Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

1 January

Book of the day

caseagainstsugarThe Case Against Sugar
Gary Taubes
(UK: Portobello Books, 2017; USA: Knopf, 2016)

More than half a billion adults and 40 million children on the planet are obese. Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic. Evidence increasingly shows that these illnesses are linked to the other major Western diseases: hypertension, heart disease, even Alzheimer’s and cancer, and that shockingly, sugar is likely the single root cause. Yet the nutritional advice we receive from public health bodies is muddled, out of date, and frequently contradictory, and in many quarters still promotes the unproven hypothesis that fats are the greatest evil.

With expert science and compelling storytelling, Gary Taubes investigates the history of nutritional science which, shaped by a handful of charismatic and misguided individuals, has for a hundred years denied the impact of sugar on our health. He exposes the powerful influence of the food industry which has lobbied for sugar’s ubiquity – the Sugar Association even today promoting ‘sugar’s goodness’ – and the extent that the industry has corrupted essential scientific research. He delves into the science of sugar, exposes conventional thinking that sugar is ’empty calories’ as a myth, and finds that its addictive pleasures are resulting in worldwide consumption as never experienced before, to devastating effect.

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (The Case Against Sugar)
Available in the USA via Amazon (The Case Against Sugar)

grey-tilesFacts of the day

1 January

45 BC The Julian calendar is introduced for the first time.

New Year

The Gregorian calendar, which marks 1 January as the new year, was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1582.


The US inventor and architect Richard Buckminster Fuller began a chronological record of everything in his life as a child in 1907. Called the ‘Chronofile’, it is possibly the most detailed document of a single human life ever compiled. The scrapbook contained copies of all his letters, newspaper clippings, notes and sketches – even dry cleaning bills. It was stored in leather volumes but eventually just put in boxes – by the end of his life, this ‘lab notebook’ of his great experiment occupied 82.3 meters (270 feet) of shelf space.

Rising star in 2017

Novelist, Felicia YapThe Guardian, 1 January 2017

Writers birthdays

1638 Antoinette du Ligier de la Garde Deshoulières (France)
1648 Elkanah Settle (UK)
1704 Soame Jenyns (UK)
1714 Kristijonas Donelaitis (Lithuania)
1729 Edmund Burke (UK)
1764 Johannes Kinker (The Netherlands)
1767 Maria Edgeworth (UK)
1819 Arthur Hugh Clough (UK)
1823 Sándor Petőfi (Hungary)
1834 Ludovic Halévy (France)
1854 James George Frazer (UK)
1863 Aleko Konstantinov (Bulgaria)
1867 Charles Edward Montague (UK)
1873 Mariano Azuela (Mexico)
1879 E M Forster (UK)
1881 Carry van Bruggen (The Netherlands)
1883 Federigo Tozzi (Italy)
1913 Eliot Janeway (USA)
1915 François Bondy (Switzerland)
1919 J D Salinger (USA)
1920 Roger Passmore (UK)
1924 Roberts Blossom (USA)
1928 Ernest Tidyman (USA)
1933 Joe Orton (UK)
1937 Adam Wiśniewski-Snerg (Poland)
1949 Peter Dormer (UK)
1951 Ashfaq Hussain (Pakistan)
1973 Anwar Mansoor Mangrio (Pakistan)

Jokes of the day

I can remember 2016 like it was yesterday.

Cartoon: Various, New Year resolutions, Cartoonstock

Quote of the day

Neil Gaiman: ‘I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.’