Book Club Feature: The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang

The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang

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Can you believe it’s March already? I don’t know about you all, but I’m totally over winter. Thankfully with spring on the horizon and our new March book club picks, I can wait out the cold weather a little bit longer.

Our first March book club is The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang. It’s perfect timing because all the snow and below freezing weather does not motivate me to move my body. Kang doesn’t just offer concrete steps to become more fit, but her shares her no excuses philosophy to motivate us:

We all know that we should exercise and eat right, so why is it so hard to follow through? We make excuses for why we aren’t taking better care of ourselves, saying things like, “I’m too tired,” “I don’t have time,” or “I’m just not built to look that way.” But Maria Kang, the mother of three behind the viral “What’s Your Excuse?” mom photos, is here to say that the excuses stop now.

The No More Excuses Diet combines short term goals with healthy habit-forming behaviors to create permanent lifestyle changes. Using a specially designed transformation calendar, readers set clear, personal goals and make an easy-to-follow plan for each day.  The program uses a balanced diet of 30% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fats, and includes a 10% flexible portion that can be customized depending on your goals— whether it’s extra protein for building muscles, or a sugary treat at the end of the day. The No More Excuses Diet also provides a completely customizable workout guide, with over 50 illustrated exercises designed to build strength, flexibility, endurance, and to shed fat. The program also includes 7 weeks of worth of exercise programs that can be done at home with no extra equipment. Packed with meal plans, grocery lists, lots of encouragement and a clear plan of action, The No More Excuses Diet is a must-read book for anyone who is ready to bust through the excuses the hold them back and take their health and fitness to the next level.

The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang

This is the first time we’re reading a fitness book for our book club, but I have no doubt we’ll have plenty to discuss!

Pre-order The No More Excuses Diet by Maria Kang and join us on March 12 as From Left to Write members discuss the book.

Learn more about Maria Kang on her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


Book Club Discussion: Trapped Under the Sea

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I lost an entire night’s sleep reading  Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey  (Broadway Books) because I couldn’t put it down. Even though I cheated and Googled the ending of the true events that Swidey retells, I had to read it until the end. Boston Globe Magazine journalist Swidey made me feel as if I was right in the middle of everything. Meticulously researched, the book retells “harrowing story of five men who were sent into a dark, airless, miles-long tunnel, hundreds of feet below the ocean.” 

I know many From Left to Write book club members also felt the same way I did when they read it. Though they probably didn’t lose as much sleep as I did. Today they discuss Trapped Under the Sea on their sites with personal stories inspired by this true story of the men who saved Boston’s harbor, formerly the dirtiest one in the United States.

Take a look at our book club discussion of Trapped Under the Sea:

Have we convinced you to pick up a copy of Trapped Under the Sea yet?

Learn more about Neil Swidey on his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  I tweeted him about my lost sleep and he actually apologized!

Ruby by Cynthia Bond is an Oprah Book Club 2.0

Ruby by Cynthia Bond Oprah Book Club 2.0

Ruby by Cynthia Bond Oprah Book Club 2.0

It’s pretty exciting when a book we love finally gets the recognition it deserves. Last year From Left to Write members were deeply moved by Cynthia Bond’s debut novel Ruby. Oprah has chose Ruby as her fourth book in her Book Club 2.0.

Take a look at Oprah’s announcement:

Our book club discussion of Ruby touched on the character’s challenges, hopes and demons. I hope you’ll read it with Oprah or with your book club. It’s truly an amazing book.

P.S. Here are some reading group questions for Ruby.

Do you read Oprah’s book club picks?

New Book Club: Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey

Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey

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Our next book club pick is a gripping page turner. The events in Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey  (Broadway Books) seem so fantastical that I kept turning to the front to make sure it was a true story. And it all really happened:

The harrowing story of five men who were sent into a dark, airless, miles-long tunnel, hundreds of feet below the ocean, to do a nearly impossible job—with deadly results

A quarter-century ago, Boston had the dirtiest harbor in America. The city had been dumping sewage into it for generations, coating the seafloor with a layer of “black mayonnaise.” Fisheries collapsed, wildlife fled, and locals referred to floating tampon applicators as “beach whistles.”

In the 1990s, work began on a state-of-the-art treatment plant and a 10-mile-long tunnel—its endpoint stretching farther from civilization than the earth’s deepest ocean trench—to carry waste out of the harbor. With this impressive feat of engineering, Boston was poised to show the country how to rebound from environmental ruin. But when bad decisions and clashing corporations endangered the project, a team of commercial divers was sent on a perilous mission to rescue the stymied cleanup effort. Five divers went in; not all of them came out alive.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents collected over five years of reporting, award-winning writer Neil Swidey takes us deep into the lives of the divers, engineers, politicians, lawyers, and investigators involved in the tragedy and its aftermath, creating a taut, action-packed narrative. The climax comes just after the hard-partying DJ Gillis and his friend Billy Juse trade assignments as they head into the tunnel, sentencing one of them to death.

An intimate portrait of the wreckage left in the wake of lives lost, the book—which Dennis Lehane calls “extraordinary” and compares with The Perfect Storm—is also a morality tale. What is the true cost of these large-scale construction projects, as designers and builders, emboldened by new technology and pressured to address a growing population’s rapacious needs, push the limits of the possible? This is a story about human risk—how it is calculated, discounted, and transferred—and the institutional failures that can lead to catastrophe.

Sounds intense, doesn’t it?

Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey


The paperback releases tomorrow, February 17th and From Left to Write members will share their discussion of  Trapped Under the Sea by Neil Swidey this Thursday, February 19th. You’ll definitely want to grab a copy to find out what happened to those men.

Learn more about Neil Swidey on his website and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Then come back and join our discussion later this week!

Book Club Discussion: The Matheny Manifesto

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Today we’re diving into the world of baseball with St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.  His new book The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life (Crown Archetype) calls for a return to the old school, tough love philosophy in children’s team sports. 

The book definitely struck a nerve with From Left to Write book club members. Many of us are parents and some of us played team sports as kids. Head over to our members’ blogs to read their take on The Matheny Manifesto:

Did you or your kids play team sports?

Grab your copy of  The Matheny Manifesto and join in on the conversation!

You follow Mike Matheny via his websiteFacebook and Twitter too!

February Book Club: The Matheny Manifesto

The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny


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A new month means a new book club selection! Our first book for February is The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life (Crown Archetype) by Mike Matheny.

When neighborhood friends begged him to coach their kids’ baseball team, pro-catcher Matheny made the parents promise to not get involved in the game. What started as his statement of rules for the new team turned into a manifesto once it became viral. Matheny shares his philosophy for coaching children in team sports than can be easily translated into other aspects of their (our) lives. More about the book:

   Mike Matheny was just forty-one, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. While Matheny has enjoyed immediate success, leading the Cards to the postseason three times in his first three years, people have noticed something else about his life, something not measured in day-to-day results. Instead, it’s based on a frankly worded letter he wrote to the parents of a Little League team he coached, a cry for change that became an Internet sensation and eventually a “manifesto.”

The tough-love philosophy Matheny expressed in the letter contained his throwback beliefs that authority should be respected, discipline and hard work rewarded, spiritual faith cultivated, family made a priority, and humility considered a virtue. In The Matheny Manifesto, he builds on his original letter by first diagnosing the problem at the heart of youth sports−hint: it starts with parents and coaches−and then by offering a hopeful path forward. Along the way, he uses stories from his small-town childhood as well as his career as a player, coach, and manager to explore eight keys to success: leadership, confidence, teamwork, faith, class, character, toughness, and humility.

The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny

Join From Left to Write book club members next week, February 12th as we discuss The Matheny ManifestoThe book releases tomorrow, so you can pre-order your copy today and join us next week!

You follow Mike Matheny via his website, Facebook and Twitter too!