It’s a Keeper

November 7, 2015 at 1:06 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

keeper-front-revTitle: Keeper

Author: S. Smith

Genre: Middle Grade/ Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

Length: 200 pages

Many moons ago, it seems like forever now, S. Smith sent me a copy of Seed Savers, the first of her young adult series set in an America where growing your own food has become illegal.  Children were being taught about seeds and produce gardens in whispers; collecting, saving, and planting seeds a prison-worthy offense.

The story couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  It was the summer of 2012, I had a small daughter at home, my husband was out of work, and I had just started spending more time and care actively growing more of our groceries.  On top of that, I was beginning to learn how to forage and was focusing my daughter’s future education on as much regarding sustainability and self-sufficiency as possible.  I wanted taking care of ourselves to come as naturally as literature does for me.  I wanted finding edible grapes in the forest to be as simple as knowing that 2+2 = 4.  Then Seed Savers happened and it felt like the stars had begun to align.

Several books later (Seed Savers, Heirloom, and Lily), we finally have the fourth installment of S. Smith’s world.  The girls, Lily and Clare, have done a lot of growing up.  Siblings Dante and Clare have received a lot more education during their stay in Canada.  Rose is being indoctrinated… bad guys are getting closer and closer to turning everything upside down as rebels have begun starting riots in the street.  Soon, all four kids find themselves in Portland, Oregon, where Seed Savers headquarters has been stationed under a forested park in the city for years.

More and more, the series is resembling the fast paced action political drama of the Divergent series – without the killing, and with the added fun of things like Dandelion syrup being discussed.

Although I was sent an advanced reader’s copy of Keeper, I still made a point to pre-order a final copy for my kindle.  The book is a keeper in every format, and it’s just worth it to be as supportive as possible of this story, help it get told.  I’m looking forward to the day Smith gets a movie or mini-series deal.  Better yet, the homeschool mom in me votes for it to be a Netflix original.

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GreenGreenerGreenest – Earth Day Every Day Part Five

April 17, 2014 at 2:45 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

GreenGreenerGreenestTitle: Green Greener Greenest

Author: Lori Bongiorno

Publisher: Perigee (Penguin)

Genre: Nature/Organic Living

Length: 310 pages

Written by a journalist and freelance writer, GreenGreenerGreenest is a concise but thorough way to get up to date information and advice on how to handle the green movement in your life.

This is a handy reference book that should be on the shelf of every self-proclaimed hippie, home owner, or human being.  Yes, it’s that useful and that important.

There’s so much information out there about how to live an eco-friendly life, and so many opinions on which way is correct.  GreenGreenerGreenest takes all the advice, all the information, and categorizes it for you so you can select which option works for your life and budget.  It helps people see clear cut options for how to go as green as you can in every area of your existence without shaming you for not being able to do it perfectly in all of them.  Sometimes going green is what you can afford, sometimes being greenest is easiest, either way Bongiorno helps clear the red tape of confusion and spells out what is what.

There are a lot of things discussed that I already knew about, things I thought everyone probably knows.  But there are twice as many things that I read that I had never given a second thought to.  For instance, I had no idea you could get reusable menstrual pads, not sure why it didn’t occur to me, but it didn’t.  It’s the greener option.  (Green being using chlorine free and chemical free ones made by companies like Seventh Generation.)  My response to that was similar to my response to Merriweather of Foraging Texas cooking June bugs for breakfast – I’m not that hippie yet.  Bongiorno makes me feel like that’s ok.  I can choose a greenest option in another category to make up for it.

Which I do in my house, little did I know.  We have ripped out all our carpets and have concrete flooring.  Mostly because we’re poor and concrete floors are cheap – your foundation is already there whether you like it or not.  I already knew carpets weren’t the best for your health (dust, dust mites, allergens, dirt, overall ick), but I hadn’t thought of it as “green” living.  We live with area rugs we can remove from the house to clean.  Area rugs last longer and keep you healthier… and apparently is better for the environment as most carpeting is made with petroleum products.

Food and Beverages, Personal Care, Babies and Children, Transportation, and more, Bongiorno covers it all, and provides links and websites when helpful.  Love it.

earth joel

Photograph by Joel Robison

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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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