Reading to better myself

Caroline Vandriel reflects on what she's been reading lately.

I purchase for the library’s Adult Fiction and the Large Print collections, mostly because that is where my personal reading interests are, and the fact that I really don’t like wearing my reading glasses. I do try to branch out from time to time; but in non-fiction reading, I stick with the purely practical: how to make or do things, and self-help.

As I age, as my joints stiffen and gravity becomes my enemy, I have come to accept that I need to eat better. Thus, I turn to self-help books, like Beat Sugar Addiction Now, by Jacob Teitelbaum. I am a sugar addict and need to find a way to stop.

Imagine my disappointment when I get to the actual advice part of the book and learn that in order to beat my sugar addiction I should stop…eating…sugar. Seriously? I dismissed the book, having read less than half.

Next, I started reading Adrenal Thyroid Revolution by Aviva Romm. And it spoke to me! Everything she was saying in the first part of the book seemed to be meant for me, particularly.

I was excited by this, but as the book got into the easy, step-by-step process of how to stop eating sugar, I became more and more disinclined to read it. One of the sad effects of my addiction is that I really don’t want to stop. To my chagrin, I have relegated that title to the stack of the unread, promising myself that I’ll get back to it, eventually.

Still inclined to improve myself, even if only my mind and not my health, I did a quick search through the Junior Non-Fiction section and came away with two, thin items, with many pictures. I like books with pictures.

The first is Rick Hansen: Improving Life for People with Disabilities by Adrianna Moganelli. I remember Rick Hansen and his Man in Motion tour from when I was in high school, and was interested enough to want to read more.

It’s a good thing I was interested in the subject otherwise I’d have quickly given up. Moganelli simply tries too hard to be educational. Little boxes and bubbles with side notes, tangents, and those horrible “think about it”-bubbles encourage the reader to imagine themselves in similar situations.

Those and the writing prompts at the end were the sort of things that turned me off reading non-fiction as a kid. The introduction sets up this hyper-reflectiveness, making the book focus more on the cognitive than the subject. Chapter one establishes the chronology, and if I were to recommend this to kids, I’d tell them to start there and skip the introduction and side notes.

Finally, I learned something from Huron-Wendat Community, by Todd Kortemeier. I grew up in the area originally settled by these people, yet had very little knowledge of them. In school I wasn’t taught about the residential schools, so this is definitely an area where I could learn a whole lot more.

The layout of the book is clean, attractive, and colourful. There is a map depicting the area and a glossary at the end. Overall, I was impressed until I looked up the author. He doesn’t appear to be of native descent, and is best known for his book, Superstars of WWE, which somehow lessens the authenticity of the information.

I give a thumbs up to Adrenal Thyroid Revolution; give Beat Sugar Addiction Now a miss; Rick Hansen: Improving Life for People is ok, but overdone and Huron-Wendat Community is a good start to the topic.

Happy Reading!