Glute Lab by Bret Contreras PhD and Glen Cordoza
So far I would highly recommend this book. It is pretty thick, which is a good sign for a book all about the hindquarters. Yes, I know glutes are all the rage right now but it's a good thing in my opinion, because this increased media attention is getting these oft overlooked muscles the accolade they deserve. The Gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle in the body by mass, and drives much of the power displayed in athletic movements like jumping and sprinting. Along with the gluteus medius and minimus (and other hip muscles too), the glute max stabilizes the hips and knees, and strength/endurance in these muscles can help prevent common complaints like low back pain or knee pain. Besides that, nice glutes just look nice (and although some may disagree with me, there are several great arguments in this book to support!). This book goes over functional anatomy, the plethora of kinesiology research related to the posterior chain, instructions on exercises and programing for building a great backside (and actually for the whole body) no matter what your goal. Like a good scientist, I plan to test many of these strategies out on myself first, so check back with me next Spring.
I’m reading The Ministry of Truth by Dorian Lynskey, which is an excellent biography of George Orwell through the vision of his book 1984. It prompted me to read 1984 again. I learned much about Eric Blair and can finally say what “Orwellian” really means.
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
Set in the Joshua Tree area, The Other Americans is the interwoven stories of a Moroccan immigrant family and the longtime white residents of that area, plus an undocumented Mexican family, and many more well-defined and memorable characters.
Highly recommended for insight into several immigrant communities, the pursuit of the American dream, and the challenges thereof. A great story with valuable insights into human behavior.
If you are discouraged by the current political climate, Steven Greenhouse's Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present and Future of American Labor is a must-read. Greenhouse documents the decline of U.S. organized labor and the resulting rollback of our well-being and rights. But he also shines a light on efforts by working people to reverse these trends. Many of the positive trends take place in California and give me hope that we can see better days. For a wonderful review see this month's New York Times.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Would you recommend it? Yes!
This novel tells a riveting story of rock musicians in 1970s Los Angeles and their experiences on tour. It’s told as an oral history, with different band members, friends and family, journalists, and other characters adding their perspective to the era being remembered. Often there are conflicting memories of the same events and this made for a very fun read. It’s being adapted into a TV series for Amazon.
The Guarded Gate by Daniel Okrent
There is an interesting book review in the 9/26 issue of the New York Review of Books: it's about the history of the American immigration and how almost every group has been branded undesirable at one time or another. We think of the Mexicans now, but not so long ago it was the Irish and the Italians and even the Germans who were judged inferior races! And of course you have the usual targets: the Blacks, the Jews, the Chinese, etc. The truly superior race apparently was located in north-western Europe: the Brits, of course, the Scandinavians and not much else. Eventually all this was justified with eugenics and pseudo "science."
So if you have white supremacist students, you might encourage them to read the book (The Guarded Gate by Daniel Okrent): they might find to their dismay that they are descendants of one of these undesirable races! If that shatters their self-image, suggest to them another book that was reviewed in the same issue of the NYRB: Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow. Hopefully that might help.
I’m reading Still Standing by Anaite Alvarado.
Would you recommend it? Yes, definitely!
It’s a beautifully written, compelling memoir of a woman wrongly imprisoned in Guatemala. Your heart goes out to the author as she battles a corrupt legal system and tries to get home to her two young children, and she also introduces you to the other women in the prison. These are women who society has essentially thrown away, without fair legal representation, regardless of whether they’re guilty or not, and if guilty, regardless of the circumstances that led to their crime, such as saving their children from abuse.
This is a fascinating window into a world we wouldn’t otherwise know about, and shines a light on human rights abuses. But it’s also inspirational—the author makes the best of her circumstances and helps others, building a prison library and teaching English to the children of the other prisoners, and she never gives up. She demands justice and fights for it. I loved it!