Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy by Frédéric Delavier, Jean-Pierre Clémenceau, Michael Gundill

Filed under:Sports — posted by Randolph on February 23, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

Delavier's Stretching Anatomy by Frédéric Delavier, Jean-Pierre Clémenceau, Michael Gundill

This book provides a large number of stretching exercises to work on flexibility, agility, and toning. I thought it interesting that the book was translated from French and only first published in 2010 (in Italy), given how many there are on stretching already.

The book gives a very strong first impression. Although in paper, it is on very good quality paper with a sewn binding. The images are of high quality, and the translation is done professionally, it is not readily apparent that the book is not originally done in English.

The book has three sections, an introduction to stretching that includes some basic anatomy, details of the stretches including anatomical drawings and varying difficulties, and last program suggestions.

The introduction talks about the value of stretching, how to breathe, risks, injuries, and such. It is the kind of stuff you find in a lot of exercise books.

The core of the book is in the stretch descriptions. Each stretch has a basic and advanced version. It starts with a basic description of the stretch and muscles. All of the stretches have a version that can be done alone, some include using a partner or some kind of equipment, such as a bench or ball. The stretches are described in good details so that it is clear what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish. They are accompanied by anatomical drawings that show the targeted muscles and includes labels for the different muscles.

The last section describes exercise programs. There are three generic programs, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Then includes expert programs that are tailored for a variety of sports.

Overall, I was very impressed with the book. However, there is one glaring omission. That is anything about the authors and why they are qualified to write such a book. They are easy to find on the internet, though.

Runes of the Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson

Filed under:Fantasy,Series,Thomas Covenant — posted by Randolph on February 6, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

Runes of the Earth by Stephen R. Donaldson

The Runes of the Earth is Stephen Donaldson’s continuation of the Thomas Covenant saga, a six-book series completed in the early 80s. After twenty years, he has returned to the series. Over a thousand years have passed in the Land, and ten have passed on Earth for Linden Avery, who will now continue Thomas’s quest to protect the Land.

With so much time between the books readers are apt to forget details, but Stephen Donaldson does a good job of refresh the reader’s memory through the narrative. Stories are recounted within the context of the current situation, and they serve to remind the reader of important details. There is also a glossary at the end that I found quite useful after well more than 20 years of having read the previous books.

The Land is under threat from Lord Foul again, and the efforts of its inhabitants are inadequate to do anything. Linden, bearing Thomas’s white gold, returns to the land and must understand the threat and address it. It is further complicated since her son, Jeremiah, was kidnapped on Earth, and born to the Land. For the first half of the book, Linden seems to wander and just allow things to happen to her; she is indecisive and seems confused.
Her doubts and inabilities reminded me very much of Thomas Covenant.

Jeremiah was taken by Roger Covenant, Thomas’s brother, to the Land. Roger, is somehow serving Lord Foul across the worlds and wants the white gold, he makes a play for it on Earth, then takes Jeremiah and the conflict to the Land.

Once in the Land, Linden realizes that she is willing to sacrifice the Land for the safety and rescue of her son, this knowledge complicates her abilities in the land as they foster distrust among its citizens. So, like many of Stephen Donaldson’s characters, she is deeply conflicted and full of doubts.

Her companions include Stave, a Haruchai, Liand, a local stonedowner, Anele, a man from the past, and a few Ramen. These characters are interesting and complex in a way that Stephen is fond of, and each have their own coflicts. His world is rich, it feels very normal, and still has unusual properties such as the healthsense that make it special.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace