Andrea’s Book Club
What I’m Reading Now
I know ... I am behind the times. Much like when I discovered “Harry Potter” after four books had already been released, I have recently discovered the Cormoran Strike novels. Once I picked up “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith, I could not put it down. The same happened for the second book in the trilogy, “The Silkworm.” I am now nearly finished with the third book in the series, “Career of Evil.” What attracted this bookworm to pick up these novels? It was a friend’s recommendation, of course. As a literature major and avid reader, I am always looking for the next good book, even if it is not newly published. There are so many great books, making it is easy to miss some gems as they are released to fanfare before fading in our memories. It is no longer a secret that Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. I initially avoided “The Cuckoo’s Calling” because I read “The Casual Vacancy” by J.K. Rowling and didn’t like it. I wrongly assumed that J.K. Rowling was a one-trick pony. Perhaps her literary genius was confined to the walls of Hogwarts. But I was wrong. In short, these are fantastic detective novels. The books are crime fiction at its best. From investigating a dead supermodel to a quirky novelist, with a war veteran and a bit of romance, these books have it all. They are fast reads with a likable narrator. Each one is a whodunit to the end. Critically acclaimed and selected by National Public Radio as one of the best books of the year, I suggest you buy or borrow “The Cuckoo’s Calling” immediately. And once you have fallen in love with Detective Cormoran Strike’s latest adventures, there is good news on the horizon for both you and me: Late last year, Galbraith (Rowling) published a fourth book in the series. Sometimes it pays off to be late to the party. If you haven’t already, check out the latest in the series, “Lethal White.” I know I will.
FAST FACTS ABOUT HICCUPS
Everyone knows the feeling of impending dread that arises when a hiccup first escapes your throat. While hiccups usually go away on their own within a few minutes, they can interfere with eating and talking in a frustrating way. As a result, many people have come up with creative tricks to get rid of them. With common solutions like having a friend scare you or eating a heaping spoonful of sugar, how can you tell which of these remedies actually works? Hiccups occur when your diaphragm — a thin muscle in your chest that assists with breathing — spasms involuntarily, causing you to suddenly inhale. When this happens, your vocal cords snap shut, resulting in the hiccup’s distinctive guttural sound. While many household remedies are supported by centuries of anecdotal evidence, only a handful of studies have evaluated their effectiveness. Here are three natural methods backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BREATHING While there are countless remedies that involve holding your breath, only one is encouraged by the CDC. Place a paper bag over your nose and mouth and breathe in and out deeply and slowly. This increases the carbon dioxide levels in your blood, which is thought to calm nerves and relax the diaphragm. PRESSURE POINTS Applying pressure to certain points on your body may relax your diaphragm or stimulate your vagus and phrenic nerves. The CDC recommends gently pulling your tongue forward once or twice to stimulate the nerves and muscles in your throat. If that doesn’t help, you can try plugging both your nostrils and ears while simultaneously drinking a glass of water. EATING AND DRINKING Some remedies include ingesting strange products through even stranger means, but only a few food- or drink-based remedies are actually touted by experts. While your favorite uncle might argue that a tablespoon of mustard, honey, or peanut butter does the trick, the CDC suggests that you gargle with iced water, suck on a thin slice of lemon, or drink an entire glass of warm water very slowly without breathing. Similar to the pressure point remedies, these methods are thought to relax your diaphragmatic nerves. While everyone seems to have a tried-and-true method they swear by, the next time you’re plagued with the hiccups, perhaps you should consider one of the CDC’s official solutions.
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