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July’s best books

Got you, this is a best of July, but we at SheKnows have to be honest, don’t waste a priceless summer moment reading this next book!

Maria's look at girls

Just Who Will You Be? ” by Maria Shriver, nonfiction, audio, narrated by the author, 1/5:

To be or not to be?

The 1/5 rating is not an error. After I saw Shriver on a morning news show talking about how writing this book helped her when she felt at a crossroads in her life and since every day of my life feels like a crossroads, I decided to download it to my iPod.

As I listened to Maria’s dulcet tones discuss the issues she faced when she lost her job at NBC after her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, became governor of California, I kept waiting for the pearls of wisdom that “Today Show’s” Meredith Vieira raved about. I listened to every word and I’m sorry to report that, in publishing as in many fields, it seems that who you know trumps what you know.

I can honestly say that if I had dropped that manuscript on the desk of an editor at Hyperion he would have laughed me out of the building. There is nothing, no wisdom, no advice, no bullet point to-do lists, that I, or anyone I know could use.

My second biggest regret was that, since it was an audio download, I had no actual paper copy to run through my shredder.

The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-Being ” by Nena Baker, nonfiction, 4/5:
Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) periodically publishes a report on the number of chemicals found in the average American’s blood?

This book is Toxic, a very good thing

Neither did journalist Baker until she read about it in the newspaper. A book was born.

The illustrated woman

Intrigued by the idea and wondering why the CDC would think this was an important thing to know she decided to have her own blood tested.

Imagine her shock when the lab informed her that her blood carried traces of no less than three dozen toxic chemicals, including a couple such as DDT that had been banned for over thirty years!

It seems there is no half-life for most of the chemicals dumped onto and into our land, lakes, rivers and oceans.

Even once they’re use is outlawed these toxic substances can remain in the soil for decades, nourishing (if you can call it that) the food we and our livestock consume. Yup, there is no such thing as an isolated toxic dump, unless you count your body.

I admit this is a scary book with lots of reasons for alarm. But it is an important one because Baker’s is one of the growing number of voices shouting for reform and environmental cleanup.

Baker does offer hope in the form of things they are doing in Europe to mitigate the damage.

Moreover she also has a number of suggestions for avoiding, or limiting, our exposure to the more toxic chemicals we know about.

Donna’s rating system for books

5 = An extraordinary book! I will keep it to read again and again!
4.5 = This book is either very clever, highly creative or brings new information to the table. I’m recommending it to my friends.
4 = This book accomplishes all the author seems to have intended. (I “get” it.)
3.5 = This book held my interest regardless of topic/genre.
3 = I enjoyed reading and/or I learned something from this book
2.5 = I could have easily put this book down and forgotten about it.
2 = This book is either poorly written or seems underdeveloped, like an out-of-focus photo. (I don’t “get” it.)
1 = Don’t bother.

Four months of Donna’s dish on the best books

A Midsummer look at literary crime
May books boasts a Marriage
April starring Salmonella (you heard it here first!)
March brings Peanuts and Schultz its spotlight

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