Upcoming Reading

I'll be competing in the Windy City Story Slam this Friday night at 10pm at Weeds. Come out and watch me read from my short story "Wanting It."

This is also your chance to boo me off the stage. I'd prefer, however, that you cheer and vote for me as the winner.


New Story Published!

Good news! My short story "Carrot's Choice" will be published this spring in the Story Week Reader. More details to come.


Five New Books

One of my greatest joys is to have a few hours to tool around the library. I've mentioned in the past how much I love the library, especially the Harold Washington branch. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to spend three delightful hours among the stacks.

I came home last night and camped out in front of the fireplace with the stack of books beside me. I started them and I'm excited.

I'll be at the Windy City Story Slam tonight at the Metro. It starts at 7.


New Directions

When I created this blog back in 2004, I needed an outlet to write about the books I read. I went through so many so fast I was afraid I wouldn't remember them. And, to quote from my first post, books are like friends. You don't want to forget your friends. So I used this space to catalog what I had read.

I got lucky and found that I wasn't alone in my love of books. Other writers came to contribute their thoughts. Novelists began sending me their works. Groups asked me to judge their book contests. It was a dream.

We ran for a couple of years. And it was a good run. Then, I got a job in media and was asked to stop blogging. So I did.

But, I continued reading. And I began writing fiction again, an art I have enjoyed for many moons.

This brings me to now. I'm in a different job, still in the media, but one that allows me the freedom to present my thoughts. So, I'm in the process of restarting things here.

What I envision you'll see here: my thoughts on reading, writing, Chicago's literary scene (what I see of it, as I'm no expert), the library and any other trouble I can cause.

Fellow writers, I'm happy to read your work if you're kind enough to send it. E-mail me: bkl (at) brandikleinertlarsen (dot) com and we can discuss it. I prefer fiction, short and long, but will read most anything you put in my hands.

You can always see what I'm reading through the book covers in the right rail, courtesy of GoodReads. Feel free to check out my writing at my main site.



Non-fiction: YOU: On a Diet

Book: YOU: On a Diet
Authors: Dr. Mike Roisen and Dr. Mehmet Oz
Publisher: Free Press
Pages: 384
Version: Hardcover
Release: October, 2006

I was familiar with the other You titles (YOU: The Owner's Manual and YOU: The Smart Patient) because I had checked them out of the library. They immediately became books I wanted to own (and write in).

The series is written by doctors who believe that if we know about our biology, we can retrain ourselves to avoid some of the largest health problems in our society: heart disease/attacks, diabetes, obesity, etc. So, they go to great lengths to make the content easy to digest (bad pun intended) and fun to read.

I think they go a little overboard in this respect. There are all of these "Youreka" tips that let you know when they've hit upon the gold nugget idea. While the tips are helpful, the shout-out is annoying. The drawings are clear, but cutesy in a charming way. For example, it's kind of fun to imagine little elves with spackle running around in your arteries trying to deal with the bad kind of cholesterol.

The authors also do a good job painting word pictures. According to them, the omentum, which is your body's parking lot for fat, looks like a pair of stockings hanging off of the stomach. As you gain more fat, the omentum continues to grow, pushing aside your other organs (and your waist line) while grabbing up all of the glucose, which your brain and other parts need to function. This is why the beer belly is especially unhealthy.

The book is just comprehensive enough to allow me to explain what the omentum is and does without being so comprehensive that I felt overwhelmed. It is logically laid out, leading you through the biology of food vs. your body to the emotional aspects behind why we eat (and why diets fail). Then, it explains what you can do to change your eating and exercise habits.

The exercise is a good addition. The premise is that, no excuses, you walk for thirty minutes a day, every day. You can break it up into three ten-minute segments, but you must do it. Once you conquer that, you can go on to additional strength and cardiovascular exercise that is supposed to help work and tone your muscles.

Part of the program is that you dump your cabinets of everything bad for you. We did this. I was surprised to see how many foods have high fructose corn syrup (a big no-no because your body uses it quickly and then sends messages to the brain that you need to eat again, even if you're not hungry).

The book also includes information on how to eat, instructions for the first two weeks, and a shopping list and menu with recipes. The shopping list is a bit difficult. What grocery store carries 100% whole wheat pizza dough? Also, there are some items that weren't listed (ground turkey is needed for one of the recipes, but you're never told to buy it).

The promise is that once you learn how to eat, you will retrain your body to want exercise and good foods and leave cravings behind you like yesterday's socks. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but the book was well-written, the doctors were likable, and the plan felt so doable and authoritative, that I'm willing to give it a try.

If it does work, I'll buy this book for everyone I know. If it doesn't, it was a good read anyway.


Greedy Reader.

I have been greedy.

I read and read and read and read.

I do not write.

I need to write.

Firm declarative sentences perhaps equal a decision?

BookADay will be right back.