Five words from the blurb: hidden, gender, observations, society, secret
The Underground Girls of Kabul is a fascinating investigation into the lives of Afghani girls who are raised as boys. The practice is secretive, but widespread, and occurs for a variety of reasons. Male babies are prized because they protect the family, bring in the majority of income, and are necessary for inheritance reasons. Women who produce only female offspring are seen as failures, so the idea of pretending your newborn is a boy is an appealing way of being accepted by society. From birth these female babies are presented to the world as male. They are known as ‘bacha posh’, which translates as ‘dressed up like a boy’.
Jenny Nordberg is a journalist who spent time interviewing people in Afghanistan. By gaining their trust she managed to get an incredible insight into this hidden world. Her discoveries on gender differences were especially revealing – showing to what extent nature can be overridden by nurture. Nordberg also managed to find adult bacha posh, some who have revealed their true gender and are now living as women, but others who have decided to remain as men throughout their adult lives.
Who would not walk out of the door in disguise – if the alternative was to live as a prisoner or slave? Who would really care about long hair or short, pants or skirt, feminine or masculine, if renouncing one’s gender gave one access to the world?
The book gives details of what everyday life is like in Afghanistan. I’ve read several books on this subject, but this is the first to really get under the skin of normal people. Gender politics within the country were also explained fully and I now feel I have an understanding of the history behind the rules. It was interesting to see how powerful women are trying to change things, but be able to appreciate the immense difficulties they face in trying to do so.
The writing was excellent, but maintained a journalistic distance from the subjects throughout. I’d have preferred to get to know some of the interviewees in more depth, but the book skipped to the next person before the reader had a chance to bond with anyone. This meant a wide range of different families were introduced, but the same topics were occasionally repeated.
Overall this book was fascinating for many different reasons, but an essential read for anyone interested in gender differences.
Five words from the blurb: schools, progressive, change, children, confidence
I’m currently trying to decide which secondary school to send my children to, so I bought a copy of this book in the hope it might give me an idea of what to look for when I’m visiting them. It proved excellent for this purpose, but was also good at pointing out what parents can do to help their children within the home.
Educating Ruby states that our current education system fails to teach children what they really need to know to thrive in the outside world. It’s current focus on passing exams means that children falter when confronted with the skills needed for employment. The book argues that the education system needs to change radically in order to teach children to work with others, to communicate effectively, and to have the confidence needed to chase their dreams. It also questions the topics that should be taught in schools – suggesting that learning about finance, cookery and sex might be of more use than trigonometry or the Tudors.
Some parts of this book felt like an uncontrolled rant but beneath the surface it contained a lot of interesting points. It made suggestions for how to improve a child’s social skills, both as a parent and as a professional within the school environment, and gave numerous examples of how to make lessons more interesting and engage children in creative thought:
A few years ago we worked with a teacher in a school in Milton Keynes who undertook some research into ways of making reading and writing fun for her Year 1 children in ‘Elephants’ class. The teacher chose Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss as a book to read together (a good choice given its central character is Sam-I-Am who is reluctant to try things out but gradually learns to ‘give it a go’). She equipped the Elephants with paper, pencils and clipboards and asked where they’d like to do their writing. They chose to try in the classroom with the lights off and powered by torches, in the staffroom (achieved after a bit of negotiation!), lying on the floor in the school library, in the school grounds and even in the local park. This simple but imaginative approach worked well. Accompanied by the normal phonics and handwriting practice, the confidence of the Elephant class increased, the teacher told us, as did the fluency and skill of their writing.
It became increasingly useful as it neared the end – especially because it backed up many of its proposals with scientific research or examples for further reading.
Educating Ruby makes a compelling case for changing the way children are taught in schools. I hope that the ideas discussed within this book can be introduced into schools and more people come to appreciate that exam success is not the most important thing a child can achieve.
Five words from the blurb: fear, stress, mental, health, research
Scott Stossel has spent his entire life battling crippling anxiety. In an effort to understand his condition he has compiled medical research and historical information about a wide range of sufferers; showing how generations of people have dealt with their problems. He includes details about many famous people, showing that the affliction does not prevent people from achieving great things.
I was pleased to discover this book on the Wellcome Prize shortlist as I thought I suffered from anxiety, but I quickly realised that I don’t. The nervousness I feel when approaching a stressful situation isn’t in the same league as the anguish of those within these pages. click here you will get all health related information and also they give useful tips for us. Here is the best Health Blog for you. I was surprised to discover how serious the condition can be and how prevalent it is within our society; especially given the fact it didn’t exist as a diagnostic category 35 years ago.
One argument for why twenty-first-century life produces so much anxiety is that social and political roles are no longer understood to have been ordained by God or by nature – we have to choose our roles. Such choices, research shows, are stressful. As sodden with fear and darkness and death as the Middle Ages were, Fromm and others argue, they were likely freer of anxiety than our own time is.
The book contains a vast amount of information about medical research into the condition. It was all well referenced, but contains enough light-hearted side-notes to ensure the reader doesn’t become bogged down in technical detail.
I’d assumed that this book might contain strategies to help deal with anxiety, but this isn’t a self-help book. Despite years of therapy, Scott Stossel hasn’t been cured of his anxiety and, although it contains information about different techniques tried through the ages, this book doesn’t contain any direct guidance on how to deal with anxiety. Instead it gives a brutally honest insight into the condition, explaining what life is like for those trapped by phobias and catastrophizing thought. I now have a greater empathy for those who are suffering, and that is more than enough for one book to provide.
The only real problem was that the structure wasn’t quite right. There were a few sections that repeated information given earlier in the book and in places it didn’t flow as well as it could. These minor problems can be overlooked as it is such an important resource for those with anxiety.
Overall, this was an impressive compilation of information on anxiety and I recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about the condition.
1. If I have depression, am I at risk for obesity?
People with depression or anxiety may experience weight gain or weight loss due to their condition or the medications that treat them. Depression and anxiety can both be associated with overeating, poor food choices, and a more sedentary lifestyle. Over time, weight gain may eventually lead to obesity, prevent most obesity related conditions by reading these proven reviews.
About 43 percentTrusted Source of adults with depression are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And they say adults who’ve been diagnosed with depression are more likelyTrusted Source to be overweight than those who haven’t.
Likewise, children who are depressed often have a higher BMI than children who aren’t. In one 2002 studyTrusted Source, they found that children who were depressed were more likelyTrusted Source to become obese by the time researchers’ followed up one year later.
2. If obesity has already been diagnosed, am I at risk for depression?
Obesity is often associated with emotional issues, such as sadness, anxiety, and depression. One 2010 studyTrusted Source found that people who were obese had a 55 percentTrusted Source greater risk for developing depression over the course of their life than people who weren’t obese.
Obesity and other weight conditions can also lead to physical health problems. This includes:
These conditions are also risk factors for depression.
3. Does stress factor into this?
Stress is absolutely a factor in both depression and obesity.
Chronic stress and anxiety, for example, can lead to depression. Likewise, stress can make someone more likely to turn to food as a coping mechanism. That can lead to weight gain and eventually obesity.
On the opposite side, stress can also lead to weight loss, or other disordered eating habits, improve your dietary results by reading these resurge reviews.
In adolescents, stressful life events — like bullying and weight-based teasing — have been linkedTrusted Source to depression. This is especially true for young people who are overweight or obese.
Stress reduction is one of the first-line treatments for both depression and obesity. When you’re able to handle the emotions related to your stress and anxiety, you can more easily tackle other issues that can lead to both depression and obesity.
4. Do we know what perpetuates this cycle of obesity and depression?
It isn’t clear how this vicious circle turns, but it is clear that obesity and depression are linked.
For years, researchers were hesitant to connect the two, but as study results became more clear, anecdotal reports have turned to hard science. Today, it’s well understood that obesity can increase your risk for depression, and vice versa.
In fact, many doctors approach treatment for these conditions with a multi-pronged approach. In addition to treating the condition that’s been diagnosed, many care plans include preventive measures to reduce your risk for related conditions.
The goal is to address the physical and emotional needs associated with each condition.
5. Could the treatment options be to blame?
Many prescription antidepressants list weight gain as a common side effect.
Likewise, some weight-management therapies can lead to emotional ups and downs that can cause or worsen depression. A “diet” has a lot of opportunities for failure or setbacks. This can challenge a person who’s already dealing with mental health issues.
However, with a team of experts to guide you, encourage you, and hold you accountable, it’s possible to find a treatment plan that works for both conditions.
6. What should you keep in mind when treating coexisting conditions?
Depression and obesity are both chronic conditions that require long-term care and attention.
It’s important to keep an open line of communication with your doctor about where you are on your journey — regardless of whether you’re sticking to your care plan.
Being honest about what you are and aren’t doing is the only way for your doctor to understand and monitor your underlying condition.
7. How do you know if treatment is helping or hurting?
Radical changes can compound a very delicate situation. That’s why it’s important you seek out qualified health professionals to guide you in this journey.
Sudden, dramatic changes can compound problems. They may also set you up for failure, which can worsen your symptoms.
If you experience these red-flag symptoms or side effects, make an appointment to see your doctor and review your course of treatment:
loss of all interest or pleasure in activities you typically enjoy
an inability to leave your house or bed
irregular sleeping pattern changes
feeling very tired and having difficulty functioning
Five words from the blurb: doctor, Haiti, difference, global, disease
Mountains Beyond Mountains is a book that demands discussion. It is a perfect book club choice, especially for those looking to branch into non-fiction for the first time. The book is a biography of Paul Farmer, an American doctor who has done an incredible amount to reduce rates of infection, particularly tuberculosis, around the world. The only problem is that Paul Farmer is a controversial man and this book forces us to question our concept of right and wrong.
As a teenager Farmer fell in love with the people of Haiti. After qualifying as a doctor he set up a clinic there and dedicated his life to improving the health of local people. The only problem is that he stole thousands of dollars of medicine and equipment from US hospitals in order to do so. Much of his illegal behaviour is glossed over and this book concentrates on the immense body of good work he has done. Many reviews have criticised Kidder for “hero worshiping” Farmer, but I think this element only adds to its discussability.
Mountains Beyond Mountains is an engaging account of Farmer’s life. The sections in which Kidder recounts the time he spent with him were particularly vivid and his admiration for Farmer’s work shines through.
And I can imagine Farmer saying he doesn’t care if no one else is willing to follow his example. He’s still going to make these hikes, he’d insist, because if you say that seven hours is too long to walk for two families of patients, you’re saying that their lives matter less than some others’, and the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world.”
Haiti was also beautifully described. The poverty of the people was often distressing to read, but the Haitians were treated with respect throughout. I admired the way individuals were highlighted – allowing their terrible problems to be humanised, instead of just being a statistic. The political situation was also explained well and I discovered that this country has one of the most interesting pasts I’ve come across. It has made me keen to seek out more books based in this Caribbean country.
The second half of the book, in which Farmer becomes a global authority on infection, was less interesting to me. The book became more about statistics and, although what he achieved was impressive, it didn’t have the emotional impact of the first half.
Overall this was an important book. It raised many questions about global healthcare and left me feeling strangely guilty about my privileged place in the world.
Five words from the blurb: Indonesia, violence, cannibalism, besieged, crisis
People Who Eat Darkness is my favourite true-crime book so I was excited to read another of Richard Lloyd Parry’s books. Unfortunately In the Time of Madness wasn’t in the same league and I found the brutality too much to bear.
In 1997 Richard Lloyd Parry found himself in Indonesia, reporting on the elections there. By chance he heard about the terrible violence that was taking place in other areas of the country and decided to investigate it. This led him to witness some of the most savage violence in recent history; including beheadings and cannibalism.
Richard Lloyd Parry is a fantastic journalist, clearly explaining the situation without bias or sentimentality. I loved the way that this book explained the history of Indonesia to me. I was aware of the violence that took place there, but I have to admit that I didn’t know the reason behind it or anything about the different tribes at war with one another. Unfortunately his lack of emotion was a problem for me. It was good to read that it troubled him too:
I had never worked in such conditions before, and nor had anyone I knew. The experience produced two contradictory reactions. The first was relief, together with a guilty pride, in finding myself unable to confront horror without nausea or fear. The second reaction took the form of more troubling questions, which nagged me at odd moments. Why wasn’t I more upset my this? What was wrong with me? I don’t know what to call such an emotion, but it is something close to shame.
The graphic (but never gratuitous) descriptions of violence were too disturbing for me and I found myself skimming sections to avoid adding the terrible imagery to my brain. As the book progressed I was skipping more than I was actually reading. It lacked mystery/intrigue and it didn’t have the outstanding structure of People Who Eat Darkness so there was no imperative to read on. In the end I had to admit this book wasn’t for me and I abandoned it at about the half way point.
If you have an interest in the history of Indonesia then this book is a must-read, but don’t go near it if you have a delicate nature.