Earth Day Every Day 2014 – Part One

April 13, 2014 at 1:27 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Spring time… the sun is out, the animals are about, it’s time for spring cleaning and for our family to start hitting the trails every day again. It also means April is here, and so my environmental awareness is in high gear. Earth Day and Arbor Day means Earth Day events at the bookstores and local libraries. It also means I start seeing my favorite color (green) plastered all over displays, and books with pretty leafy covers come out of the woodwork.  Thus begins the Earth Day reading highlight reel.

The Green BookTitle: The Green Book

Authors: Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen

Publisher: Three Rivers Press

Genre: Nature – Environmental Conservation & Protection

Length: 201 pages

This is a handy little book that is easy to read and full of celebrity pep talks for going green. The writers have pointed out a lot of easy to remember ways to readjust your existing lifestyle to recycle more and waste less. I liked it.

It was published in 2007, so some of the information feels a little outdated.  It also gets a little repetitive for those who have the ability to apply one concept to multiple aspects of their life, but it’s a good little book nonetheless.

My favorite tidbit from this book – being a cyclist – is this:

“Try to recycle your old bicycle tires and inner tubes instead of throwing them away. You’ll prevent about two pounds of rubber from being landfilled and may help provide materials for a new handbag, a pair of hiking boots, or even a bike path itself. If one in fourteen American cyclists were to recycle his or her bicycle tires each year, the rubber saved could pave the current route of the Tour de France.”

Worth checking out from the library or downloading to an e-reader.  The only time I could see wanting a physical copy would be for your child’s library – and even the authors think you should buy these books used.

joel-robinson-surreal-photography-7This photograph is a Joel Robison piece.  I love all his work, it has been awhile since I’ve shared it, though.  However, some of his earthy pieces seem extremely appropriate this time of year as we’re reminded to enjoy our world and treat it kindly.  Click the image to visit his blog.

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April Events 2014!

April 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The month of April is full of Earth Day celebrations. More specifically, S. Smith, author of a dystopian young adult series that I can’t seem to rave enough about, has planned a trip to Texas from Oregon!  I’m so excited!

Earth Day 2014 024 revised

Earth Day GBitW(1)

Earth Day 2014 revisedShe will also be at the Montrose HPB (hpb.com/011) on Saturday, April 19th, 6pm-9pm.

Then she’ll be making rounds in San Antonio, Austin, and finally Dallas!  Check out her website for more details on events in those cities: http://authorssmith.com/book-news-and-events/

seed savers book marketingAlso, although I am based out of Houston, this is a Dallas event that I support with all my heart and would love to attend if I were able:

Deep Ellum Karyna

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April 2013 Events

March 22, 2013 at 7:42 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In addition to Book Club (first Monday of the Month) and Poetry Night (first Thursday of the Month), this is what’s going on at Half Price Books Humble in April. Keep checking back, there may be more to come!
Journaling 2ndthurscoloring contest 2013Earth Day with MercerEarth Day 2013Chris RogersMary Reason Theriot April

Martin Epi Raffle

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The Series I Couldn’t Finish

December 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

wicked-years

The Wicked Years

I genuinely enjoyed Wicked.  I read it a few years ago when there were about a hundred copies floating around in the fiction section I was running.  As a bookseller, if I see a dozen of something, I take it home and read it so I can tell my customers about it.  You can’t sell a book you know nothing about, right?  And Wicked was neat. I thought it was so neat, I added it to the list of things to do with my daughter when she’s older… a month of Oz: Read the original Wizard of Oz, watch Judy Garland sing and be awesome in the old movie, read Wicked together, go see the musical, and so on.

I pumped the series during an Earth Day event too: Go Green with the Wicked Witch of the West!  I thought I was being cute, most of my co-workers just thought I was being weird.  I’m ok with that.

Then, I read book two: Son of a Witch.  I struggled, plodded, and pulled hair through it.  Three quarters of the way through the book I realized that I didn’t really care for the story, Maguire’s intricate world no longer resembled Oz in any way except in name, and frankly I was bored.  I was reading for the sake of the series.

I bought Lion Among Men off a clearance table at Barnes & Noble when it was still a current publication.  I had the first two in hardback, it only seemed appropriate to be complete.  Besides, a lot of series have a saggy middle and then perk up quite nicely in the end.  I was under the false impression that this was going to be a nice little wrap up for a trilogy.  Still, I was unmotivated to read it.  It sat on my shelf for a couple of years, all crisp, shiny, and new.  I read the first 5 pages about a half-dozen times and put it back.

At the beginning of 2012 I set some reading goals for myself.  I do this every year.  I typically decide that I should read anywhere between 60 and 80 books a year, but steadily hit in the 70 to 75 range (except for the year I was pregnant).  This year, I was overzealous and was shooting for 80 or more, I am currently reading my 70th title if you don’t include children’s picture books, which I don’t, and clearly not going to read 10  books by the end of the month.  With these goals, come little notes to read through x amount of already owned titles, or to finish such and such series.  Lion Among Men fell into both of these notes, so creeping on December I gave myself the final push and said, “It’s now or never.”

I checked it out from the library on audio, thinking it would be an easy thing to listen to while doing chores.  Kill multiple birds with one stone and all that.

Despite John McDonough’s excellent reading voice, ah I could die listening to that wonderful voice, I have yet to finish the book.  And, I will be turning the audio book back into the library having listened to the first disc in the course of a month.

Sadly, The Wicked Years is just not for me.  I don’t feel it in my bones, I am not enraptured in its essence and all those other over the top feelings I get when I am enthralled with a series.  Simply put, if I were to ever finish this series (which, by the way, has a 4th book too!), it would be by the sheer force of my insane will to get things done.  I don’t care about it that much to be that willful.

This is a series that shall remain unfinished.

Do you have a series of books like that in your life? Talk to me.

What series have you read lately that you simply could not have lived without?

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Even More Earth Day Excitement with Ian Somerhalder

April 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , )

As I’ve previously mentioned, working for Half Price Books over the years has made me very Earth Day conscious.  Even more than that, its made me even more Earth Day Every Day aware.  In additon to that, its made me pay a little more attention to the world around me, more specifically pop culture.  Kids are reading Vampire Diaries? See what they’re filling their minds with and what you can offer them if there aren’t any copies to sell.  Oh, the fad is being turned into a show? Check it out and see if its any good.  Maintaining a book blog and networking with Twitter? Be sure you’re following people who have the same interests as you.

All of these scenarios led me to following Ian Somerhalder on Twitter.  I’m not a huge fan being THAT fan, unless of course its of a writer.  I have plenty of author love for people like Tanya Egan Gibson and Jane Austen, but if you haven’t noticed the latter is dead and the former is a bit too sweet and humble to be basking in worldwide limelight any time soon.  (That being said, you should totally go buy her book How To Buy a Love of Reading.)  But joining a hero worship bandwagon of an actor is not usually my deal.  Yet, Ian Somerhalder just has a way of keeping you hooked…

1. He’s an amazing actor.  So amazing that in Rules of Attraction, my husband and I really thought he was gay in real life.  And despite his gorgeous face, I completely forgot about him being pretty in Lost.

2. He does cool things with his money.  He loves the environment and the world and has set up a foundation called IS Foundation. No naturalist, environmentalist, earth day extraordinaire could deny that this is a pretty cool thing for someone to do: http://www.isfoundation.com/.

3. He’s from the South. Being a Texan, I fully appreciate one’s dedication to his/her roots, even more so if those roots were once part of the Confederacy.

4. He runs a family business with his brother.  I love small businesses, and though this business probably wont stay small because Ian Somerhalder is already famous, I love the idea behind it…

And that brings us to what this little article is really about: BOB… Built of Barnwood.

Ian Somerhalder and his brother started a business in Mississippi creating accent pieces, furniture, and all sorts of other artsy crafts out of reclaimed barn wood.  It feeds into his desire to help the planet by reusing and recycling as well as (I am assuming) utilizing skills and tapping into other passions he got from his father, Robert, who was a building contractor (information from imdb.com).  Go check out the site and see the special Earth Day promotion: http://www.builtofbarnwood.com/

The only thing cooler than finding this site and this business on Earth Day and sharing it with you all, would be getting an interview with Ian Somerhalder himself and finding out the name of his favorite author.  After all, this is supposed to be a book blog.

More Posts About Earth Day

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A Natural English Journey for Earth Day

April 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm (Events, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

Title: Birds of Selborne

Author: Gilbert White

Publisher: Penguin Classics

Length: 96 pgs.

This pocket sized series of letters from naturalist Gilbert White about the village of Selborne should be a part of every environmentalist’s collection.  White studied at Oriel College in Oxford and then spent years travelling around England.  Birds of Selborne is a segment of The Natural History of Selborne, a work he published after he returned home from his travels.

I love these little books, its a branch off of the Penguin Great Ideas series, an “English Journeys” collection of which this is number 19.  Much of this particular edition is filled with White’s bird watching adventures, but also covers things about the trees and weather as well.  If you’ve ever enjoyed the work of Darwin’s Origin of Species or Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Gilbert White is worth your while.

Tomorrow is Earth Day, don’t forget to check out your local bookstore and pick something up from the nature or gardening section to kick off your Sunday (after church, if you go).  Find a spot under some trees or in the sun to celebrate your Earth while you read.  Half Price Books in Humble will have Eco-friendly goodie bags to hand out to 50 customers, if you’re in the Humble area you should check it out.  If you’re in the Dallas area, there’s a tree planting event on April 28th: http://www.hpb.com/treeweek/

http://www.hpb.com/treeweek/

Read More About Earth Day.

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Celebrating Earth Day, April 22nd

April 18, 2012 at 2:41 am (Events, Reviews, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

While gathering up promotional items for Half Price Books Earth Day Celebration Goodie Bags (Humble Location), one of the participating business owners described me as “earthy” to one of his associates.  I’ve worked for a company I hear people refer to as “hippie” in nature for five years now, but I never thought of myself as being a hippie myself… I always just thought of myself as bookish.  But I suppose working with people so dedicated to reusing and recycling, some of it had to sink into my being in an observable way.

Since I’m so “earthy,” I thought I’d share a little bit about what I do as part of my daily routine.  I’m not out to save the world, just out to minimize my footprint when its convenient to do so.

1. Recycle cans.  Its as easy as dropping your can items into a separate trash container.  Sometimes loading them up and dropping them off at a recycling center is a hassle, that’s where nieces and nephews come in handy.  Most kids will jump at the chance to earn some spare change (I know I LOVED collecting and selling crushed cans as a kid), so even if you don’t haul them off yourself, its probably pretty easy to find someone willing (and eager) to do it for you.

2. Reusable shopping bags.  I don’t have a recycle pick up in my neighborhood.  So rather than acquire a mountainous number of plastic bags I am too lazy to deliver to a recycling dispenser, I just use reusable ones instead.  It saves me a lot of grief and guilt, and is surprisingly simple once you get in the habit of keeping a stash of them in your car.  My favorites are Pat’s Bags at Half Price Books.  They are $1.98, made of recycled water bottles, and have cute art designed by one of the store’s founders Pat Anderson.

3. Dump coffee grounds and egg shells in the garden.  Instead of dumping my coffee grounds and egg shells in the trash, I make sure to mix it into my garden soil.  Coffee grounds help keep nutrients in the soil, fight off diseases your plants can get, and keeps the garden soil looking dark and fresh.  More specific information about coffee grounds can be found on this blog: http://groundtoground.org/2011/08/28/coffee-grounds-for-your-garden/. Egg shells are more specifically good for your vegetable garden, so I crush those up and put them with my tomatoes.  More specific information on eggs shells in your garden can be found here:  http://www.allotments.ie/?p=515.

4. All natural cleaning products. This habit benefits me two fold: I am allergic to everything, and its better for the environment. I am a huge fan of homemade mixes (using baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils), Seventh Generation, and J.R. Watson.  As for my personal hygene, I love soap from Connie’s Bath Shack in Old Town Spring – http://conniesbathshack.com/.

5. Reuseable water bottles. I have reuseable water bottles galore from all the Earth Day Celebrations of Half Price Past. I don’t buy plastic water bottles in packs at the store, I diligently refill my Half Price Books bottles.  Water bottles are a simple, yet awesome thing of genius, and you can get them anywhere, I think even Starbucks sells them.

As you can see, that’s not a lot, but I think it makes a big difference.

But, this is a book blog, so I’ll get to the bookish parts.

I love this very green ad from hpb.com!

Half Price Books loves to celebrate Earth Day, and in working there for five years, I can proudly say it was my favorite time of the year in the four and half years I worked in the store.  The displays are full of my favorite color (green), the nature and gardening sections become a little more prominent, people seem more interested in buying books to read outside under trees in parks… I love that.  Smack dab in the middle of Spring, people just seem cheerier in general, and with Mother’s Day around the corner, and lawn projects in the works, I always felt like I had a better chance to help people out.  One year, I even got to participate in a tree planting for Trees for Houston.  Half Price Books sent a group of volunteers to the planting, as part of my working hours, to plant trees! That was an all out blast.

Visit your local Half Price Books on Earth Day, they just might be doing something cool that day.  But even if there’s not too much out of the ordinary happening, its good to get your books reused!  One of my favorite HPB purchases is actually featured in that ad to the left, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods.  I wrote a short review for it two years ago, after reading it on Earth Day 2010:

A Walk in the Woods makes me desperately want to go hiking. This was my first Bryson, I find the author surprisingly witty and fun, although perhaps a bit truthfully cruel in the beginning. I have to admit, prior to reading this I knew very little about the Appalachian Trail – it was a trail I had heard of but didn’t really have a clue about its length (Georgia to Maine, 2200 miles), its fame, or its history. This is the perfect blend of traveling memoir and a true survival/ adventure story, and I was completely captured by the weather conditions, the terrain, the fellow hikers, and the long nights in cold shelters. Its definitely an adventure I’d like to take, even if it means I only finish 39% of the trail like Bryson himself.

Another little favorite of mine is Don’t Throw It Out: Recycle, Renew, And Reuse to Make Things Last by Lori Baird and the Editors of Yankee Magazine.  I picked this one up at Half Price Books too… yes, I’m a bit of a Half Price nut, I shop other places too, but HPB is my main hang out.  Don’t Throw It Out is great because its half useful and half hilarious.  There are some really handy tips, and some things I find ridiculous that I would never do.  It makes for both an awesome reference book, and a conversation starter for your coffee table.  Its got “more than a thousand ways to maximize the value of everything you own – from furniture and fishing reels, to cell phones and ceiling fans, to iPods and earrings.

Also, one of my most recent purchases, is Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt by Megan Nicolay.  Its all in the title, take your old t-shirts that you would normally donate to Goodwill in order to go buy new clothes, and make new clothes out of them.  Now this, you may not immediately think of as earth friendly, but any time you are reusing something you already have to make it something you’ll use more, you’re being earth friendly.  (Its what I was raised to call being a “good steward of your resources.”)

So whether you pop into a used bookstore and pick up some new resources, ride your bicycle that day, take a gander in the public park or local arboretum, or start a new earth friendly habit… be a good steward of your resources and respect your world, take a moment, sniff the roses, and celebrate Earth Day!

*Disclaimer: Although I am currently an extremely part-time, work from home, employee for Half Price Books (about 20-30 hours a month to organize events like booksignings, raffles, and other fun stuff), this blog is purely my own.  What I say here is always of my own volition, and is not backed or on behalf of the company.  This is my personal blog of all my personal interests.  Those personal interests just often include everything HPB as its a huge part of my world.

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