having her around.
Seems like a sweet enough life.
Marcus Aurellius: A Life by Frank McLynn
A biography of the former emperor of Rome who ruled from 161 to 180 A.D. I picked it up because I love the idea of stoicism and Marcus is a famous early stoic. Unfortunately, this book was about 750 pages of dense paragraphs full of mundane details painting a picture of a very different time. I think some of that detail is necessary, but I gave up after 250 pages. I just don’t have the brain space to care about that time period right now.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
I wrote an entire post about this book I liked it so much. The authors talk about how to form a healthy attachment and create a stable and loving relationship by knowing yourself and picking people who complement your attachment style.
I think their website is pretty good if you don’t want to read the whole book.
The Art & Science of Low Carb Performance by Jeff S. Volek and Stephen D. Phinney
Great science explanations of why humans thrive on a low carbohydrate diet. This is what Gary Taubes told me in Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It. I think this is the right diet. Low carbs, moderate protein, a good amount of fat.
He gives a lot of good advice on what to eat and what to avoid. It’s hard to follow as a vegetarian, but I don’t think that’s a reason to completely shun it.
Carb the Fuck Up by Harley ‘Durianrider’ Johnstone
The author is vegan and preaches a high carb, low fat diet. Vegan bodybuilding? Interesting! My hopes were high.
Unfortunately, I can’t connect with the way this guy writes. I do think it’s possible to get a six-pack as a vegan, but reading this book felt like he was yelling at me. Filled with memes, I found it difficult to absorb and didn’t finish it.
This guy advocates a specific weight lifting routine to get strong. The more research I do, the more I’m convinced that weight lifting is the superior way to work out. And I dig what this guy is saying. Why spend a ton of time isolating different muscles when you can do a specific set of exercises that targets everything? Gradually increase the amount of weight you can lift and you’ll get stronger. “Muscle size is directly related to strength gain.” That makes sense to me.
If I ever get a gym membership, I want to try this routine. He wrote the book for men, but I think the exercises would work for women as well. It’s a bunch of squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses and barbell rows. About half the book is just testimonials and success stories.
The 4-Hour Body: The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferris
I’ve heard of Tim Ferris before, but I’ve never read anything he’s written. He takes my love of measuring and experimenting to a degree above and beyond. I found his book articulate and thorough, full of nuance and advice. Almost too much advice.
The author warns you against reading the book all the way through. He suggests you pick the chapter you want and follow that. That’s definitely the right approach. I plowed through and it was just too much information. A lot of good advice and now I’m overwhelmed and in dire need of a new voice. I’m not having much luck with these 700+ page monsters.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Guy graduates college and then begins his life as a nomadic hobo. He ends up in Alaska, dead. A journalist pieces together his story and tells it here. It took me longer than it should have to read because I didn’t really like the character.
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe and illustrated by Jason Kelly
A book explaining the superiority of weight training over using machines at the gym. He advocates compound exercises that train your body the way it moves naturally. These same exercises come up over and over again. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses are the way to go. The author goes into excruciating detail on every single exercise, with pictures and dozens and dozens of pages worth of explanations. The good kind of excruciating.
When I join a gym with a variety of weights, I will read this again.