Writer's Block

Anatomy 101 AT Joseph-Beth

Lint needs its due, and author MICHAEL SIMS cleans it all out with his book, ADAM'S NAVEL. But Sims doesn't limit himself merely to the belly button. Virtually every body part is stroked as Sims probes through "A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form," the book's operational subtitle, which he will dissect with an appearance at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Far from a course in Anatomy 101, Sims slices open the influence our organs, appendages and facial features have wielded throughout time. Despite its '60s retro-chic illustrated cover, Adam's Navel evolves in its relevance for an easily understood yet fascinating tour of the body electric. Among the digestible tidbits, famed illusionist Houdini's success rested, in part, on his toes. In the 1920s in particular, Caucasians sought lip-reduction therapy so to dissuade any questioning of Ethiopian heritage. And, making sure no private part goes untouched, male baboons traditionally greet one another with a firm grip on the other's penis. Sims' fast and furious Slim Goodbody approach fleshes out the skeleton in delightfully intriguing contexts. Body beautiful, indeed. 513-396-8960 ...

Oh, dem bones! GILLIAN SANSON cracks the brittle MYTH OF OSTEOPOROSIS during a Literary Lunch at the Mercantile Library at noon Friday. The author's astonishing claim? That widely believed information on the disease is actually misleading or wrong, leading to questionable diagnoses and unnecessary treatments. More frightening? The facts Sanson uncovered playing medical detective in an effort to educate herself on her teenage daughter's condition. 513-621-0717 ...

SHARON DRAPER has her own distinction, having been named National Teacher of the Year in 1997. Now the Walnut Hills High teacher turned author is bracing herself for THE BATTLE OF JERICHO. Geared toward grades 7-10, this novel offers an important and early lesson in the hazards of hazing as Jericho and Josh face the repercussions as they strive to brand themselves Warriors of Distinction. Parents concerned about the unsettling story could find a valuable tool against a humiliating, dangerous and still-too-prevalent tradition. Through her words, Draper educates, not condescends. She's the bravewarrior whose unflinching exploration of what it means to be a teenagerconfirms her honored and honorabledistinction.

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