Books I read in April and health is wealth!

I initially had a post about the artist formerly known as Prince, Chyna, death and the dangerous illusion of success ... and then my edited version was munched on by Internet gremlins.

But you know? I'm not in a terribly philosophical mood today. So I'm going to let the gremlins have their meal. I mean, I've spent most of last week over a toilet bowl (TMI, sorry) thanks to a violent IBS (I think) episode, and am just thankful for the simple pleasure of being able to keep down my food without projectile vomiting it. Small victories!

So, sorry for not updating on Tuesday. Uhm, was busy.

I learned way too intimately that health is wealth. Without health, you just can't create anything. Which is why I'm making my mission for the rest of the year to regain my health and not to be so hard on myself if I don't meet deadlines.

Speaking of deadlines - a little late, but better late than never, the books I read in April:

Steal like an artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative by Austin Kleon is probably better for artists/writers who are at the start of taking their creative lives more seriously, but this book nevertheless contains good advice on how to "steal like an artist" ie, how to have the right mindset to create art without ending up an impoverished, half-crazed artist locked in a cockroach-infested attic room. Okay, I jest, but it's close enough.

Get Up!: The dire health consequences of sitting and what we can do about it by James A. Levine made me move more! If only it gave me more practical ideas on how to increase a person with a desk job like me can increase my non-sitting hours.

I love books about writing, especially the writing process, and The 8-minute Writing Habit: Create a Consistent Writing Habit that works with your busy lifestyle by Monica Leonelle was a good one. This short book is not just about how to establish a writing habit. Monica believes in order to write consistently and in larger volumes, one has to got to bust some writing blocks. I love the insight in this. I had conquered some that she mentioned, but realised that I still struggle with a few. Obviously I need more work in the mindset department! Worth the buy.

But the book that stood out most for me in April was When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, a memoir about a neurosurgeon who discovers that he has end-stage aggressive cancer. Usually I avoid books like these, but Kalanithi's words just moved me. Here was a man who soaked up what life had to offer him like a sponge; his pursuit of knowledge was almost unquenchable. Imagine what a man like that could do for society ... yet, how terribly unfair that it is people like these that often have their lives cut short. Depressing, yeah, but his thirst to live is infectious; it makes you wonder - what am I doing with the time I have left on this Earth? How do I not waste it?

What did you read in April?

Review of Get up! by James A. Levine

Get up! by James A Levine

James A Levine has always been obsessed with movement - measuring, studying, performing experiments around it ... when he was a child he used to collect snails so that he could let them loose in his bedroom to study how they moved. (The conversation he must've had with his horrified mother...)


He makes this bold claim: Sitting too much not only makes you fat - it could kill you.

From 2012-2015, I had a job that demanded that I be on my feet at least 6 hours a day. When Once, I measured my steps using a pedometer I discovered, to my amazement, that I walk at least 6km to 10km a day at that job! On top of that I was lifting heavy things such as equipment, and sometimes - people.

Well, fast forward to 2016 and I am now a desk jockey. I have piled on the pounds eventhough I have not changed my diet that much. Not surprising since I've stopped walking 6km daily!

Levine calls this activity "non-exercise activity thermogenesis" (NEAT). He believes that modern-day conveniences had drastically cut down on our NEAT hours. We no longer walk to work or toil in the fields for our food.  Instead we sit for hours in traffic jams and eat at restaurants. It's tragic that activity, something so natural for our ancestors, is so enforced during our time. We run in gyms and wear smartwatches to track our steps. Our ancestors must think we're a tad mad.


Get up! is certainly a thought provoking book, but I still give it 3 stars only because Levine, while offering ideas and solutions for corporations and schools, do not offer concrete steps or programmes to the individual on how to decrease their sitting time - especially if they are at workinng a desk job at a company that is resistant to the change he proposes. Still, you can get some ideas on how to change your life from the book.

Since reading it, I've made it a point to walk or stand as much as I can, and at work, to get up and walk every hour for 5-10 minutes. Just a few days in, and I'm already feeling better. As writers who spend hours at the computer coming up with imaginary worlds, this is so important. Perhaps we should start writing while standing?