Posts Tagged ‘ Zac Unger ’

To Read with Hot Cocoa: ‘Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye’ by Zac Unger

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Who doesn’t love polar bears? Author Zac Unger, father of three children, is kind of obsessed with them. He wrote the new book Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Artic’s Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth and Mini-Marshmallows.

Unger had me at mini-marshmallows. (Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye was one of my picks for 2013.) This hilarious and informative memoir follows Unger, a firefighter from California, on a journey to Churchill, Manitoba, population: 943. It’s a harsh place where one can easily freeze to death during a night time stroll. Or worse, you could be eaten by a big white mammal–this is the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World,’ after all.

He presents the rawness of the people there. “I like to go for walks, but it’s a little awkward to push the baby stroller and carry a shotgun at the same time,” says a Churchill housewife. (The shotgun is protection from the polars, just to be clear.) Upon arrival to this world-famous tourist and scientific research destination, Unger had the agenda to write that humans are doing bad things and killing off the bears. But surprising himself, he found two sides to the story. Our society may be callous and consumer-crazy (global warming! tourist invasion!), but he’s not sure if that’s really the problem. He found out that there are up to five times as many polars alive today as there were 40 years ago.

What’s the right answer? Unger lets the reader decide for herself, and that is really cool.

Most pressingly, I wanted to get inside his head. He took his three kids and wife to the Arctic?! Unger assures me that their time was well spent. He says, “It was definitely worth missing a few months of school for!” He went on to explain what his family will remember most: “Halloween, which requires that all trick-or-treaters be accompanied by armed guards in case of bear attack. Kids are prohibited from dressing as ghosts, brides, or anything else that’s all white so that there’s no confusion over who’s a bear and who isn’t.”

Cozy up to a fire and check out this funny, insightful wintry read. Fans of Wild, Into the Wild and other outdoorsy tomes will love Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye. 

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10 Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2013

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Bookworms will love the lineup of parenting memoirs and advice that are scheduled for release in 2013. I know I am. Here are the books I can’t wait to read in the New Year. Stay tuned for my write ups about them on this blog.

The Heavy: A Mother Daughter Memoir
by Dara-Lynn Weiss
Did you hear about the mom who put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet and wrote about it for Vogue? Author Dara Lynn-Weiss caused such a stir that she got a book deal. This memoir tells the story from start to finish–how the doctor labeled her little girl obese, and how this mother decided to take care of it. The book is supposed to be brutally honest, and Lynn-Weiss claims that her insights will help other parents in the same situation. (Jan. 15)

Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic’s Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows
by Zac Unger
In this memoir, one dad takes his family to Antarctica–Churchill, Manitoba to be exact. In the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” he examines a faraway place that’s one of Mother Nature’s last strongholds. A seasoned writer, he observes the human relationship with the great bears. And he took his wife and two kids there! (Jan. 29)

The Food Allergy Mama’s Easy, Fast Family Meals
by Kelly Rudnicki
The author runs the helpful and popular blog, The Food Allergy Mama, and she also wrote the companion book The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking BookShe has five kids, one with severe food allergies. All recipes are free of milk, butter, cheese, eggs and nuts. She uses easy-to-find, inexpensive ingredients to make dishes like oatmeal fudge bars. (Feb. 5)

The Secrets of Happy Families
by Bruce Feiler
Popular New York Times columnist and best-selling author promises another warm and helpful book. He often writes beautifully about religion (Walking the Bible), but this one focuses on innovative ways to connect as a family. He didn’t go to psychologists for advice but instead to Silicon Valley execs and folks on the set of Modern Family. Some of the surprising advice in this book will be to ditch the sex talk, don’t worry about family dinner and let your kids pick their own punishments. (Feb. 19)

The Still Point of the Turning World
by Emily Rapp
Rapp’s books (Poster Child) and articles are beautiful to read, but her piece in the New York Times called Notes from a Dragon Mom was particularly heartbreaking. In it, she writes about the short life of her young son Ronan who is diagnosed with Tay-Sachs. In her trademark way, she gently takes readers on her family’s difficult journey. (March 7)

French Twist: An American Mom’s Experiment in Parisian Parenting
by Catherine Crawford
For readers who were into in the controversial book Bringing Up Bebe, this book offers another intimate look into the secrets of French parenting. Instead of going to Paris to immerse her family in French ways, the author brings French attitudes to Brooklyn. She writes about her European hands-off approach and how it worked magnificently–most of the time–with her two kids. Now they eat lamb chops! (March 12)

Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives
by John Elder Robison
Diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 40, this dad writes about the adventures he has raising his son Cubby. Irreverent, hilarious and a little dark, this book is gives readers an inside look at what it’s like to be a person on the autism spectrum. He hopes to inspire his readers to embrace and celebrate misfits and geeks. If you’ve seen or read Running with Scissors, you might have met John–he is Augusten Burroughs’ brother. (March 12)

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures
by Amber Dusik
Hiliarious Parents’ writer Dusik finally gets to crack readers up with her own parenting book, and yes, the pictures are really bad. She’s a popular blogger, but in this book she delves into life with kids while sharing stories. Silly ones like the time her child asked if clowns will throw pies at her at the circus. She’s aiming for a funny run of stories and essays along the lines of Jenny Lawson’s Let Pretend this Never Happened. (March 19)

The Object of My Conception
by Elisabeth Rohm
Rohm, best known for her role on Law and Order, blogged about her infertility for People.com, and she was overwhelmed by the positive responses from women who were going through the same thing. In her memoir, she tells the story of her fertility issues, her IVF treatments and her successful journey into motherhood. (April 9)

Learning to Listen: A Life Caring for Children
by T. Berry Brazelton
Fans of this caring and famous pediatrician will be interested in the story of his life. From growing up in Texas to heading to Princeton and Harvard to diving into research on newborn babies, this book tells the story of a great man in his own words. You probably know his seminal book Touchstones, a handbook for all parents of babies from birth to age 3. (April 9)

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