Dont Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock: Lightweight But Convincing Expose of the Fast Food Industry
For those of you who've been on another planet for the past year or so, Morgan Spurlock is a filmaker who spent an entire month eating nothing but McDonald's food and filming the decline in his health, expanding waistline and other alarming consequences of this damaging diet.
The result was the gripping documentary, Super Size Me, which earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination.
Don't Eat This Book, although an obvious offshoot of the film, is a worthy project in its own right, with plenty to offer Spurlock fans and newbies alike.
If you've seen the movie, you'll appreciate the behind the scenes perspectives revealed in Don't Eat This Book. But the main thrust of the book should appeal to anyone with an interest in the fast food industry and its role in modern society. Certainly, if you're a parent or teacher who cares what children eat, you should own this book.
The title - Don't Eat This Book - is a spoof on the warning labels emblazoned on virtually every US product.
The warnings are aimed at warding off court cases from the kinds of people people not only stupid enough to put their hands into a whirring grass cutter or to mistake silcone gel sneaker inserts for mints, but also shameless enough to blame the manufacturer for their ensuing, and well-deserved, misfortune.
Spurlock has no time for such frivilous litigation. But he convincingly argues that such cases are very different from the kinds of class actions being pursued against giant tobacco and food companies.
It should be obvious to anyone but the most brain dead that putting your hand into a power mower's blades is bad for you. But until recently it was not so obvious that cigarettes and fast food were bad for you.
For decades tobacco companies hid evidence that their product was a health hazard, cunningly designed to be addictive. At the same time they spent staggering amounts of money on marketing to create the image that cigarettes were "cool".
With the success of the initial tobacco class actions, attitudes began to change.
As Spurlock points out, "Suddenly it was apparent that sticking a cigarette in your mouth was not quite the same thing as sticking those sneaker mints in your mouth. No one spent billlions and billions of dollars in marketing, advertising and promotions telling that guy those sneaker mints would make him cool, hip and sexy. Big Tobacco did exactly that to smokers."
He spends much of the rest of Don't Eat This Book building a similarly damning case against the fast food industry.
The parallels are inescapable. Fast food chains like McDonalds spend billions on convincing kids that eating their unhealthy, fattening products will make you popular and cool.
Their "Super Size" policy, cynically designed to prey on the natural human instinct to get value for money, is roundly criticised, with the author's own experience in filming Super Size Me serving as chief witness for the prosecution.
And if it wasn't hard enough to keep your kids from eating junk food outside of school, there's the growing trend of fast food chains to offer funds to cash-strapped schools in exchange for branding and advertising opportunities. In several cases, fast food chains have even set up shop inside school cafeterias.
Thankfully, all is not doom and gloom. Spurlock heaps praise on schools that provide healthy, local food in their cafeterias. He also provides advice and a list of resources for parents and teachers seeking to turn the tide in their own communities.
This, combined with Spurlock's casual, humorous writing style make for a quick, breezy and ultimately optimistic read. Its accessibility makes Don't Eat This Book an ideal educational tool, especially when combined with Spurlock's Super Size Me documentary.
If you prefer a more measured, investigative style of journalism, Don't Eat This Book may be a little lightweight for your liking - Eric Schlosser's brilliant Fast Food Nation will probably be more to your taste.
I'll end with one word of caution. If you do print out this review, please don't eat it. It may give you indigestion and I can't afford the lawsuit!
For more reviews of the best obesity books, visit www.obesitycures.com/obesity-books.html">http://www.obesitycures.com/obesity-books.html
Alan Cooper is a journalist with 20 year's experience and the publisher of www.ObesityCures.com">ObesityCures.com, a site with the ambitious aim of being a "one-stop-shop" for impartial information on obesity and weight loss solutions - including fad diets, prescription weightloss pills and natural weightloss aids.
One of Italy's most popular authors and creator of the Inspector Montalbano series, Andrea Camilleri has died at the age of 93.
Camilleri, who was born in Sicily in 1925, was taken to hospital in Rome in June after going into cardiac arrest.
The author had written a handful of historical novels when, in 1994 at the age of almost 70, he wrote The Shape of Water, the first book starring his now famous Sicilian detective. Set in the fictional town of Vigata, Camilleri was originally going to call his central detective The Commissioner, but decided to pay tribute to the Spanish writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, the Spanish author of novels about the investigator Pepe Carvalho.
Saying that the event "has grown exponentially since its launch," the American Booksellers Association is taking over management of Independent Bookstore Day, which began as California Bookstore Day in 2014 and became a national event the following year, Bookselling This Week reported. IBD program director Samantha Schoech will remain in her position and work closely with ABA on planning and promoting the event.
Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series, as well as author of the Emily Brown picture books, has been named the new Waterstones children's laureate. The Waterstones Children's Laureate is managed by BookTrust, as the UK's largest children's reading charity, and sponsored by Waterstones.
She unveiled her new charter, stating that every child has the right to:
1. Read for the joy of it
2. Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops
3. Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller
4. Own their OWN book
5. See themselves reflected in a book
6. Be read aloud to
7. Have some choice in what they read
8. Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week
9. See an author event at least ONCE
10. Have a planet to read on
New library borrowing figures from the US show how far England is lagging behind other countries because of its facilities' falling book stocks, according to new analysis from library campaigner Tim Coates.
Using statistics from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, ex-Waterstones boss Tim Coates produced a chart showing English book loans have plummeted year-on-year since 2009/10 while American numbers remain relatively stable...
Lesley Nneka Arimah has won the 20th edition of the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story 'Skinned'. The prize was launched in 2000, and is awarded annually to an African writer of a short story published in English. The winner receives UK£10,000 prize money, and each shortlisted writer also receives £500.
Arimah is also the author of the 2017 story collection What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky
Publishers are holding their breath to see if President Trump's decision to postpone the imposition of 25% tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods imported from China will become permanent.
The new tariffs, which included books, were proposed this spring. But after meeting with China President Xi at the G20 conference this weekend, Trump agreed to delay any new tariffs as part of an effort to restart trade talks. In his speech, Trump said new tariffs have been delayed "for the time being."
After Angie Thomas requested that she not be tagged into negative reviews of her books on social media, she has received a torrent of abuse.
History has yet to find the book that is universally adored – or the author who enjoys reading bad reviews. While Angie Thomas has topped the charts and scooped up armloads of awards for her two young adult novels, The Hate U Give and On the Come Up, her recent request that book bloggers stop sending her their negative reviews saw her on the receiving end of a wave of vitriol....
At dozens of barbershops and laundromats across the United States, the sound of children reading aloud mingles with the buzz and snip from barbers' tools or the din of washers. Makeshift shelves and crates hold books featuring cartoon characters, stories about pigeons or the capers of superheroes.
This developing movement, supported by nonprofit groups, entrepreneurs, libraries and community fund-raising, is redefining the borders of traditional neighborhood public libraries by creating literary spaces in places where children find themselves with time on their hands.
It is bringing the book to the child, instead of the child to the book...
With concern in the library community continuing to grow over their ability to provide access to digital content, the Council of the American Library Association yesterday passed a resolution to ramp up its advocacy efforts—including taking the issue to Congress.
The "Resolution on E-Book Pricing for Libraries" was adopted and brought to the ALA Council by ASCGLA (the Association of Specialized, Government and Cooperative Library Agencies), a division of the ALA. The resolution references efforts in Canada to alert the public to the problems of licensing digital content from publishers, and proposes to create a new joint working group to more directly confront the issues in the U.S.
Amazon sells substantially more than half of the books in the United States, including new and used physical volumes as well as digital and audio formats. Amazon is also a platform for third-party sellers, a publisher, a printer, a self-publisher, a review hub, a textbook supplier and a distributor that now runs its own chain of brick-and-mortar stores.
But Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.
That has resulted in a kind of lawlessness. Publishers, writers and groups such as the Authors Guild said counterfeiting of books on Amazon had surged. The company has been reactive rather than proactive in dealing with the issue, they said, often taking action only when a buyer complains. Many times, they added, there is nowhere to appeal and their only recourse is to integrate even more closely with Amazon...