Books you connect with that make you think

Mon 5 – Sun 11 July 2021


Books and Reading

This theme has moved from Red in last week’s blog (read it here) to Green. This is because I have finally finished the 2 books I have had on the go for a couple of weeks. And they have both made an impression on me. This is not the duty of books (sometimes they are just for fun). But it is nice every so often to read books that really make you think. πŸ™‚

‘The Obesity Code’ by Dr Jason Fung

Quite a well known book that basically sets out to prove that modern weight gain is due to insulin addiction. This creates constant hunger and so people over-eat. The over-production of insulin is primarily linked to excessive intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates. The solution is to eat more healthily but also, very importantly, to do regular fasting in order that the body loses its insulin addiction.

I can do fasting sometimes particularly like skipping breakfast which this book highly recommends. ‘Most important meal of the day’ is a myth created by marketers and breakfast cereal manufacturers. But I think the time of 24 and 36 hour fasts advocated by Fung will need to come in a post-work era when I don’t eat to deal with stress (which produces cortisol which leads to insulin).

More easier at the moment is to do mini-fasts and take on board the anti-insulin eating plan:

  • Reduce consumption of added sugars
  • Reduce consumption of refined grains
  • Moderate protein consumption
  • Increase consumption of natual fats
  • Increase consumption of fibre and vinegar

‘Out of the Woods’ by Luke Turner

Sub-titled ‘Nature, Sexuality, and Faith in the Forest’ sort of gives the game away. There are a lot of books about nature at the moment and reconnecting with it. I presume it is a result of the growing awareness of the climate crisis and the covid lockdowns. This is pre-covid and focuses on a young man’s love of Epping Forest but also weighing this with his personal crisis around sexuality and faith.

I previously described it as a bit self-focused which is harsh particularly as the author’s sexual confusion stems a lot from the way society and religion demonises sex forcing people into difficult situations. And I suppose, by its nature, all auto-biographical books are self-focused. But I can relate to totally to his love of forests as well as confusion over sexual identity when young as well as dilemmas over sex and faith. Overall, a book that is good food for thought about what moulds us.

Autumnal trees and leaves

The joy of the library

Big excitement for me on Thurs when I rediscovered one of my favourite libraries had reopened. It had been closed due to covid but also to repair the fabric of the building itself. So nice to wander around the books and just look to see if there is anything to borrow. Took out 3 books on Thurs. Then returned 3 books on Sat and took another 3 out. πŸ™‚

The importance of books

Tech For Good: Social Change Lab

A flurry last week of final conversations with potential applicants for our big tech advice and development pro-bono offer to not-for-profit organisations. Deadline to apply was Friday and we’ve had a good responses. Healthy but not overwhelming. So we start on the next phase: scoring and deciding who gets invited for interview. All applications to be 2 person read with me and my colleague Jeantine additionally reading all the applications. And then focusing on how we can give the best possible feedback to those who don’t progress to interview.


Big thing last week was my trip with a ton of DVDs to the Music Exchange in Notting Hill – details on their suite of exchange shops here. This particular exchange shop has been closed due to a burst water main that flooded the shop. This trip is a continuation of the process I have of offloading stuff I have accumulated (hoarded) particularly books, DVDs and CDs. The latter two show my age – some young people probably don’t even know what DVDs and CDs are.

book exchange

Despite my anti-hoarding / offloading drive, it was also nice to look round the charity shops near to where Dave’s mum lives – my mum loved it particularly buying some new secondhand clothes. Indeed, I got a great new jacket and some t-shirts. Resisted the temptation to overspend even though it was going to good causes. In my old days I would have probably bought a pile of new books and DVDs.


Weight and Exercise

Stayed the same at just over 13 and a half stone. Clearly I have hit a new normal. Took advice of Dr Fung and skipped breakfast a couple of times. And I am trying to think how to eat less sugar and processed foods but more ‘real’ foods. But I do have to do more fasting and, as pointed out above, this will probably have to be at a time when I feel unstressed.

Weight scales

Fung dishes the idea that reduced calories and increased exercise reduce weight as he claims lower amounts of calories equals lower metabolism and the cause of obesity is insulin addiction. For me personally, lots of exercise does burn calories which must be good news and it gives great mental health benefits. Couple of long walks last week including one after a work day. But would love to be doing more exercise. Think it’s linked to my peripatetic nomad spirit.

Personal Development

Daily Duolingo lessons in German and Spanish are my new minimum. And I am continuing to use the Mimo app to practice coding. I am trying to understand more about Python which is one of the most popular coding languages currently. It’s certainly not about me becoming a developer but about understanding more of what is going on ‘under the bonnet’ when it comes to tech.

Art and Culture

Main cultural experience last week was going with Dave to a musical review on Sat afternoon followed by dinner at the UJC (our club LOL). Show was ‘Starting here, starting now’ at the lovely little Waterloo East Theatre – details here. A series of songs about relationships written in the 1970s. A 3 person show including Noel from Hearsay – he’s changed but haven’t we all! A nice matinee experience and Dave only had to nudge me once to wake me up. πŸ™‚

tunes in darkness



Week started with me, Dave, and my mum finishing our long weekend visiting Dave’s mum. A great weekend but Dave’s mum was too unwell to meet us on Mon morning to say ‘Goodbye’ at her favourite local cafe. πŸ™ She’s better now but the weekend was an emphasis to me and Dave how much frailer our parents are getting. In response I spent some extra time with my mum last week.



So ‘Books’ go from Red to Green and ‘Friends’ go from Green to Red over the space of a week. Is this coincidence or do you have to trade off time between one thing and another? ‘Friends’ moved to Red because there is nothing for last week like some of the link ups I have had in other recent weeks. Should have met up with my old work colleague Irene on Thurs but she is still ill. πŸ™

Did have my weekly catch up with Phyllis / Philip on Tues who was telling me about the heatwave they are experiencing on the Costa Del Sol. Despite the relaxing of regulations this week on travel to and from amber countries, me and Dave are still nervous about booking anything. πŸ™

hot hot hot

The Week Ahead

  • The joy of finishing books is that you can look forward to starting new ones. πŸ™‚ Have started a collection of Dr Who short stories, so comforting. πŸ™‚
  • Going to carry on with reading all the Social Change Lab applications and getting really familiar with them πŸ™‚
  • Looking forward to the launch of this year’s Charity Digital Skills report on Wed
  • Catch up with Phyllis and his heatwave. Irene pencilled in for Thurs if she feels better.
  • Can I put into action some more of the advice from Jason Fung’s book in order to lose weight? And looking forward to lots of walks for calorie burn, muscle building, and good mental health. πŸ™‚
  • Must continue with my daily Duolingo lessons and carry on with the Mimo app to practice coding
  • Need to watch some more movies

And Finally…

β€œWe don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

AnaΓ―s Nin

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