The Road to Wellville by T.C. Boyle
This is a novel about John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of cornflakes. The story’s fictional, but there’s a lot of interesting history about the sometimes weird health crazes of the early 1900s, from which came the entire idea of breakfast cereal. Kellogg owned a health spa in Battle Creek, Michigan, where people came to eat vegetarian diets and do bizarre exercises, including “laughing exercises,” where everyone stood around and laughed without anything being funny. He was uncompromising, fanatical, and dictatorial, and Boyle's writing is funny and clever and, as usual, a little disconcerting (or a lot). Definitely an interesting read.