I get the most inquiries about book groups during the first week in January--a time of resolutions for better minds and bodies. In the interest of improving both, here's what you can absorb while on the exercise bike:
More Magazine www.more.com This magazine, published ten times per year, is aimed at women ages 40 and beyond--which also is the demographic most likely to belong to a book discussion group. The articles are geared towards health, fashion, self-improvement and this year, women in politics--with profiles of Hillary and Cindy McCain. Three of my favorite articles recommended specifically for exercise bike reading are: The Best Jeans--Reader-Tested Styles You'll Love; Facelifts Without Surgery; and Our Bodies, Our Shelves: Books on Menopause.
For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older and Acceptance edited by Victoria Zackheim Seal Press (November 2007, paperback) I have just started this book and heard some of the beautiful and resilient authors read at Keplers this month--subjects ranged from adoption to "competitive" yoga to heart surgery. If you are a woman aged 50+, you will have many "aha!" moments recognizing yourself, your kids or (especially) your mother.The paperback format makes For Keeps easy to take to the gym, but truth be told, I am reading it on Caltrain. Here is the part of the review from Publishers Weekly (OCTOBER 15, 2007):
Nora Ephron's bestselling I Feel Bad About My Neck has perhaps opened the door to discussing the failings of the female body and of female aging, and the 27 contributors to this collection deserve gratitude for enlarging the discussion. The essays detail a plethora of possible events associated with aging: aging mothers and mothers-in-law, one's own increasing frailty and final illnesses...Two very different threads run throughout the essays. One is the degree to which each writer has found a way to retain or regain a sense of power over her life. The other is the power of childhood messages and experiences to resonate for decades.
You might also want to take a look at the other collection of essays that the review mentioned called I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron.
Selected Shorts This is my suggestion for listening. Selected Shorts is a recorded series of classic and contemporary stories read by well known actors. The readings are recorded live at a place called Symphony Space in New York City and also at public readings around the country. You can hear the series on public radio stations including WNYC in New York City and KQED in the San Francisco Bay Area. While there is no set format for the performances, the producers of Selected Shorts have created some theme-based CDs that you can purchase online or check out at many public libraries. One of my favorite CDs is called Food Fictions. It includes M.F.K. Fishers' story "I was Really Very hungry" read by Tovah Feldshuh--but avoid that one while exercising.
My all time favorite recording is of the story Pie Dance by Molly Giles read by Kate Burton. You'll find it on the Pets-themed CD. Here's how to order the CDs.
Causes Lauren John Supports
Keplers Bookstore Circle of Friends (Menlo Park)
Friends of the Menlo Park Public Library
Book Group Expo
Marin Agricultural Land Trust...