Summer List 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's almost summer and it's time for me to write a short list for this summer's reads. I sound like I do this every year, but this is actually the first year that I'm doing it.

I feel like I have an image of people reading books in the summer at the beach or in their backyard (something I don't do) and so I feel compelled to make this PSA. (Bear with me!)

School's out for many people and since the weather's always warmer and nicer in the summer, people flock to the beach or if they don't have a nearby beach, they flock to tanning salons to achieve a nice, bronze look. Before I say anything else, this is not a PSA for anti-tanning salons. We've had enough of that already in the media (but guys, tanning salons are bad for you so please don't go).

Skin cancer is something personal  to me and I think there's a stigma of "Not me" going around. When people get into the college of their choice, have they thought "not me" when they were applying? Hell, yeah. When people crash their car, did they believe "not me" before? Yeah. Before this turns into a super-preachy post, let me get to my point.

1. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer.
2. Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.

So I'm proud to announce that with the Skin Cancer Foundation  joking, I'm not that famous, it's just an alice-jane thing, please put on your sunscreen. I would probably add some language in there that's not appropriate for PG movies because this issue of people not putting on sunscreen gets me so annoyed.

In all honesty, I'm surprised that the mom that has a leather face from tanning hasn't gotten skin cancer yet. I'm pretty sure people with that amount of UV exposure would've gotten skin cancer ages ago.

Mom gone on the extreme on tanning...

If you really want to stay outdoors, please put on some suncreen.

1. Make sure your sunscreen is a broad spectrum sunscreen.

There's actually two types of sunscreen, sunscreen and sunblock. Sunblock is gives the wearer a physical barrier against UV radiation, in the form of various metals, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Sunscreen on the other hand, is a chemical barrier against UV rays. Some common ingredients are avobenzone and octocrylene.

What broad spectrum sunscreen means is that there's essentially, a "broad spectrum" of protection. If you think of sun protecting ingredients as a bunch of umbrellas then broad spectrum is a bunch of overlapping umbrellas that give you the most protection.

I personally use La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 40 with Mexoryl SX. It's really pricey in terms of a sunscreen (around $30) but if you're sun sensitive, it's the product for you. Here's a diagram by La Roche Posay about the protection coverage.

A quick note about Mexoryl SX: It was developed by L'Oreal and used in Europe for a long time before it was FDA approved, about 3-4 years ago. Lancome used to make a daily moisturizer (SPF 20) with Mexoryl SX in it, but they've since discontinued it. 

2. Your sunscreen/sunblock should be at least SPF 20.

Sorry to burst your bubble on this one, but that foundation you're using with SPF 15? Not that useful. It's just to make you think that you're doing something for your skin. 

People who put make up on, there's good news! I've read some articles on sunscreen you can apply over your makeup without ruining everything. Not really sure how it works because it didn't interest me at the time, but... hey, it's out there!

3. Sunscreen or sunblock? 

I'd say both. Don't quote me on that one because I'm not a dermatologist, but really, try to get both. Most sunscreens on the market are chemical barrier sunscreens. There are some that are mineral based sunscreens (Aveeno... etc. Stores like Whole Foods Market carries a lot of mineral based sunscreens.)

I see the worry over chemical barrier sunscreens because there is reasonable doubt that so many chemicals can do damage to the skin, but on the other hand, so can UV rays. You have to weigh the two. If you're really worried, there's a site called Skin Deep which tells you among other things, how safe your sunscreen is.


That was the end of my PSA on sunscreen and sun protection. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment me or contact me! 

Anyways, here's my summer book list.

I just blogged about this, but this is the book. It's a pity it's being published stateside in August, but hey, it's still the summer!

 The main character, Jamie, has just recently moved to the English countryside from London to have a new beginning of sorts. His parents can't get over the fact that his sister died in a terrorist attack and his mom has since moved out of the house. Jamie's dad on the other hand, keeps the ashes of Jamie's sister on the mantelpiece as a reminder of what happened. Needless to say, this family is a little disjointed. Jamie's trying to get used to his new home and he's made a friend, but what will happen when Jamie's dad realizes Jamie's new friend is a Muslim?

2. A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming

Haven't blogged about this book yet, but will soon. It's also being published stateside in August (originally published in the UK also). 

A bunch of weird things happen (an elderly couple is brutually murdered on a vacation gone wrong, an accountant goes missing, and the first female M16 Chief disappears) but first everything all comes down to the M16 Chief. Former M16 officer Thomas Kell is sent to discover what happened to the female Chief, but what he discovers blows his mind away and is bigger than what he thought it would be. (In the end, there's something connecting all of these incidents.) It's wonderfully fast-paced and has a lot of action.

3. A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama

The summary of this book already intrigued me from the start. I'm a total history nerd and I have an interest in Chinese history, so this satisfied both. (I will also write a detailed post on this book later)

The novel is set in during the Cultural Revolution in China, and Sheng, becomes imprisoned by the Communist government for speaking out. Chairman Mao once said, "Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred of schools of thought  contend" but it was all a trap. The novel details the hardships and obstacles that Sheng's family has to go through to find a little piece of hope in the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. 

Happy summer and happy reading! Don't forget your sunscreen!


I'll probably update this list as I read more books.

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