for those who are in or around sane

Monday, May 5

april books

a little less late for you this month... happy cinqo de mayo!

in april i tried to catch up on my new yorkers, with little visible accomplishment. i have about 4 back issues to go through, including one with a piece by jeffery eugenides (author of middlesex - a previously reviewed book by moi) that i'm rather excited about. with all of this literature delivered fresh to my door every wednesday, it's hard to keep up with my regular reading.

regardless, i have a few picks for april:

the other boleyn girl by phillipa gregory
book club book! over roasted chicken and corned beef w/ root veggies (and wine and vodka), we discussed, hashed and laughed over the story of anne and mary boleyn's relationship with king henry viii. good book club book because it's got a lot of sex in it, some actual romance, some good plot twists, historical costumes and a story we have all heard at one point or another in our lives that is fun to put a spin on. it's NOT a good book club book if you only have a month to read it: it's over 600 pages long. we gave ourselves almost 2 months to complete this tome.

i realize that this book isnt for history buffs - there are a lot of things that are brushed over or simply not addressed (anne boleyn's 6th finger on her one hand). but it was WAY better than the movie. it was very helpful to have eric bana's face in mind when i thought about henry viii, but scarlett johanson was just not the right role for mary boleyn and natalie portman overacted. oh well.

rilla of ingleside by l.m. montgomery
the LAST of the anne series... and quite possibly, a return to the quality storylines that i enjoyed in anne of green gables and anne of avonlea. rilla is anne's youngest and prettiest daughter - she's vain and carefree and enjoys the company of young folk. our plot thread is the great war, which canada enters a helluva lot earlier than the usa. some boys go, some hem & haw, some stay... some come back and some dont. through the war years rilla grows up - raising a war baby, organizing a war wedding and the junior red cross, gaining a love interest and growing into a fine young woman by war's end.

overall, a good ending to a great set of growing up books.

animal, vegetable, miracle by barbara kingsolver
one year in the life of a family who agrees to eat and live as localvores. kingsolver writes the bulk of the nonfiction, memior-style experiment. her husband includes essays that are chock-full of helpful and informative facts and benefits about eating locally grown food. her daughter contributes short nutritionally oriented essays complete with yummy-sounding recipes. the youngest daughter contributes to the book by being a main character as an active food producer: she starts an egg and chicken business (at the age of 8!).

i have to say, i'm inspired. i did plant a tiny garden of my own (of herbs, tomatoes and flowers (this is my experimental garden of which i'll blog more about later). i looked up the farmer's markets in both the city and near my office. i plan on using fresh organics where i can and buying locally when available. i know i wont be anywhere near as diligent as this family. kingsolver and her husband own a plot of land in fertile virginia and were able to grow and care for an extensive garden - producing about 80% of what they consumed for the year. i certainly will NOT be that person who owns chickens in the city. and i dont have the income to always shop at co-ops and whole foods. but animal, vegetable, miracle gave me a fresh, honest perspective on what one actually CAN do to be a greener person, a healthier person, a more-aware person. every little bit helps, and i highly recommend this book.

the text itself is funny and intriguing. kingsolver is an engaging storyteller and the essays are informative without being dry. i listened to this on audiobook, and the family narrates their corresponding parts, which i felt was a nice touch. check out their website for recipes and details and to just plain old GET INSPIRED.



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