BOOK beat

BOOK beat

Why We Eat What We Eat: The Psychology of Eating

(American Psychological Association) edited by Elizabeth Capaldi (Psychology). (review taken from book jacket)

Eating is arguably the most fundamental of human activities. In Western societies in particular, there is great interest in diet, health, and food preferences. This volume explores the shift in eating research from the search for bodily signals that trigger hunger to a focus on eating patterns emerging from a learning process that is based on life experience. This new book offers hope that healthful eating patterns can be learned.

"Studies on animal models of obesity demonstrated that obesity is the outcome of an interaction between a genetic predisposition and exposure to environmental factors such as diet. The most promising strategy for the study of the behavioral phenotype in human obesity might be to focus on dietary behaviors that are most likely to carry a heritable component; however, it is unclear what those behaviors are. Past investigators have variously examined attitudes and beliefs as well as sweet taste preferences, food choices, and eating styles; such studies have almost invariably failed to establish any consistent differences between obese patients and control groups of lean persons."

The Silent Dialogue: Zen Letters to a Trappist Monk

(The Continuum Publishing Company) by David Hackett (Religion). (review taken from book jacket)

In August 1974, following conversion to the Catholic faith while living in a Trappist monastery, David Hackett set out on a two-year journey to Japan and Southeast Asia. Hackett became a Catholic through Zen meditation and an understanding of Catholicism acquired by the patient guidance of a Trappist monk. Yet baptism marked the beginning of a new inquiry. Asking many questions, Hackett began a journey which led to meetings and meditations with Catholic priests and Zen masters sympathetic to Catholicism.

"I am at Father Lassalle's Zen retreat house awaiting the arrival of twenty-five sesshin fans. The sesshin will last seven days with more than eight hours of meditation each day. I will be burrowing into the slow repetition of "Lord Have Mercy," if my legs do not give out. I feel like I'm about to run the marathon and must pace myself. I have to somehow keep focused upon my prayer and not allow the sitting to deteriorate into a leg pain endurance contest.

Women of Belize: Gender and Change in Central America

(Rutgers University Press) by Irma McClaurin (Anthropology) (review taken from book cover)

This ethnography is set in the remote district of Toledo, Belize, Central America, where three women weave personal stories about the events in their lives. Each describes her experiences of motherhood, marriage, family illness, emigration, separation, work, or domestic violence that led her to recognize gender inequality and then to do something about it.

"Women sometimes become involved in interpersonal relationships that are more economically based than romantic, as I discussed in chapter 7. Although Evelyn's relationship with her husband does not exactly fit the model I described, it is a variation on a theme. Alan has access to resources (land, credit and some prestige by virtue of his family's name and status in the community), and Evelyn is willing to remain in their relationship if he can provide her with the needed resources (even if sporadic) she needs to maintain herself and her family. In exchange, she ignores his infidelities and erratic work behavior."

Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology

(Princeton University Press) by Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis (History). (review taken from book jacket)

Unifying Biology offers a historical reconstruction of one of the most important yet elusive episodes in the history of modern science: the evolutionary synthesis of the 1930s and the 1940s. For more than seventy years after Darwin proposed his theory of evolution, it was hotly debated by biological scientists. It was not until the 1930s that opposing theories were finally refuted and a unified Darwinian evolutionary theory came to be widely accepted by biologists. Using methods gleaned from a variety of disciplines, Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis argues that the evolutionary synthesis was part of the larger process of unifying the biological sciences.

"If science is narrative constituted, philosophers of science will want to know how one can discriminate between stories or whether all stories will hold true (another way of phrasing the problem of relativism). The response here is to state that while science may be narrative-based activity, this does not necessarily mean that all narratives will do. The key question is how narratives are reworked within sets of validating or evidentiary constraints."