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November 13, 2008

So I was hoping for a pretty widget where I could put a list of blog-relevant books that would just take you to a pretty amazon list, but so far none of of them has worked. If you know how to put one on a wordpress blog, let me know.

I’ve been meaning to put a list together of book recommendations that are, at least, tangentially related to this blog. Not recommendations in the sense of “this book is great and will change your life” so much as “this has a viewpoint/some information that is worth considering.”

One thing I find troublesome is how often people close themselves off from information that may contradict their current opinions/beliefs. Whole threads on message boards where people dismiss Gary Taubes’ work and not one single person has read his book. People who completely dismiss any talk of fat acceptance and who ‘refuse’ to read Gina Kolata, Glenn Gaesser or Paul Campos – they’ll happily tell you what they think these writers believe and go to town knocking that down, but they can’t be bothered to read a word of it.

This doesn’t mean I think people have to read every. single. book written on a subject before forming an opinion. Nor do I have a problem with people making choices based on what they know of the author or reviews of a book. Hey, you don’t care what a lawyer thinks about obesity? Awesome. I don’t care what about some general MD’s theory about ‘toxic fats’ or ‘toxic hunger’ that has absolutely no scientific support. But, if you have some time and a library card, there’s absolutely no harm in actually becoming acquainted with a myriad of ideas.

So with the idea that knowledge is power, I’m putting together a list of books I’ve read that relate to fat, food, science and health. These are all books that I’ve read and, eventually, I’ll review most of them here.

As I said above, these are all books whose ideas I think are worth consideration and no matter where you personally fall on the various spectrums of ideas wrt fat and health, it’s good to read something that doesn’t totally line up with your current beliefs.

So what books do you not see on my list that you think I should read? There might be a few that I have read and just forgotten, but give me some recommendations and I’ll add them as I read them. One thing though, I don’t care to read fad diet books. Unless you can give me a really good reason for why one is different (like, it doesn’t promise ridiculous results or rely on “studies” that consist of all the people the author tells you succeeded on their program) then don’t bother.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2008 12:13 am

    I’d add “Strong Women Stay Slim” by Miriam Nelson. I dislike the weight-loss focus, but this was the book that really got me into strength training and I think the author is a conscientious scientist and approaches the book from that standpoint (though I’ve blogged before about what I think of the book’s assertion that people lose weight and keep it off all the time, tra la la). Anyway, I still think it’s a worthwhile book. Or maybe her other one, Strong Women Stay Young, would be more appropriate; I haven’t read it.

    Geneen Roth’s books might be appropriate to include for completeness on the topic of intuitive eating. I know not all or most fat people are compulsive eaters, but I feel like hers is one of the major intuitive eating approaches.

    PastaQueen has a list of recommended books on the sidebar. You might ask her how she did it, though she seems to be a big-time programmer so it might be a custom thing rather than a transferable widget.

  2. November 14, 2008 8:42 am

    We started a similar post on my messageboard and there are a lot of good resources there, but you have to register before you can view it.

  3. November 14, 2008 10:10 am

    One book which I really enjoyed was “Losing It” by Laura Fraser (I’ve actually been meaning to pick up a copy so that I can re-read it). It’s a very interesting look at some of the history and ins and outs of the diet industry.

    I know that doesn’t quite match what you’ve got on the rest of the list but it’s a good intro about just why one should be suspicious of the claims of the diet industry.

    Sadly, it’s out of print. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a secondhand copy, though.

  4. mccn permalink
    November 14, 2008 12:28 pm

    Does the Shelfari widget work for WordPress? You could create a Shelfari account for your blog – I have used the widget on other blogs, and the widget scrolls through images of the covers of the books, and you can click on the books for a full descriptor from Shelfari site. . .

  5. Art3mis permalink
    November 14, 2008 6:19 pm

    “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight” by Linda Bacon

    It just came out; pretty good read. I was more interested in the first half with all the scientific stuff than the last half which felt rather like a pep talk. Then again, many people need that pep talk so it certainly has its place.

    I’ve read 4 of the books on your list, and will get around to reading some more 🙂

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