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Showing posts from September, 2007

The Autoimmune Connection: Essential Information for Women on Diagnosis, Treatment, and Getting On With Your Life

Celiac disease, which I have, is an autoimmune disease, so that's why I picked this book off of the library shelf. Apparently 75% of the people with autoimmune diseases are women. There's not really any confirmed reason why women are more susceptible to these diseases, but this book posits a few theories. It's written by Rita Baron-Faust and a doctor named Jill P. Buyon, and it surveys at least 17 autoimmune diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to antiphospholipid syndrome.

I found chapter 1 to be the most useful, since it explains how autoimmune disorders work. The rest of the book is kind of freaky because it provides warning signs for various diseases, and if you're borderline hypochondriac like I am, you'll imagine you have all of them.

Miss Marple on the British

"Really I don't know what I mean--but the English are rather odd that way. Even in war, so much prouder of their defeats and their retreats than of their victories. Foreigners never can understand why we're so proud of Dunkerque. It's the sort of thing they'd prefer not to mention themselves. But we always seem to be almost embarassed by a victory--and treat it as though it weren't quite nice to boast about it. And look at all our poets! The Charge of the Light Brigade. And the little Revenge went down in the Spanish Main. It's really a very odd characteristic when you come to think of it!"

~ Murder with Mirrors, ch. 11

The Palliser Novels

I remember my mom giggling over Barchester Towers when I was a teenager, but I was not at all intrigued. At the time I was interested in sterner authors than Anthony Trollope, such as Charles Dickens and the Bronte sisters.

But this spring my roommates and I got hooked on the 1974 Pallisers miniseries. It was like a Victorian soap opera. We always wanted to know what would happen next, even though the makeup was hideous and the music sounded like an old phonograph and the drama all took place in drawing rooms or Parliament. That doesn't sound like a recommendation, but it just goes to show how transcendently good Trollope was as a writer.

So I picked up the first Palliser novel (there are six) and it was even better than the TV show. Trollope's novels are like beautiful jewelry. His writing is extraordinarily controlled and nuanced, like a delicate filligree setting, and his characters are like small, perfect precious stones (not sparkly ones, like emeralds and diamonds, but pea…

The Grand Weaver

I borrowed Ravi Zacharias's new book from the library because I've been wondering lately about how to identify God's hand in my circumstances, and the book is subtitled How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives. Unfortunately, although there is a lot of good insight in the book, I found it more confusing than anything. I assume that it was written to fulfill a book contract, and the editor wasn't quite on the ball. (Curses on the Christian book industry! That includes you, Zondervan!)

Chapter titles include "Your DNA Matters," "Your Disappointments Matter," "Your Will Matters," and "Your Worship Matters." Each chapter is best read as a unit unto itself, offering good suggestions for transforming our attitudes about each facet of our being.

What I found confusing was fitting all the chapters into the weaver metaphor. As I sat down to write this review, I was going to tell you my solution to this problem, but I gave up instea…