Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The How Not to Die Cookbook by Michael Greger, M. D. FACLM with Gene Stone

The How Not to Die Cookbook by Michael Greger with Gene Stone offers a plethora of plant-based recipes that are easy and interesting. Greger makes the recipes accessible even for those who aren't adventurous cooks. While he does include some ingredients that might be unfamiliar to some, they are relatively easy to find. In addition, The How Not to Die Cookbook includes a handy guide to tell you which items on Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen from How Not to Die, you can mark off after eating it. I've only made a few recipes from The How Not to Die Cookbook thus far, but all have been successful and delightful. I look forward to making many more of the recipes in this cookbook. For those who find cooking plant-based meals overwhelming, this cookbook simplifies it in a reassuring manner. I've shared some of these recipes with several people who don't eat a plant-based diet who were surprised at how tasty the dishes were. The How Not to Die Cookbook is a great addition to any cookbook collection regardless of how one chooses to eat

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Flavors from Home by Aimee Zaring

I won a copy of Flavors from Home by Aimee Zaring in a contest sponsored by the publisher, The University Press of Kentucky. I very much enjoyed reading the stories of the refugees in Flavors from Home. Zaring told their stories in an engaging, compassionate, and fair way. While at times, Zaring seems to lean a little heavily on how much the refugees appreciate their new lives in America, she also presents the refugees as productive members of society.  She tops each refugees story with a recipe from their homeland. As a vegan, I can't imagine eating, let alone fixing, most of the recipes in this book, but there are a few I will likely adapt to vegan recipes, or at least try to. The refugees' life stories and their relationship to the food of their homelands reminded me just how intricately food is woven into our identities. Flavors from Home demonstrates the power of food to bridge the divide between people turning strangers into friends and friends into family.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Courting Disaster: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence

Courting Disaster: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence stays true to the cozy mystery format giving Angie a mystery to solve while obsessing and stressing over the details of the engagement party her mother is planning without Angie's input. Her fear over the party not being perfect leads her to try to find out what's happening with the party creating as much a mystery for the reader as the connection between the murder that takes place, the mother and baby who find their way into her neighbor's, and therefore her, life, and the criminal behavior they uncover putting them all in danger. Courting Disaster mixes humor, food, mystery, and a set of unfortunate circumstances to keep the reader intrigued.

Red Cape Capers: Playful Backyard Meditations by Linda Varsell Smith

Red Cape Capers: Playful Backyard Meditations by Linda Varsell Smith is filled with thoughts on meditating and the struggle it can be to meditate. Varsell's poetry paints a picture of her backyard, her mother's red cape, and her attempts to meditate that draw the reader right into the experiences she shares as well as her ruminations on life and life events. Red Cape Capers is vivid and enchanting at times while thought-provoking and uncomfortable at others. 

Available at Lulu.com.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling for Positivity Balance, and Joy by Moorea Seal

I ordered 52 Lists for Happiness: Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity Balance and Joy by Moorea Seal because I enjoyed her The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration. I wanted to keep exploring this idea of a weekly guided journal. 52 Lists for Happiness took on a different tenor for me though. I opted to do the lists every Sunday because I felt it would be a good way to start off the week. I had some struggles this year that sometimes made the lists hard to write and other times the lists cheered me up. Focusing on simple moments of happiness gave me an opportunity to remember the good in my life no matter what happened in the world around me.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Native Son by Richard Wright

Native Son by Richard Wright pulled me in and refused to let go. I started reading thinking this would be just another novel, just another story, but I soon found myself questioning my reactions, my attitude, and my beliefs. I found it oddly relevant to today's world in a way that made me sad. I had to remind myself multiple times that the book was originally published in 1940. Wright dropped me into Bigger Thomas's heart and mind even when I didn't want to be. Bigger's fear permeated the pages and wafted up from the words. His rage ran as an undercurrent throughout the book. The intensity with with Wright tells the story is at times uncomfortable but still engaging and intriguing. Native Son does little to elicit sympathy or even compassion from the reader though it does push the reader to examine the norms of society and the justice system when the book was written as well as those of the present.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Remarkable Oregon Women: Revolutionaries & Visionaries by Jennifer Chambers

Remarkable Oregon Women: Revolutionaries & Visionaries by Jennifer Chambers offers a snapshot into the history of the role of women in Oregon's history. Chambers provides enough information about each woman mentioned to spark an interest in learning more even providing sources for further reading. Remarkable Oregon Women is an interesting book that reminds the reader that women have always played an important role in the progress of society even when they've been stymied or their efforts have been hidden by history.