Well, welcome to 2012! Welcome to what mystical Mayans and wise men have prophesized might just be our last year of existence. Seeing as how we have already frittered away the first few days of this red-letter year (and how we might be getting cheated back-end out of another 10 days), let’s hit this list running (or jogging, walking, lopping or dragging)! As a card-carrying member of the first videogame generation (don’t ask to see said card — it’s virtual), I have been spoiled by the whole “reset button” option. By the way, if you’re slow to get off the couch and would like a good video game read, I recommend The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon by Steven Kent $19.95. It is chock-full of info and anecdotes and will be loved by teenagers and boomers, geeks and geek-wannabes. Thank goodness our culture has created a societal mulligan: the New Year’s Resolution! The Body There are so many books about physical fitness that I get tired even thinking about them. Honestly, it took me an extra day to finish this article, because I had to pour through so many (at least that’s what I told my editor). Finally, I found a favorite: The ACSM Fitness Book: 3rd edition ($16.95) by the American College of Sports Medicine. The book’s premise: start where you are and go wherever your goals take you. No other guide offers a more comprehensive plan for developing a personal fitness program and sticking with it. Developed by the American College of Sports Medicine, ACSM Fitness Book offers the total package from one of the most respected organizations in the field. From simple, step-by-step instruction to new insights on nutrition, weight control, motivation and overcoming setbacks, the authors provide the help you need to reach beyond your personal best. Or if you, like me, sometimes feel, um, sore before, during or after exercise, I use and endorse (but receive absolutely no compensation from) Stretching: 30th Anniversary Edition by Bob Alexander ($19.95). This is the book that people tell their friends about, that trainers suggest for virtually every sport and activity and that medical professionals recommend to people just starting to get back in shape. It features stretching routines specific to a variety of people, including sports enthusiasts, travelers, children, gardeners and people in wheelchairs. There is also an abbreviated version of each routine for people in a hurry, new information on the stretching vs. warming up debate and new and improved drawings. Seeing as how I am currently hungry, I’ve been smitten with The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Lindsay Nixon ($19.95). T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study $16.95 (and to whom I profess a deep intellectual-crush) wrote, “The Happy Herbivore Cookbook’s low-fat, plant-based dishes promote health in a delectable and wholesome way. Lindsay Nixon’s recipes are … simple and flavorful solutions to eat better for mental and physical health.” Yum. Finding Time and Space One of my New Year’s resolutions is to spend more time with my family. Scary thing: if you type “spending time with family” into a search engine, the odds are very good that you’re going to be directed to an obituary. Wow! Well, assuming that it isn’t too late, I recommend two books by Cynthia Copeland that tag-team well together: Family Fun Night ($14.95) and Fun on the Run ($8.95). Many, if not most of the suggestions are best for pre-K through elementary-schoolers, but there are enough other options that maybe even a teenager will listen in and participate (heaven forbid they should let their friends find out, though). I have a friend who once shared with me “take my advice — I’m not using it.” Never have so few words so succinctly defined me. So with that in mind, I’m going to suggest a book that I would no doubt benefit from, but have yet to engage. Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer ($13.95). Loaded with inspiring anecdotes and practical tips, Clutter Busting is based on the notion that your things are not sacred, but you are. The book explores such fundamental topics as the false identities we assume through clutter, the fear of change those junk piles represent, the addictive nature of holding on to objects, how clearing clutter makes room for clarity and sweeps away confusion and stasis, and much more. With Brooks’ upbeat and compassionate guidance, you’ll find yourself clearing the way for new and exciting things to come into your life. Cool. So here’s to a fresh start! And if it doesn’t take right-away I will offer you a bonus, (because I’m so flattered that you’re taking the time to read this article): The Chinese New Year (The Year of the Dragon) is Jan. 23. (Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin, $7.99). The Iranian New Year is March 20 (Celebrating Norouz-Persian New Year by Yassaman Jalali $12.95). The Jewish New Year is Sept. 16 (Even Higher!: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Eric A. Kimmel $6.95). And the Islamic New Year is Nov. 26 (Ramadhan and Eid-ul-Fitr by Azra Jessa $7.95). Happy New Years!
Liberal, Jewish and vegan. Scott has six kitties, a dog, four kids and a wife who saves peoples' lives. He operates EVERYbody Reads bookstore, 2019 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing.