A new year for me isn’t about resolutions.  More like, I can now dive into all the books I loaded-up on over the holidays!

And on my bed side table, you’ll find everything from juicy mysteries and autobiographies, to ‘self-help’ stuff.  Can you forgive a girl for bowing at the throne of Louise Hay? I think not!

Which brings me to a few recent reads I just have to share.  While one’s a bit sad and another kind of fun, there’s one that’s keeping me and my highlighter busy. Its words and information (I’m referring to How Not to Die) are THAT good.

Read on!

Promise Me Dad, by Joe Biden

It’s a tear-jerker alright, so prepare accordingly.  Many of us are familiar with Joe Biden and losing his son Beau to a rare form of brain cancer.  But to read about the experience from Joe directly is a whole other story.  In it, he chronicles the duality of his role as Vice President, traveling the world, while dealing with the devastating thoughts of no longer having his son alive.

But true to character, Biden did what Beau asked from the onset: To “give me your word, that no matter what happens, you’re going to be alright.”

With these words leading his way, Biden has found healing and comfort, knowing his son’s wishes are not only being fulfilled, but by sharing his story, he’s able to help others who have lost a loved one find strength and hope during their darkest days.

Sisters First: Tales from our Wild and Wonderful Life, by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush

Like the Biden pick, this one is by politically rooted authors – but it’s not about politics.   More like an interesting tale of being born into a political dynasty and growing up in the public eye.  Heck, I remember when these girls were so young! And what growing years they faced under such tight scrutiny.  Whether you’re a George Bush fan or not, they’ve matured into well-adjusted, intelligent and bright women, both with families and careers to be proud of.

 As a Mum to two young girls, I love this kind of story-telling. Add the parts about the letters they left for Obama’s daughters, and well, you’ve got me double-times-over, loving.

How Not to Die, by Dr. Michael Greger

Whenever I hear or read about a doctor recommending drinking herbal tea for example, versus taking a drug for health reasons, you’re guaranteed my attention! When backed by credible research and shared from a leading nutrition expert, such as Dr. Michael Greger, founder of NutritionFacts.org – and you’ve really got me glued!

Such is this book, How Not to Die.

 Quoting the book’s summary, Dr. Gregor examines the fifteen top causes of premature death in America, including heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and more–and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches to help prevent and reverse these diseases, freeing us to live healthier lives.

The simple truth is that most doctors are good at treating acute illnesses but bad at preventing chronic disease. By following Dr. Greger’s advice, all of it backed up by strong scientific evidence, you will learn which foods to eat and which lifestyle changes to make to live longer.

History of prostate cancer in your family? Put down that glass of milk and add flaxseed to your diet whenever you can. Have high blood pressure? Hibiscus tea can work better than a leading hypertensive drug-and without the side effects. Fighting off liver disease? Drinking coffee can reduce liver inflammation. Battling breast cancer? Consuming soy is associated with prolonged survival. And my favourite, worried about heart disease (still the # 1 killer in the U.S)? Switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which has been repeatedly shown not just to prevent the disease but often stop it in its tracks.

In addition to showing what to eat to help treat the top fifteen causes of death, How Not to Die includes Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen -a checklist of the twelve foods we should consume every day. Full of practical, actionable advice and surprising, cutting edge nutritional science, these doctor’s orders are just what we need to live longer, healthier lives!