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Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

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Here We Are: Notes for Living on the Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers explores the place each of holds in the wide world and the interconnectedness of the world in which we live. Jeffers starts with our place in the universe in a move that feels a bit reminiscent of Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot. Here We Are is about how vast and yet how small our world is. Jeffers brings together both the smallness and the largeness of existence in this simple yet engaging and informative picture book.



The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

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I bought The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen even before I adopted a plant-based diet because I was intrigued by the recipes in the book. I've made several of the very interesting recipes in The Conscious Cook. I rarely make the recipes in it anymore, but I keep this cookbook on my shelves and occasionally use it as a reference or for inspiration. As I sit here looking through the cookbook, I'm tempted to make some of the recipes again soon, adapted to fit my cooking style which doesn't include the oils and the highly processed foods he uses. Beyond even that, many of the recipes require ingredients I don't necessarily keep in the kitchen, so I'd need to shop for them. This is probably the main reason I don't use this cookbook as much as some of the others on my shelves. Many of the recipes are also quite involved and time consuming.  That said, the recipes I have tried all tasted delicious, so if you're willing to put in the time and effort, it's a cookbo…

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

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Someone I trust, I can't remember who, recommended I read On the Road by Jack Kerouac, so I bought a copy. I placed it in my to-be-read stack of books and went on my way. Eventually, I came to the book as I worked my way through the stack. To be honest, I moved it down in the pile a couple of times as other books appealed more to me in a given moment. Even after I started reading On the Road, I wasn't sure about it. Something didn't quite work for me at first. For pages and then chapters, I felt like I was missing some crucial element to the story, but I kept reading because it intrigued me and the writing style was interesting. That said, I never could figure out why any of the characters were so fascinated by Dean Moriarty. He came across as just another con man and I don't find con men the least bit charming, so I spent most of the book wishing the narrator, Sal, would wise up and get away from him and stay away from him. I came away from On the Road with one overwh…

I Know How You Feel : The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women's Lives by F. Diane Barth

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When I first saw I Know How You Feel: The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women's Lives by F. Diane Barth on the Amazon Vine Program page, I scrolled on past. I didn't think it applied to me. My friendships are... just fine. Then I started thinking about it and ended up back on the page ordering it. I'm so glad I did. While there wasn't all that much that I didn't know or hadn't surmised from my own life experience, Barth gave me a different perspective on what the knowledge and experience I had actually meant. Barth writes in a tone that feels a bit like having a conversation with a friend. She even includes a bit of friendly advice at the end of each chapter with her "what you can do" section. As I read I Know How You Feel, my thoughts traveled back over my entire life in an attempt to better understand all the friendships I've had with women over the years. Barth touches on the emotions, the actions, the beliefs, the expectations, and the t…

Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook by Del Sroufe

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Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook by Del Sroufe contains a wide variety of plant-based recipes that prove eating a plant-based diet can be satisfying. I've made many of the recipes in Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook and have enjoyed the vast majority of them.  Sroufe demonstrates techniques to make plant-based cooking accessible to anyone while keeping the recipes interesting. The vast diversity of these recipes provides something to tease just about any taste bud. The simplicity of the recipes makes Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook great for those with little to no cooking experience while still containing recipes that will appeal to experienced cooks. I'd highly recommend Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook for anyone interested in trying a plant-based diet or even those who just enjoy trying out different methods of cooking.

No Justice: One White Police Officer, One Black Family, and How One Bullet Ripped Us Apart by Robbie Tolan and Lawrence Ross

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No Justice: One White Police Officer, One Black Family, and How One Bullet Ripped Us Apart by Robbie Tolan and Lawrence Ross gripped my attention from the first page. It's the true story of Tolan surviving being shot by the police, his healing journey, and his attempts to find justice. Tolan and Ross tell the story like they're sitting in the room with the reader. They speak directly to the reader in Tolan's voice explaining his experience, his reactions, his perspective. He's honest about his anger, depression, and hope. He doesn't hold back about where his family had privileges poorer families might not have due to his father's baseball career as well as his own. He also explains how those privileges didn't protect him when he faced the police who accused him of stealing his own car in front of his own house. No Justice demonstrates how the court system, criminal and civil, works and doesn't work for those who are forced to participate in it. Tolan…

Creative Knowing: 50 Self-Reflection Questions for Women by Christina Katz

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I finally decided to work through Creative Knowing: 50 Self-Reflection Questions for Women by Christina Katz recently. I thought it would make for a nice daily writing exercise, since I'm editing a book right now. I didn't think of it much in terms of "self-reflection" when I started. As I worked through the questions, I had a variety of reactions. You can read about my reaction to the initial set of questions in my blog post, Favorites... Shmavorites. Some questions were easy to answer, others provoked an emotional reaction, still others made me think. Some of the questions made me smile. Others irritated me. Still others inspired me. And then there were those that felt mundane. I felt a resistance rise from time to time as I pondered answering a question. Sometimes that resistance came from my own reluctance to explore the topic. Other times it was because I found the question presumptive when I didn't see how it applied to me. Initially, I was reluctant to eve…