Friday, February 15, 2019

Getting Pumped! An Insulin Pump Guide for Active Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes

I've had Michael Riddell's Getting Pumped! An Insulin Pump Guide for Active Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes for probably around a year or so.  It's one of those books that I really wanted to read (and needed to read), but I just kept finding excuses not to.  But after a rather difficult week where I haven't been able to exercise pretty much at all due to low glucose levels (and with the long weekend coming where I want to exercise a lot), I thought that now was the perfect time to finally read Getting Pumped! (and hopefully glean some tips to help me survive the weekend).

At 96 pages, Getting Pumped is a very quick read; it's also written in very plain language, which adds to the ease (although there are some concepts that took me a second read-through to understand).  It starts out by explaining how diabetes affects the body, then goes on to show some strategies you can use while on an insulin pump (and preferably with a continuous glucose monitor) to make it through aerobic and anaerobic exercises.  It's also got profiles of nine athletic individuals of various ages living with diabetes, and some very interesting notes on some lesser-known diabetes champions.  Riddell has Type 1 diabetes himself, so he adds some sidebars with his own thoughts from living an active life with diabetes.

I was a little bit confused as to who the audience for the book is (beyond the obvious of a person with Type 1 diabetes who has an insulin pump).  There were some sections of the book that seemed written for parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, and others where it seemed to be aimed more at teens (the chart showing a starting point for ex-carbs only went up to people who are 60kg, so that seemed aimed more at teens, too).  But one of the profiles featured a sixty year old man with Type 1 diabetes, so I'm not entirely sure.

I also noticed that when Riddell was talking about running a temporary basal (the background insulin) for exercise, he didn't actually say when to stop it.  But he's included an email address at the beginning of the book, so I'm going to message him and see what he says.

Other than those rather minor things, I think that Getting Pumped! is a fantastic resource for people on an insulin pump who want to live a more active life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Editing Made Easy

I woke up early this morning and couldn't sleep.  So after tossing and turning for awhile, I decided to grab a book and start reading.  The book I chose was Editing Made Easy by Bruce Kaplan; I picked it up from the library because I wanted to brush up on editing.  Editing Made Easy looked like such a short, easy to read book that I thought it was a great place to start.  And it turned out that in this case, looks didn't lie: I finished reading it after only a couple of hours of reading (and taking notes).

Kaplan covers the basics of copy editing.  His goal is to make your writing, whether it be newspaper, a nonfiction book, a blog post, fiction, or whatever else you're writing, effective and simple.  He gives examples of common writing problems and shows how to fix them.  Some of the chapters are basically just lists of words, so those ones weren't fun to read.  But otherwise this is a great resource that you can read cover to cover to learn more about editing!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Hags, Sirens, & Other Bad Girls of Fantasy

I bought Hags, Sirens, & Other Bad Girls of Fantasy many years ago, whne I was in school. I wanted short stories to give me a break from reading psychology text books. Life didn't exactly turn out how I'd planned, so Hags, Sirens, & Other Bad Girls of Fantasy (and most of the other anthologies I bought at that time) remain on my bookshelves (and on The List). While looking at my books, trying to decide what to read after Empire of Sand, I thought I'd give this a whirl.

The premise behind Hags, Sirens, & Other Bad Girls of Fantasy is fun: this is supposed to be an anthology of stories dedicated to the bad girls of fairy tales and mythology, because "bad girls have more fun" and they "have their real world competition beaten, hands down, both for outrageous behavior and for sheer, unmitigated gall" (those quotes come from the introduction by editor Denise Little). Unfortunately the vast majority of the stories in this volume didn't live up to Little's hype. 

It started with "Shall We Dance" by CS Friedman, which was an odd little tale about a bewitching mystety woman who preys on alpha males, making them into shadows of themselves before abandoning them for the next alpha. This one was odd because the mystery woman spoke no words (the story was narrated by a guy who saw her destroy his friend), but it did have a bad girl. Then we had "Bitter Crowns: a Tale of Crownland," which was the first story that left me wondering why it was in this book. The story is about a female lawgiver who travels around and dispenses justice (rather like a Herald of Valdemar); she encounters a serpent from her past who traps women in trees so they can create blood fruit for it. While interesting, there were no hags, no sirens, and no bad girls. This happened again and again, with tales that either had no bad girls, or bad girls who were really good girls doing bad things. Of the 20 stories in this book, only about 5 of them had an actual bad girl doing bad things. The winner on that score waw probably "Black Annie" by Jean Rabe, a brutal tale of a hag who slaughters a village because they killed a cat in an attempt to lure her out. 

The stories I enjoyed were "The Light of Ra" by Phaedra M. Weldon, which was about Isis, Set, and Osiris, "Mother of Monsters" by Greg Beatty, which was said to be one of the really good stories of this volume by other reviewers, "Lilith" by Peter Orullian, another one listed as really good, and "Heart of Stone" by Scott William Carter, which tells of how Medusa learned to love. 

I know that anthologies are really hit and miss, but I found it to be a real slog to get to the better stories in this volume. I almost didn't finish reading Hags, Sirens, & Other Bad Girls of Fantasy because it was such a slog. But I made it through, and now I can finally cross it off The List for good).