Friday, 27 March 2015

Review: 'The Whartons' Strength Book' by Jim and Phil Wharton

The Whartons' Strength Book by Jim and Phil Wharton, 1999, Three Rivers Press, $15.00, softbound, 258 pages. Cover: okay. Category/Genre: exercise/health. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

This book uses the Wharton father and son team's Active-Isolated Strength Training to help you get the most out of your workout, whether you want to tone up, lose weight, regain lost vitality, or build muscles. 

The book is designed to help you create a workout tailored to your needs. Part I offers tips, cautions, clothing and equipment advice, terminology, and encouragement. 

Part II catalogs 35 exercises, which have been organised to coordinate with five body zones. 

Part III allows you to select your sports/occupation and plug that into your workout. For example, you'll want a different workout if you regularly play cricket or rock climb than if you're stuck behind a desk all day. 

Diet, performance, incentives, and rewards are tackled in Part IV, and there's even a special section on older athletes. 

The Whartons say that a good general-base strengthening programme has three distinct phases (they refer to it as BAMMING an athlete): 

B. Building muscular strength (at least a month to get started). 
A. Attaining proficiency and musculoskeletal balance (at least six months, although they say you'll see results more quickly than that). 
M. Maintaining structural integrity (for life). 

They explain how to slim down and tone up, and how to sculpt and bulk up. They explain how to properly manage a weight, a rep, and a set, and offer a word on training for a specific sport. 

There's a lot more to this book, and it all looks pretty handy. If you're looking to make your workout a better one, or if you're looking to incorporate workouts into your schedule, you might want to check out this book. 

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

For more information about the Whartons' method, go to: Wharton Health.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Review: 'Almost Everyone's Guide to Science' by John Gribbin with Mary Gribbin

Almost Everyone's Guide to Science by John Gribbin with Mary Gribbin, 1999, Yale University Press, $11.40, hardbound, 232 pages. Cover: pretty good. Category/Genre: reference. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

If you're interested in the various aspects of science but are intimidated by technical detail, this might be the book for you. It covers physics, chemistry, earth sciences, and biology, but it's an overview for the layman.

You'll get a look at some of the major contributors of scientific research and development, and you'll learn not only how atoms are put together and how gravity is actually a rather weak force, but also how the great and the small are interconnected. Gribbins touches on particles and fields, DNA, evolution, the Earth, the Sun, and the lives of stars.

You have to really enjoy science to get through this book, not just have a passing interest.

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

You can find John Gribbin's Home Page here. You can find him on Goodreads, and he and Mary Gibbin have written children's books which can be found here.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Review: 'Almost Astronauts' by Tanya Lee Stone

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone, 2009, Candlewick Press, $24.99, hardbound, 133 pages. Cover: pretty cool. Category/Genre: reference/history. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

This is the true and inspiring story of the Mercury 13 women, who were the first women ever to be trained as astronauts.

Without Randolph Lovelace, the doctor who put the Mercury 7 men through their testing, this likely would not have happened, at least not for a while. But Lovelace believed women are as capable as men, and he had a desire to prove it.

The first was Jerrie Cobb, a pilot who'd broken world records; she fared so well in the testing that it was thought she'd not only do well in space, she would excell there. After her came 18 other women, all pilots and go-getters, all fit. Including Cobb, 13 of the women passed the tests with flying colors.

In this book, you'll learn about some of the grueling tests all astronauts go through, and you'll learn how it was particularly hard for these women – not because they were weaker, but because of the negativity they had to face. One of them was filed divorce papers after testing, and another's boss demoted her.

If you want to read about real bravery and perseverence, try this book.

If you like this one, try: Women of the Wind: Early Women Aviators, by Wanda Langley.

For more about Tanya Lee Stone and her many books, check out her website at: She writes non-fiction (often about women or African-Americans), teen fiction, and picture books. 

You can follow Tanya Lee Stone at: or Like her on Facebook

You can buy Tanya's books via her website, on AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Books-A-Million.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Review: 'A Career as an Auto Mechanic' by Tamra B Orr

A Career as an Auto Mechanic by Tamra B Orr, 2011, Rosen Publishing, $35.51, hardbound, 80 pages. Cover: good. Category/Genre: how-to. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

Aimed at high school students, this book is an invaluable resource for teens (or anyone, really) who want to pursue a career as an auto mechanic.

Orr lists the kinds of classes you'll need to take while still in high school – math, English, and science (including electronics, computer technology, and physics), plus any classes or workshops on car maintenance and repair or small engine work – and gives you an idea of how to get a head start on your career.

There are certification tests you can take, which will help you become a more skilled mechanic, and which will help you find a better job. After high school, Orr suggests either community college or a post-secondary vocational school.

It's also a good idea to check out the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence online ( for lots of great information about your chosen career. Orr has a number of other resources at the end of the book, plus a handy glossary.

This is a great book for any guy or girl interested in auto mechanics.

If you like this one, try: Suggestions? 

Tamra Orr's books may be purchased at AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Books-A-Million.

Review: 'Women of the Wind' by Wanda Langley

Women of the Wind: Early Women Aviators by Wanda Langley, 2006, Morgan Reynolds Publishing, $26.95, hardbound, 160 pages. Cover: good. Category/Genre: Reference/History. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million.

Between the historic first flights of Orville and Wilbur Wright and the breaking of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager, there were many pilots willing to risk their lives flying the rickety, open-cockpit planes of the time. Some of those pilots were women; this book reveals the stories of nine of those women, some of whom set more than one record, some of whom died in flight, and all of whom serve as an inspiration, not only to women and young girls, but to the men and young boys who are interested in aviation.

Naturally, Amelia Earhart is in this book; but here you'll also find Harriet Quimby, the first woman to receive her pilot's license in the U.S.; Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to fly a plane; Ruth Nichols, who used aviation to help people; and others.

Black-and-white photographs accompany the text, and each aviator gets her own timeline. 

If you like this one, try: Almost Astronauts, by Tanya Lee Stone.

Find Wanda Langley's books on Goodreads and PaperBack Swap; there's also a biography on