Friday, July 29, 2016

Lift: The History of Fitness Culture

Lift: Fitness Culture, from Naked Greeks and Acrobats to Jazzercise and Ninja Warriors, by Daniel Kunitz
Publisher: Harper Wave
Publication date: July 5. 2016
Category: Nonfiction
Source: I received a free copy of this galley from TLC Book Tours for consideration of a review.

With my new interest in exercise this year (I'm up to 20 lbs lost since January), I jumped at the chance to review a book on the history of exercise! In his new book Lift, out July 5, 2016, author Daniel Kunitz first seeks to answer the question why? Why do we exercise? Most of us are not athletes, we are not competing in events, we do not need to take exercise to the levels of dedication that we do. So why the push for exercise in our culture currently? While Kunitz admits there are those who use exercise in unhealthy ways (an addiction to the sense of euphoria or as control over one's body), he makes a couple points that most anyone who exercises regularly would give a standing ovation for.

First the obvious: "We are always either getting stronger or weaker; improving or decaying; learning or forgetting - and the athlete tries to right the ship daily."

The second is longer, but it's the one I like and think other fitness minded people would cheer: "It is this marshaling of habits that I call the practicing of life, of which athletic training is only one form. Practice regimes have evolved in many forms, from the ascetic life of religion to that of the military to artistic practice, acting, medicine, philosophy, and scholarship - all aim at some type of self-enhancement through training. But athletic practice holds special interest for us because it forms the basis for all other types that followed...While [other] regimes are all voluntary, we are born into the regime of the body...we are always practicing some sort of fitness regime, be it sitting or gymnastics...For once we progress beyond the limited goal of merely shaping our bodies, we stop acting as if we were machines with a single purpose and instead begin aspiring to expansive ideals. We begin practicing the artistry of the self."

"Born into the regime of the body..." indeed. It's interesting to note that this has always been the case for everyone and yet, over time, views and types of exercise have evolved. But like all advancement, we must stop to ask ourselves if bigger is necessarily better? And this is where Kunitz begins to explore the essentials of exercise and its place in humanity. From the ancient Greeks to the feminist movement of the past century, stopping everywhere in between, Kunitz explores and asks, What are the basics of exercise and why should we get back to them?

Well, you'll have to read Lift to find out. With Kunitz's humor and the topic of exercise this close to the Olympics, it's a book many people can appreciate and enjoy right now.

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Purchase Links

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Daniel Kunitz AP

About Daniel Kunitz

Daniel Kunitz has served as editor in chief of Modern Painters, as well as an editor at the Paris Review and Details, and has been a contributor to Vanity Fair, Harper’s Magazine, and New York. He is also an avid CrossFitter and weightlifter. He lives in New York City.

Friday, July 15, 2016


Fervent: A Woman's Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer, by Priscilla Shirer
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Publication date: July 5, 2015
Category: Christian, nonfiction
Source: I received this galley from NetGalley for consideration of review.

I found Fervent in June, almost a year after its July 2015 publication date. It came up as a recommendation on my Amazon and I found it was still up for review on NetGalley, so of course I jumped at the chance to read it. Not even two weeks later, a group of ladies at much church decided to read it together. I don't believe in coincidence, so I jumped right in.

Fervent covers 10 places in life in which the enemy will attack, throwing you off course, making you unable to focus and pray your way through hardships in life, as well as pulling you from drawing closer to God. So what's at stake? What does the enemy use against you? Your passion, focus, identity, family, past, fears, purity, pressure, hurts, and relationships. That's pretty much everything...

Throughout the book, Shirer speaks to each area, giving her own examples of attack in her life and how she came through them. Using scripture, Shirer helps readers see beyond what we think is happening, to what is really happening: that it is an attack on all God has for us, if we can only see it and respond productively. She encourages readers to write their own prayers based on scripture.

I have enjoyed Fervent...and really enjoyed reading it with my group of ladies. Everyone had such great insights based on their own life experiences. There's nothing like learning from others because they care enough to be transparent. I would say Fervent is one of the better books on prayer that I've read.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Four Years...and Who Knows What Next?

So this is how busy my life has been four year blogging anniversary was yesterday (July 12th) and I only remembered cause I read someone else's four year anniversary post from last week and realized mine was passing as I read. So technically I'm writing this post at 12:15 AM on July 13th and doing so quickly because there's a ten-month-old down the hall who will likely be up in less than five hours after I post it.

Yep, a baby. Nope, not mine. I'm babysitting for my friends who traveled back to their home state to perform a wedding and fulfill some speaking engagements. They also have a 4 1/2 and 2-year-old, so I've basically moved in for the week with my 15-year-old daughter who is a huge help and great company. And that explains the crazy of this week. It's all coming back to me, my own three were all within five years so I remember it's just constant going of kids and house...I remembered right.

Speaking of houses, that's where the last few weeks have gone. We are coming to an end of our new house renovations, but it's looking like the last few big things will happen all at once and bam, we'll be in. But, the two weeks we painted I was at the house almost daily for 10-12 hours. By the last few days we were working so hard, the only meal I ate was dinner and my voice lost from sheer exhaustion. I've never worked so hard physically. But it's done and alongside laying our own flooring (let's not go there right now), saved us enough money to buy a better kitchen than our loan allowed, so it's all good!

And so, the poor blog finally gets a mention on its own anniversary post. My Life in Books has been a great source for me. I've had the pleasure of meeting so many people with similar interests and loves and I've learned to embrace my love of literature constructively and without shame. As for this year, I foresee a shift. Starting my doctorate, I plan on tracking my studies through blog posts. That will include reviews because I'll obviously be reading a ton for school, but hopefully some other interesting related topics too.

So thank you to everyone who supports me and this blog in any way. It's always a pleasure to talk books and life.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Begin the Week with Words

Two quotes from two of my biggest sources of advice, wisdom, and encouragement: author Lysa TerKeurst and Wisdom Hunters, a daily devotional I receive by email. It's where I'm at now in many ways - exhausted, but knowing that's where hope is found because I don't have to operate in my own strength.

"There's no kind of empty quite like this empty: where your hands are full but inside you're nothing but an exhausted shell." Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst 

"My weakness is God’s chance to show up and show off. When I am down to nothing, He is up to something." Boyd Bailey, Wisdom Hunters

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Begin the Week with Words

In his book The Four Loves, CS Lewis writes: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

Sometimes I honestly debate which is worse.