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Venkat Raghavan Rangamani RSS Feed (Massachusetts)

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Never Let Me Go
Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Edition: Hardcover
160 used & new from $0.01

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The power of the unspoken word., October 5, 2005
This review is from: Never Let Me Go (Hardcover)
Ishiguro is a learned man's entertainer and an acquired taste. When I first read his first novel "Artist of the Floating World" several years ago, I couldn't see the virtue in his rambling style of writing, but some inexplicable pull brought me back to read "Remains of the Day" and it finally dawned on me that what makes his writing so special is his ability to harness the power of the unspoken word.

In this book as in Ishiguro's others, the story is between the lines. Ishiguro builds detailed characters and engages in leisurely narratives but along the way he leaves behind questions in your mind that he won't simply answer for you. Why don't the donors ever try to fight their fate? Why do they aspire for a postponement, why not a cancellation of donations altogether? Why is learning to drive such a big deal? How come there is no mention of the students' families? Why do they complete, not die? If you followed the deceptively rambling details all along, the jigsaw may just finally fit. No quick thrills here but the sunset at the top of the hill is gorgeous.

Ishiguro's mastery lies in crafting a great plot and infusing it with sensitivity - never underestimating the intelligence of the reader, never casting moral issues in black and white, never drawing conclusions for the reader. There are more metaphors and allusions here than the average reader (me included) can see. This book is a worthy contender for the Booker 2005 and I hope it wins.

The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life: How to Reduce Fat in Your Diet and Eliminate Virtually All Risk of Heart Disease
The 10% Solution for a Healthy Life: How to Reduce Fat in Your Diet and Eliminate Virtually All Risk of Heart Disease
by Raymond Kurzweil
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.83
82 used & new from $0.01

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kurzweil vs Fuhrman, September 6, 2005
When I started reading this book, I had already read enough to be convinced about the effectiveness of a low fat diet in both weight loss and disease prevention. I had read Joel Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" (read my review) and bought into the idea quite fully. Nevertheless the 10% solution added much to my knowledge on the subject. In particular, I found Kurzweil's clarifications about healthy and unhealthy fats particularly insightful and some of my faulty beliefs about polyunsaturated fats were rectified. Canola oil may be free of cholestrol but that doesnt mean its harmless ! Olive oil is a little better but go easy on that too.

Kurzweil has organized this book as a question and answer conversation between himself and a skeptic. This interesting format makes for easier reading. There are also some useful charts about ideal weight based on a system that are a little more advanced than the simplistic Body Mass Index. You are probably going to find out like me that you have a few more pounds to shed than you initially thought !

My only complaint about this book is that it hasnt been revised in almost a decade and so doesnt contain a lot of lessons learned from recent research. While the book does talk about caloric restriction as a life extension method, it does not stress adequately, the recent findings of the CRON (Calorie restriction with optimal nutrition) diet. While the importance of cutting down fat is explained very well, the disease fighting capabilities of fruits and vegetables and their extraordinary importance in a healthy diet are not adequately emphasised in this book.

Recent research shows us that many of the cancer fighting properties of fruits and vegetables may come from compounds whose importance we dont fully understand yet. Perhaps we may never fully isolate all compounds and we almost certainly wont be able to put them all into pills. Many of the recipes in the book are focussed on cutting down fat but dont try hard enough to make the non fat calories nutritionally dense. In that respect the book doesnt go far enough. Joel Fuhrman succintly summarizes it all in his book "Eat to Live" when he asks the reader to go right now and paste a note on the fridge that says "The salad is the main dish!"

In conclusion, this is a great book but if you are going to read only one book, that better be "Eat to Live".

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