Confessions of a Designated Fat Taxi Driver?

aka a two-in-one review because I started and finished two books in the last three days

Confessions of a New York Taxi Driver by Eugene Salomon and Jennifer Joyner’s Designated Fat Girl. Two very different subjects but the right level of reading depth I was in the mood for this weekend. I started with Joyner’s on Friday and packed a dead-tree copy of Salomon’s for a walk when I knew my iPad battery wasn’t charged. I finished that this morning and then Joyner’s this afternoon. At the gym, no less.

I enjoyed both equally, but I found that I connected more with Joyner’s book, although my weight struggles luckily never went so far. I’m so glad to see she’s still working at the radio station and it’s nice to put a face to the name after reading about her personal struggles. Unlike many who publish a book about their struggles, Joyner doesn’t appear to blog. I think that’s what made for a more intriguing and cohesive narrative. It wasn’t cobbled together from a series of blog posts. There were a few moments where I was confused as to when a moment was during her weight gain-loss-gain-loss-gain-loss “for good” but overall it was a quality, eye-opening read.

Eugene Salomon, on the other hand both blogs (including on hot-button topics like Uber) and writes for TIME.I hoped his photo blog would have one of the infamous llama, alas no such luck. Converting from a blog wasn’t an issue in this case as the book was mostly an anthology of his stories grouped by themes. It was a very good and quick read and I loved that Salomon put a date in each story to set the context for his story.  Although this was only published in 2013, it’s mostly the story of an NYC long gone. Jackie O being gone for 20+ years though is just sad. As an aside, I got this at the wonderful Tenement Museum Shop-great place to direct deposit your wallet when looking for your next good read.

Oh and both titled counted for the A-Z challenge. 1/6 of the way through the year my totals are:

Review: Drop Dead Healthy

First off, I want to say I should get bonus points for “weight lifting” a hard cover, my first dead tree book in a while. I ducked into the library yesterday as much for AC as for a book, and saw A.J. Jacobs’ Drop Dead Healthy which had been on my wishlist since I transitioned from Kindle to iPad and my bootlegged copy no longer worked. I had reservations about lugging around a hardcover and finishing it before it was due while I was racing to finish A Race Like No Other (no pun intended) before its due. No worrying needed, I finished this before I left the beach today. It may also be the quickest review posted since the dog-ears are physical and I can’t just copy my notes/highlights into a draft post.I was curious by early reviews of this book. I’ve tried to read Jacobs before but failed to get through either The Know it All or The Year of Living Biblically but I heard this one was lighter and I decided to give it a go. I think its chapter length and breaking the book up into a seemingly series of articles made it easier reading.My favorite line came early: “I’m Jewish, but I’m Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is Italian. Not very.” and it’s symbolic of the book. Jacobs had a light style of writing that made me feel like I was on this journey with him. I was hearing this from a friend, not reading one of an unending series of weight loss and health books. By the same token, I liked that he approached the extremes (in ether direction) with a healthy dose of skepticism, it’s what kept the book readable. He wasn’t preaching any one of the causes even if it worked well for him, like the weight loss associated with his raw food trial.“But it also had banana chips, which included refined cane sugar, coconut oil, and best of all, banana flavor. When you need to add banana flavor to bananas, there’s something askew with the world of food.”

The amount of food, sugar an salt that we eat in the typical American diet was a theme throughout his book. I liked that he kept most elements confined to their chapter/month of focus, while others continued through. It showed how much our bodies are interconnected. When I first started the WLJ in 2010 I had to go cold turkey on candy because I didn’t trust myself to handle it in moderation. Now, I trust myself and I track it, but by allowing myself it, the cravings never totally go away. I think I need to go cold turkey on the sugared candy again. I am guilty of not reading labels as much as I ought to beyond NI, and that’s something this book really made me think of.

I think “eccentric Aunt Marti” and Grandpa Ted affected him more than he realized, and I like how Jacobs incorporated them into the story in a natural way. I also admire his ability to incorporate Julie and his sons into this. May they enjoy cupcakes soon.

My only complaint: his end of month summaries which included things like avocados eaten, flax seed oil consumed but he hadn’t covered why he was doing all of those things in the chapter. While he obviously couldn’t cover everything he tried in the 2+ year journey, I think he should have mentioned only what he discussed in the summary

Overall, a really good read. I can tell I’ve been spoiled rotten by ebooks. I wanted to adjust the font. Uh… no. On the plus side, it was easier to read in the sun.

04. July 2013 by Cari
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