Friday, June 22, 2018
Books

Review: 'All Natural' explores nature versus technology

Nathanael Johnson was born without a doctor in attendance and later toddled around his Northern California yard without diapers, free to ingest whatever germy creatures he got his hands on, but no sugar allowed. With parents like his, it's little wonder he grew up pondering the miracles of modern science.

What's really welcome about his book, All Natural, is that his upbringing makes the investigation of nature versus technology fun and thought-provoking. He questions mainstream wisdom, "expert" advice and natural solutions for childbirth, germs, raw milk, sugar and more.

Most of us who pay attention to the world around us can't help but be anxious about many everyday choices: Is the microwave oven really safe? Should I vaccinate my child, or will that cause harm? How was the pig raised that became the supermarket pork chop, and should I care?

Johnson, a widely published journalist, is no different, and the full title of his book makes that clear: All Natural: A Skeptic's Quest to Discover if the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier.

For Johnson, the prospect of parenthood was a precipitous launch for his quest. How would this precious human be born? The details of Johnson's own conception — apparently during an acid-fueled romp — make a funny counterpoint to the level of attention 21st century parents-to-be lavish on every detail of labor and delivery.

When he digs deep into the statistics and options, it's not so clear what to choose. Natural childbirth, at home where it's peaceful but far from medical intervention if needed? Or a caesarean birth, which after all is surgery so has its own potential complications?

While the on-the-one-hand, on-the-other nature of his findings can be frustrating, All Natural brings the arguments to life through a cast of wonderful farmers, neighbors, doctors, midwives and Johnson's own parents.

Comments
Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Grief can unhinge us, disconnect us from our daily lives, make us do things we’ve never done. Grief made Tessa Fontaine run away and join the circus.To be more exact, the sideshow: World of Wonders, the last traditional traveling sideshow in the coun...
Published: 06/21/18
5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

He might not have intended it, but Donald Trump has been good for book publishing.
Published: 06/15/18
What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

Neal ThompsonFor Father’s Day, we checked in with Neal Thompson from his Seattle office. In his new book, Kickflip Boys, Thompson weaves together a story on raising his two independent, passionate sons while giving us an honest look at the underbelly...
Published: 06/15/18
What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir

What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir "A Beautiful, Terrible Thing," reading?

Jen Waite It is June. Romance and weddings are in the air, and with that comes the paperback release of A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite, 33. The book, based on Waite’s heartbreaking wedding story, fi...
Updated one month ago
Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Washington, D.C., is a city in crisis, the operations of the federal government all but paralyzed by the conspiracy theories of a powerful politician who behaves as if the bounds of protocol and decency don’t apply to him. As he distracts the nation,...
Updated one month ago
What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

Helen RappaportWhile delving into archives and researching her new book about the murder of the Russian imperial family 100 years ago, The Race to Save the Romanovs, Rappaport celebrated the digital age. "I am able to go back so far in time and look ...
Updated one month ago
Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

In "Flower Hunters," one of the stories in Lauren Groff’s stunning new book Florida, a character gets a reader’s crush on 18th century explorer William Bartram, an early chronicler of the state’s flora and fauna: "She’s most d...
Updated one month ago
Notable: Books for the beach

Notable: Books for the beach

NotableBooks for the beachSuit up: It’s time for a few new books built for vacation reading.By Invitation Only (William Morrow) by Dorothea Benton Frank is the latest serving of Frank’s trademark warm humor and engaging characters, set around two wed...
Updated one month ago
Judy Blundell brings on summertime on Long Island in ‘High Season’

Judy Blundell brings on summertime on Long Island in ‘High Season’

NightstandJudy BlundellSince it’s Memorial Day weekend, we decided to touch base with Judy Blundell, whose new book is High Season. The novel’s protagonist is Ruthie Beamish, director of a small museum who, to make ends meet, rents out her seaside ho...
Updated one month ago

Events: Pulitzer winner Jack Davis to discuss ‘The Gulf’ at Oxford Exchange

Book TalkUniversity of Florida historian Jack E. Davis (The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea) will discuss and sign his Pulitzer Prize-winning book at 1 p.m. May 27 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Admission $5, applicable towar...
Updated one month ago