This month, we’ll explore some fascinating facts about our bodies from a historical, scientific, artistic and sociological angles, look at our relationship with our face and its appearance, find solutions to almost every back problem and take advice on nutrition, health and exercise. Finally, we reflect on how we can change our approach towards gender stereotypes by understanding the neuroscience behind it.
Anatomies : the human body, its parts and the stories they tell
“It is the most fraught and fascinating, talked-about and taboo, unique yet universal aspect of our lives. Until we fall ill, most of us take this extraordinarily complicated collection of flesh, bones and fluids entirely for granted. But from ancient body art to plastic surgery, from early anatomists to conceptual artists, grave-robbers to bionic athletes, our changing attitudes to the human body – how it works, what it should look like, how to live with it, what it means – tell us more about ourselves than almost any other subject in human history. Blending history, science, art, literature and the everyday, one of our finest science writers investigates this most marvellous and mysterious of creations. The result is a treasure trove of surprising facts, remarkable stories and startling information that encompasses everything from the first finger-printing to the physiology of angels, from synaesthesia to the clown-egg register, from the death-mask of Isaac Newton to the afterlife of Einstein’s brain.” Publisher’s description (courtesy of Syndetics)
In your face : the hidden history of plastic surgery and why looks matter
“We humans have been modifying our faces for centuries-from medieval face-pulling competitions (often fatal) and criminal punishment in ancient India (rhinokopia), to post-war reconstructive surgery and contemporary cosmetic surgery. But what is it that compels us to go “under the knife”? Is it simply the pursuit of beauty, or is it a deeper drive for survival? And why, with all our advances in medical science, does some plastic surgery look so bad? You can open any women’s magazine and find at least one article showing some celebrity’s cosmetic surgery gone wrong, often resulting in that familiar and laughable but tragic “wind tunnel” face. The truth is that kind of look is not really plastic surgery at all-it’s cosmetic surgery done by underqualified practitioners using outdated techniques. It shouldn’t happen. This book shows you why and how. In the tradition of The Brain that Changes Itself; Guns, Germs & Steel; Salt; and Orchid Fever, this lively exploration of the history and science of plastic surgery looks at 500 years of the face-what we do to it, what it means for us, and what the future holds.” (Syndetics summary)
The back bible
“A must-have family reference packed with proven, practical approaches to caring for your back throughout your life. With a full anatomy of the spine and back, a breakdown of different types of pain, when to see the doctor and at-a-glance diagnostic advice, The Back Bible offers a physiological run down of the problems that can affect you back, neck, and shoulders.
Dozens of self-help measures are covered, including general back care, exercise routines, ways of improving sleeping posture and the benefits of heat/hydro therapy and self-massage. There is also extensive advice on managing back pain, from analgesics to visualisation and meditation. The book then guides you through what to expect from conventional medical care, covering diagnosis, drug treatments, surgery, physiotherapy and a directory of complementary therapies and specialist treatments.” (From Amazon.co.uk)
The honest life : living naturally and true to you
“Actress, activist, and entrepreneur Jessica Alba inspires moms to make affordably healthy choices for themselves and their families without sacrificing style. As a new mom, Jessica Alba wanted to create the safest, healthiest environment for her family. But she was frustrated by the lack of trustworthy information on how to live healthier and cleaner–delivered in a way that a busy mom could act on without going to extremes. In 2012, with serial entrepreneur Brian Lee and environmental advocate Christopher Gavigan, she launched The Honest Company, a brand where parents can find reliable information and products that are safe, stylish, and affordable. The Honest Life shares the insights and strategies she gathered along the way. The Honest Life recounts Alba’s personal journey of discovery and reveals her tips for making healthy living fun, real, and stylish, while offering a candid look inside her home and daily life. She shares strategies for maintaining a clean diet (with favorite family-friendly recipes) and embracing nontoxic choices at home; she also provides eco-friendly decor tips to fit any budget. Alba discusses cultivating a daily eco beauty routine, finding one’s personal style without resorting to yoga pants, and engaging in fun, hands-on activities with kids. Her solutions are easy, chic, and down-to-earth: They’re honest. And discovering everyday ways to live naturally and authentically–true to you–could be honestly life-changing” (Syndetics summary)
The unapologetic fat girl’s guide to exercise and other incendiary acts
“An empowering guide for plus-size women shares non-judgmental, practical information and motivational strategies for incorporating exercise into an everyday lifestyle, profiling a range of options from WiiFit to extreme sports while covering such topics as common sports injuries, nutritional guidelines and working with a trainer. This guide is big on attitude, giving plus-size women the motivation, support, and information to improve their health.” (Syndetics summary)
Be your own nutritionist : rethink your relationship with food
“A radical new approach to healthy eating…
Bombarded by fad diets and scary slogans telling you how to eat healthily and lose weight? Confused as to which of the hundreds of diet books out there is telling the truth? Be Your Own Nutritionist has the answers. Forget low-carb diets, superfoods, your five-a-day there are no hard and fast rules about what to eat, when. A healthy diet varies from person to person and, most importantly, from place to place.
This is an exciting new take on nutrition showing how factors such as climate, time, environment and emotional wellbeing should all affect the way we eat. Combining age-old traditions of healthy eating (did you know that the mid-Victorians had the best diet of any Britons before or since?) with modern scientific research, clinician George Cooper shows you how to ignore the fads and eat right for yourself. He explains in clear, easy terms exactly how your digestive system works (and why you need to know). He explains why raw food is sometimes bad for you; and how hot, spicy foods can mitigate against damp and cold. Packed with easily-adaptable recipes and useful tips, this book is your indispensible guide to eating well, wherever you are.”(from Amazon.co.uk)
“Few of us realize what strange wet miracles of science operate inside us after every meal. In her trademark style, Mary Roach investigates the beginning, and end, of our food, addressing such questions as why crunchy food is so appealing, how much we can eat before our stomachs burst, and whether constipation killed Elvis.” (Syndetics summary)
All is well : heal your body with medicine, affirmations and intuition
“This new book by celebrated authors Louise Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz, not only explores the medical science behind the affirmations in Louise Hay’s international bestseller You Can Heal Your Life, but also offers stories and practical advice for personal healing.
Structured around seven emotional centres, which mirror our chakra system, Louise and Mona Lisa examine the connections between these centres and the body. Drawing on years of research, they explore probable mental causes for the physical manifestation of illness associated with each centre, and then lay out how to address these health concerns. Combining two complementary systems, Louise discusses new thought patterns and offers new affirmations to counteract specific emotional weaknesses, and Mona Lisa, who has worked for many years as a medical intuitive and physician, helps readers listen to their own bodies’ intuition and prescribes medical solutions that are based in Western science. They provide real-world examples of people who faced illness and outline the specific emotional and physical prescriptions that helped them heal.” (from Amazon.co.uk)
Pink brain, blue brain : how small differences grow into troublesome gaps–and what we can do about it
“Turning conventional thinking about gender differences on its head, Lise Eliot issues a startling call to close the troubling gaps between boys and girls and help all children reach their fullest potential. Drawing on years of exhaustive research and her own work in the field of neuroplasticity, Eliot argues that infant brains are so malleable that small differences at birth become amplified over time as parents, teachers, and the culture at large unwittingly reinforce gender stereotypes. By focussing on the ways in which differences emerge such prescriptive behaviours can be eradicated, and the boundaries that prevent boys and girls from achieving can be destroyed.” (From Amazon.co.uk)