Self-Help for Non-Gurus

By Vivienne Uccello, Public Relations Coordinator

The Miracle of MindfulnessI am an unabashed fan of self-help books. What better way to spend your time than by improving yourself and your life? Someone once told me that Ghandi said “be the change you wish to see in the world.” So, let’s go! Here are a few of my favorite self-helpers that are guaranteed not to bore you with platitudes.

The title of Jen Sincero’s book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life gives the first clue about how funny, irreverent, and straight-talking she is. Sincero is the tough-loving best friend who can be blunt without ever hurting your feelings. Chapters like “My Subconscious Made Me Do It” and “Fear is for Suckers” will share good tips, teach you how to find the courage to change your life, and keep you laughing all at the same time.

What I love most about this book is that Sincero never gets preachy. Her words are always loving and often hilarious. Her main advice, which she repeats at the end of each chapter, is to love yourself and everything else will fall into place.  Plus, she isn’t snooty. Sincero uses the word “ain’t,” and phrases such as “break out the booze,” which keep her from sounding “holier than thou.”

You are a Badass has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for more than a year, and Jen Sincero professes to have helped “even the most skeptical self-helpers change their lives.” It’s definitely worth checking out.

Sincero also has a new book coming out in April. You are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth promises to be “a refreshingly frank and entertaining step-by-step guide.” From what I’ve read so far, it’s probably going to be another bestseller so you should keep it on your radar.

Another book which has helped me greatly, and I believe has changed my life, is called The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. Mindfulness describes a state of being aware and awake for even the small moments in our lives. Have you ever arrived at work without being able to remember the drive? Do you sometimes look up from your Facebook feed to realize that hours have passed? It’s easy to get caught up in tasks and forget to enjoy the experience of being alive, but this unfortunately means that we also miss out on the joys of living.

In The Miracle of Mindfulness, Hahn shares stories and practical advice which remind us to pay attention. He gives readers practice skills which can be as simple as not reaching for the next bite of food until you finish chewing. His teaching style is loving and gentle, and after you read his book you will find yourself breathing deeper and noticing things you used to take for granted.

Finally, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler, is the best resource I’ve found for making difficult conversations end well. The book is well-researched, backed up with both practical advice and statistical information, and will give you concrete examples of how to check your emotions and speak respectfully even in heated situations.

Crucial Conversations will set you up for communication success. By taking a moment to decide what you want out of a conversation and acknowledging the needs of the other person, you can create safe space for everyone involved. Most importantly, you will learn how to speak honestly and directly without damaging your relationships. The techniques are easy to remember, and this would be a good book to study as a group. I’ve noticed immediate results from the skills I learned in Crucial Conversations and I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know.

Even though it’s a catchy phrase for bumper stickers, Ghandi did not actually say “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” He did, however, say that “if we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” Working on yourself can have widespread effects in your family and in all of your relationships. Now is always the perfect time to take small steps to improve your life. For more recommendations, or to check out any of these books, visit the Manhattan Public Library.

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Flipster Digital Magazines


Flipster online magazines
Starting February 1, 2017, Manhattan Public Library cardholders will have access to digital magazines with Flipster. Just click on the Flipster link here or on the Resources page, enter your library card information and access a site where you can browse available magazines. You can then click on a magazine to view it in your browser. You can also access magazines with the Flipster app, which will allow you to download magazines for offline viewing.

These magazines are available in Flipster:

  • Better Homes and Gardens
  • Country Living
  • Discover
  • Food Network
  • HGTV
  • Highlights for Kids
  • New Yorker
  • O, The Oprah Magazine
  • Popular Mechanics
  • Popular Science
  • Prevention
  • Ranger Rick
  • Rolling Stone
  • Seventeen
  • Teen Vogue
  • Woman’s Day

Library staff can assist you if you have questions and the resources below can help you get started.

Video tutorials:

Flipster on Desktop

Flipster for Mobile Devices

Here are some handy guides for getting started:

Getting Started with Flipster

iOS App for iPad and iPhone

Android App

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Contemporary Immigration and Children’s Books

By Jennifer Bergen, Youth Services Manager

The JourneyThis year’s three-part TALK program (Talk About Literature in Kansas) at the library will focus on books about contemporary immigration. It is a timely topic that many adults struggle to understand more fully. When it comes to children, explaining what it means to be an immigrant or a refugee can be even more of a challenge. Reading one of these picture books together may help open communication.

Their Great Gift by John Coy tells a heartfelt story of a shared experience that rings true. Describing the unnamed family of the story, Coy writes, “They made mistakes and people laughed. Others didn’t understand how much they’d sacrificed.” This thin book is full of remarkable photographs of immigrants by Wing Young Huie. Each photo is striking and seems to have a story of its own.

In I am New Here, author/ illustrator Anne Sibley O’Brien shows three children experiencing the lonely and confusing transition after leaving a country and a language behind. Maria, Jin and Fatimah show bravery and courage as they find ways to fit in at their new school.  In an interview, O’Brien says she “noticed there was a missing piece” when people seemed to think immigrant children came as “blank slates.” The truth is these children “bring with them full, complete, rich lives in which they have already accomplished so much and know so much.” In her book, she strives to bring out that richness and fullness.

Jose Manuel Mateo and Javier Martinez Pedro chose to create their book Migrant in the format of a codex. The book unfolds like an accordion and is read from top to bottom. The topic is heavy, describing a mother who must take her children and leave their country.  The detailed ink drawing is fascinating as it evolves from a happier time in Mexico to their new life in L. A.

Two White Rabbits by Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng is also a somber tale of a father and his daughter traveling by various means – walking, riding atop a train or in the back of a truck. The unnamed setting is desolate and marked with homeless people, refugees, foxes and soldiers. The young girl’s voice is not distraught, though. She finds beauty in the clouds and friendship in the people she meets, but their traveling does not seem to have an end. This book could bring out questions from children for which we do not have many answers.

Mama’s Nightingale by Edwidge Danticat tackles another tough situation when Saya’s mother is imprisoned for being an illegal immigrant.  The mother sends Saya cassette tapes so she can listen to her mother’s voice, and Saya is moved to write a story of her own to try to change her situation.

The Journey by Francesca Sanna is a child’s view of leaving everything behind to escape to a new place, with illustrations that Kirkus Review describes as “playing dramatically and beautifully with light and shadow…to accentuate the family’s struggles.”

In the award-winning picture book My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald, the main character, nicknamed Cartwheel, has left her home country to be safe. But nothing feels right. “The food was strange. The animals and plants were strange. Even the wind felt strange,” so she invents an imaginary blanket of her old words and familiar things. This metaphor gives readers a sensory object — a warm, soft blanket that can cover Cartwheel with the things she loves and misses.

Similarly, The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart describes how new immigrant Isabel prefers to hang out in a special place she made from discarded cardboard boxes.  Here, she merges her love of and longing for her old language with the delight of learning new words and piecing them together.

For another positive outlook, try Jamie Lee Curtis’s new picture book, This is Me: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From. The rhyming text is perfect for younger children, and it may lead to an insightful activity where children try to decide what they would take with them if they had just one small suitcase to fill.

In furthering the topic of immigration, the TALK programs this February, March and April will invite interesting discussions of the adult novels Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros, Harbor by Lorraine Adams, and Typical American by Gish Jen. Extra copies of these titles are available at the library.

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2017 MLA Book Sale

Thousands of books will be for sale at the Manhattan Library Association’s (MLA) Annual Book Sale.  The sale will be held the last weekend in February in the auditorium of the Manhattan Public Library, located at 629 Poyntz Avenue.

Friday, February 24 from 5:30 – 7:30 is a special preview night, open to MLA Members only. Anyone who joins MLA will get first pick of the sale items. Memberships will be sold at the door starting at $10 for an individual, $15 for families, and $25 for organizations.

The library’s book sale will be open to the public on Saturday, February 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 26, from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. Sunday prices will reflect special deals on the remaining materials.

Bargains abound at this annual sale with:

  • Hardcover books $1.50
  • Children’s hardcover books $1.00
  • Softcover books (trade paperbacks) $1.00
  • Mass market paperbacks for children or adults 50 cents
  • DVDs $2
  • CDs $1
  • Audiobooks on CD $4
  • Audiobooks on cassette $1.00
  • Vinyl 25 cents
  • Sheet music 25 cents
  • Coffee table and specialty books priced as marked.

All of the money raised will be used to fund library programs and purchases such as new books and furniture, special events for children, and summer reading programs.  In 2016, more than $10,000 was raised to support the library.

This is truly a community event, staffed by wonderful volunteers like Roger Brannan,

Keri Mills, Elaine Shannon, Carol O’Neill, and Carol Oukrop, who devote countless hours of work to organize the sale.  Helpers from JobCorps and the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity make the heavy-lifting much easier, and community supporters like Dara’s, the Manhattan Mercury, and Community First National Bank do an excellent job getting the word out.

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Tax Forms and Preparation 2017

Tax Forms

Find copies of 2017 Federal tax forms on the table next to the Check-Out Desk: 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ.  Instruction booklets for each form will arrive in February.

If you need additional Federal forms, visit the IRS website https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs to download forms for individuals and businesses.  If you would prefer to have these forms delivered by mail, please call (785) 235-3053.

State forms, like the K-40, are available to download from the Kansas Department of Revenue’s website http://ksrevenue.org/formsii.html.  You can order forms to be mailed to  you by calling 785-296-4937 or sending an email to kdor_tac@ks.gov.

Tax Assistance

AARP offers free assistance by appointment at the Riley County Senior Center.  Appointments can be made by calling 785-537-4040 beginning January 20th.  They give priority to older persons with low to middle income and they do not help with international, out-of-state, farm, or business returns.

Riley County Extension will begin their free tax preparation service on January 30th in the Manhattan Public Library’s Technology Classroom.  This free service is available by appointment only to people whose household income does not exceed $54,000 per year. To schedule an appointment, visit https://us.bookingbug.com/home/w3710314, call 785-565-6426, or email vitataxes@gmail.com.  The maximum household income is $54,000 and they can help with 1040 tax returns and Kansas returns.  They cannot help with itemized returns, international student returns, military returns, or out-of-state returns.

Members of the armed forces can get help on base at the Fort Riley Tax Center (Building 7034) or by calling 785-239-1040.

PRINT TAX HELP FLYER BELOW

Tax help handout

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Don’t Ditch Those Resolutions

By Gigi Holman, Adult Services Librarian

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy LivingEvery year on January 1, a large percentage of Americans resolve to better themselves. And then a couple of weeks into the new year, they have returned to our old routines, and these goals have gone by the wayside. In fact, this happens so often that there is an official holiday for it called “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day.” If you are one of those people who are on the edge of “ditching your resolution,” never fear! The library has inspiring books that will help you get back on track to achieving your resolutions.

If your resolution is to get healthy, start with If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Human Body by James Hamblin. A basic understanding of how our bodies operate can lead to better health. Hamblin explores the many health questions that we all have about our bodies including sleep, aging, nutrition, and much more. He presents facts in an engaging and entertaining way. One great thing about this book is that it sparks your curiosity. You can jump from topic to topic as if you were a kid who is reading through the encyclopedia set for the first time.

Getting organized can be overwhelming. Marie Kondo, who wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and a companion book, Spark Joy, will help you find joy in decluttering your home. Her famous KonMari Method guides you to declutter your home by arming you with techniques that will help you determine if an item in your house sparks joy. Her technique changes your view of decluttering by helping you see what to keep instead of what you should throw away.

We all talk about slowing down and enjoying the simple things, but how do we find time to do that? Hygge, pronounced hue-gah, is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes from taking pleasure in the simple things in our life: cuddling up under the blankets, lighting candles, taking in the morning light, and enjoying every sip of your first cup of coffee. It is taking a good moment and making it special. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking is your “guide to all things Hygge.” It offers suggestions and advice on finding Hygge in your own life from choosing lighting in your home to bringing light to the unexpected moments in your life.

Learning a new craft can be rewarding and frustrating at the same time. You research on Pinterest what you want to do, buy the supplies, then go home, and your new project sits on the kitchen table or in the bag for the next few months. Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman by Peter Korn is an inspiring book that explores why we craft and the rewards of creative practice. In this moving memoir, the author recounts his spiritual and personal journey as a furniture architect and teacher. This book reveals how crafting is an important part of our lives and how it can shape us and connect us with others.

Finally, we would all love to read more! Find your inspiration by delving into Books for Living by Will Schwalbe, which explores why we read. In each chapter, he tells a story about a particular book that he has read, tells why he read it, and explains how it has shaped his life. Warning: this book can add to your “To Be Read” pile.

There are many other opportunities to find success at the library. Take a technology class, participate in a craft program, explore our databases, read in a comfy corner, or just come and explore our shelves. The library can offer inspiration to your resolution list. You just have to find it in the right place.

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Harry Potter Book Night 2017

Harry Potter Book Night February 2 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Thursday, February 2 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. the Manhattan Public Library will be transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to celebrate the popular Harry Potter book series. Families of all ages are invited to play games, make crafts, and enjoy an evening of wizarding fun.

Librarian Gigi Holman says “we hope to make this a magical evening in the Harry Potter world. The books helped multiple generations learn to love reading, so we’ll make sure to have activities for everyone from preschoolers to parents.”

At the event, partners from the Milford Lake Nature Center will contribute to the magical atmosphere by bringing a live owl. Participants will be sorted into houses, visit Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, and get to sample some potions and treats.

Volunteers are needed to help with activities that evening. Anyone interested in helping out from 5:30-8:30 on February 2 should contact Vivienne at pr@mhklibrary dot org or (785) 776-4741 ext.105.

All events and activities at the library are free and open to the public. For more information about the event, or about any library services, please visit the Manhattan Public Library at 629 Poyntz Avenue or call (786) 776-4741.

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Remembering Martin

by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

Gospel of FreedomTomorrow, January 16, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A federal holiday since being signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, MLK Day is observed on the third Monday of January. King’s actual birthday is January 15.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech is included in most lists of the greatest speeches in American history. Clarence Jones gives the story behind the speech in “Behind the Dream: the Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation.”  Jones, co-writer of the speech and close confidant of King, gives a behind-the-scenes account of the weeks leading up to the great event, and reveals the collaboration leading to the speech that would shape the civil rights movement and inspire Americans for years to come.

King: a Biography,” by David Lewis is a foundational biography first published shortly after King’s death. Acclaimed by historians and critics alike, this updated edition includes a new preface, as well as additional photographs of King and his contemporaries.

For a more personal portrait of Dr. King, choose “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.” Edited by Clayborne Carson, this history-making autobiography portrays Dr. King in his own words. Carson has utilized published and unpublished writings by King, as well as his speeches, interviews, notes, and sermons. The result for the reader is an intimate sharing in the trials and triumphs of Dr. King, including the Montgomery Boycott, the “I Have a Dream” speech, the Selma March, and the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

On April 12, 1963, King was arrested in Birmingham for violating a court injunction against marching in the city’s street. In response to eight white clergymen who accused him of being a violent extremist, King addressed his famous letter from Birmingham jail. In “Gospel of Freedom; Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle that Changed a Nation,” Jonathan Rieder discusses the events that led up to King’s arrest, and addresses the letter’s importance during the struggle for civil rights.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine motel in Memphis, where he was supporting a strike of sanitation workers. “Death of a King: the Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year,” by Tavis Smiley chronicles the last year of Dr. King’s life. The bookends of this fateful year are April 4, 1967, when King made his first anti-war speech, and April 4, 1968. Throughout his book, Smiley raises the question, “What kind of man had Martin Luther King, Jr. become during the last year of his life?”

For a comprehensive examination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights movement, and its place in American history, select Taylor Branch’s three volume opus. The first volume in the series, “Parting the Waters,” covers the years 1954-1963, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Volume Two, “Pillar of Fire,’ looks at the years 1963-1965, while the third volume “At Canaan’s Edge,” concludes with the years 1965-1968.

There are several titles for young readers available at the library, including “I am Martin Luther King, Jr.,” by Brad Meltzer. This title is part of a series of biographies for children by an author better known for his political thrillers. In its pages, kids will learn that even as a child Martin Luther King, Jr. was shocked by unfair treatment of African-American people. So, when he grew up, he decided to do something about it, fighting injustice with powerful words.

Also for children, “What was your Dream, Dr. King?,” by Mary Kay Carson. This book is arranged in a question and answer format. In its pages curious readers will find the answers to their most burning questions about Martin Luther King, Jr.

In addition to its sheer beauty, children will also learn from “I Have a Dream,” by Martin Luther King, Jr. Fifteen award-winning artists illustrate the words of Dr. King’s most famous speech. This title also includes a CD of the speech.

Remember to also checkout Hoopla for titles about Martin Luther King, Jr. in a variety of formats. With your Manhattan Public Library card, you can stream or download 5 titles from Hoopla every month at no charge.

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Heart-warming Reads

by Rhonna Hargett, Adult Services Manager

Last Bus to WisdomThese months after the bustle of the holidays, with a long wait for the warmth of spring, can feel a bit dreary. To ward off the winter blues, sitting down (preferably with an afghan and a cup of tea) to a heart-warming book can improve your outlook.

The author of the vastly popular A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman, has returned with another tale full of heart and hope, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. At seven years old, Elsa faces the loss of her beloved grandmother and her stories of the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, but she takes on the adventure of delivering her granny’s apology letters. Through her quest, Elsa learns that support can exist in surprising places and that sometimes fairy tales contain the truths of life.

In the delightful novel The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, Sara travels from Sweden to Broken Wheel, Iowa to meet her avid-reader pen pal, Amy. When she arrives to learn that Amy has just died, she hunkers down in Amy’s house full of books. She’s eventually inspired to open a book store to share her beloved friend’s love of books with her non-reading community, starting a series of subtle changes that will touch the town and Sara forever.

The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore brings to life Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean. The life-long friends have met for years at their favorite local diner to eat the best food in town, gossip, and take care of one another. Full of humor and unforgettable characters, Moore’s novel affirms the value of friendship, community, humor, and a good piece of pie.

Ivan Doig takes us on a 1951 road trip in Last Bus to Wisdom. Eleven-year-old Donal Cameron is shipped off to an aunt in Wisconsin when the grandmother raising him in Montana has to have surgery. Aunt Kate is nothing like his sweet Gran, and he can’t seem to get on her good side. After Donal pushes Kate too far, she sends him back to the authorities in Montana and her hen-pecked husband, Herman the German, takes the opportunity to escape with the boy. Doig was known for his outstanding abilities as a storyteller and this humorous road novel demonstrates his mastery.

Lynne Cox was the first person to swim both the Straits of Magellan and around the Cape of Good Hope, but she faces completely new challenges in her memoir Swimming in the Sink: An Episode of the Heart. Following the deaths of her parents and her beloved dog, she is diagnosed with arterial fibrillation, which sets her back severely. Her book shares her struggle toward recovery and her recognition of the importance of her community.

Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty Thousand Dogs, and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway by Peter Zheutlin tells the story of Greg Mahle’s mission to bring dogs from Southern shelters and find loving homes for them in the North. The author traveled with Mahle and shares the tales of the road trip, including the awful conditions that some animals experience and the inspiring people who dedicate their lives to saving them.

Rabbi Susan Silverman examines the meaning of identity, faith, and family in her autobiography Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World. Silverman chronicles her childhood in a loving family that faced difficulties together. It also tells of the creation of her own family as she and her husband add to their three daughters by adopting two sons from Ethiopia. Her sharp sense of humor shines through this thoughtful perusal of a fascinating life.

Horace Mann once said “A house without books is like a room without windows.” A heartwarming read is the perfect way to open your mind and let some light into the long months of winter.

 

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After the Feast

By John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

The Mediterranean Diet for BeginnersFirst there was Thanksgiving with its turkey and pumpkin pie (and everything else), and a few short weeks later, here’s Christmas. And the feasting hasn’t let up for a moment between the two. But now it’s over. It is time to get back to reality. It’s time to start eating right again.

But what’s right? The dizzying array of healthy eating and weight loss options is confusing, to say the least. What’s best, Atkins, or Weight Watchers? Paleo or Glycemic Index? Macrobiotic, Mediterranean, Nutrisystem, South Beach, Volumetics, Blood Type, 3 Hour, how do we make sense of all the choices?

Start at the Manhattan Public Library. The library has an extensive collection of diet books in traditional paper format, and also available for free download through the Sunflower eLibrary and Hoopla.

Some diets preach a no or low carbohydrate lifestyle. In “The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You were Designed to Eat,” Loren Cordain, founder of the Paleo movement, demonstrates how to prevent and treat heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, and other illnesses. The key is a diet rich in lean meats and fish, fruit and non-starchy vegetables. No rice, potatoes, bread, or pasta on this diet.

Cardiologist Robert Atkins developed a high protein, low carbohydrate diet that is still popular. In his “Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution,” Atkins returns 20 years after the original publication of his diet to insist that sugar, refined white flour, and carbohydrate-based junk food are far more harmful to our health than meat and fish, eggs and butter. Bacon for breakfast every day is OK with Atkins.

Sugar is the villain in many diets. In “The New Sugar Busters,” H. Leighton Stewart and co-authors, argue that cutting sugar from your diet, will also trim fat. They favor a diet of unrefined foods high in fiber and low on sugar. White foods, including potatoes, rice, bread, and pasta, and refined sugar are out. Keeping them out, the authors maintain, will result in weight loss and improved overall health.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the protein rich diets is “The 80/10/10 Diet: Balancing Your Health, Your Weight, and Your Life One Luscious Bite at a Time,” by Douglas N. Graham. Graham, an adviser to world-class athletes and an adherent of raw foods, espouses a diet of 80% carbohydrates, 10% protein, and 10% fat.  This diet of whole, fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables, he claims, will result in easy weight management, disease reversal, and optimum health.

Eating habits that work for one person may not be effective for someone else. According to weight loss specialist Dr. Scott Rigden, there is no miracle diet that works for everyone. In “The Ultimate Metabolism Diet: Eat Right for Your Metabolic Type,” Rigden explains that everyone has a unique body type with a corresponding metabolism. He identifies five metabolic types, provides questionnaires to assist people in identifying their own type, and offers specific dietary and lifestyle habits to ease the pain of weight loss.

America ranks number 12 among the most obese countries in the world (http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/29-most-obese-countries-in-the-world.html). It’s no secret, we aren’t eating right. But are there places in the world where people are eating right, that we can learn from? In “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People,” Dan Buettner writes about the places in the world where people eat and live right. Included in the blue zones are Okinawa, Sardinia, the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica, Ikaria in Greece, and Loma Linda, California.  In addition to diet, Buettner stresses the importance of social networks, daily rituals, physical environment, and the sense of purpose enjoyed by these populations.

The Mediterranean diet is another popular way of eating. In titles including “The Mediterranean Diet for Beginners,” and “The Mediterranean Diet for Everyday,” this heart-healthy eating lifestyle features fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, lean meats and fish, and good fats like avocado and olive oil.

If you want to ring in the New Year by starting to eat right, or by losing a few of those holiday pounds, there’s no shortage of books claiming to have the answers. Whether you want to try “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” or “The Shangri-la Diet: the No Hunger, Eat Anything Weight Loss Plan,” or even “The Fat Flush Plan,” you’ll find them all at the library.

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