Barbara McIntyre

“There’s no cool way to lose weight,” Martin Cizmar’s girlfriend told him. But he was unwilling to pay to join a chatty club and contribute to the $60 billion weight-loss industry.

In his quest to remain hip, Cizmar invented the “Least Awful Diet Plan of All Time”: the Chubster plan. In Chubster: A Hipster’s Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool, Cizmar, a Tallmadge native and University of Akron alumnus, tells how he lost 100 pounds in eight months.

After determining which variety of hipster you are (Music Snob Hipster, Nerdy Bookworm Hipster), Cizmar gets down to the plan. It involves old-fashioned calorie counting, forthright evaluation of frozen pizzas and other low-calorie meals, fast-food recommendations and warnings, drinking (Chubster approves), working out “without looking like a tool” and how to avoid being annoying and preachy while losing weight.

Chubster is not a weight-loss diary; Cizmar doesn’t give too many details on his own experience, but the before-and-after photos of the author on the back cover are very impressive. He has sharp words for Weight Watchers, Burger King and Morgan “Super Size Me” Spurlock.

Chubster (227 pages, softcover) costs $13.95 from Mariner Books. Cizmar, once a student correspondent for the Beacon Journal, now is the arts and culture editor at the Willamette Week newspaper in Oregon.

Photos of Portage Lakes and Stow

Portage Lakes resident Carolyn Vogenitz and Beth E. Daugherty of Stow have added entries in the “Images of America” pictorial series from New Hampshire-based Arcadia Publishing. The series combines black-and-white historical photos with annotation, divided into sections that describe the history of and life in a town or neighborhood.

Portage Lakes begins with photos of some of the statues erected to honor the Native Americans who used the area to portage between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers. Pictures of the early summer cottages, carefree boaters and swimmers in old-timey garb and all too many classic structures lost to fire are included.

Stow and Munroe Falls, which Daugherty produced on behalf of the Stow-Munroe Falls Library, begins with an introduction to town elders Joshua Stow and Silas Wetmore, and a map showing the village’s name, then in Portage County, as “Monroe Falls.” Here, too, are many homes and businesses that are no more, and evidence of the area’s past as a center of maple sugaring. The Stow Independence Day parade is well represented, with fire engines, a beauty queen in a convertible and the Stow High School band.

Each book is 127 pages and costs $21.99.

Civil War narrative reprinted

The Kent State University Press has published a facsimile version of The Story of a Thousand, the history of the 105th Ohio Volunteer Infantry by one of its notable members, Albion W. Tourgée. The lawyer and abolitionist, who was best known as attorney for the black plaintiffs in the Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” case, and who also wrote reconstruction-themed novels, wrote The Story of a Thousand in 1896 at the request of his former comrades who had known him as a first lieutenant.

The book gives an account of the 105th from its mustering in at Camp Taylor in Cleveland in August 1862, through the battles of Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and Atlanta, the march to the sea in November 1864, to its arrival in Cleveland in June 1865 for discharge, after three years and nine months of service. Tourgée takes care to point out that the regiment did not have access to any form of transportation, having “marched all the way,” more than 3000 miles through seven states.

The Story of a Thousand (524 pages, hardcover) costs $59 and is edited by University of Virginia Civil War scholar Peter C. Luebke.



Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights) — Former Beacon Journal writer Regina Brett talks about Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible, 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday; Michelle O’Neil signs her memoir Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar, 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Old Whedon Grille (200 N. Main St., Hudson) — Bill Rapp, author of Burning Altars, third in his series about private eye Bill Haberman, joins the Learned Owl-sponsored Book Club in a Bar (in his blog, Rapp credits the Learned Owl as being the first bookstore to host a signing), 7 p.m. Thursday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Olmsted branch, 24703 Lorain Road) — Regina Brett talks about Be the Miracle, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Registration required; call 440-777-6211.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Ed Novak, author of the enjoyable nonfiction fishing memoir Meet Me at the Net: Stories from Steelhead Alley, discusses and signs his book at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Twinsburg Public Library (10050 Ravenna Road) — Deanna Adams, author of Rock ’n’ Roll and the Cleveland Connection and Cleveland’s Rock ’n’ Roll Roots, talks about the city’s music history, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Limited seating and registration required; call 330-325-4268.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Berea branch, 7 Berea Commons) — TV meteorologist Dick Goddard talks about his 50-year career and signs Six Inches of Partly Cloudy: Cleveland’s Legendary TV Meteorologist Takes on Everything, and More, 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration required; call 440-234-5475.

Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Jack Ricchiuto signs The Joy of Thriving, 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

— Barbara McIntyre

Special to the Beacon Journal

Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.