Grow a Sustainable Diet. Cindy Conner.
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I was brought up with the idea that if we didn’t grow it we didn’t eat it, with a few exceptions of course. We had a fairly large council house garden, and dad had two allotments nearby, so as well as fruit and veg, we had chickens, rabbits, turkeys ( that was the xmas spending money!) and goats – I still hate the smell of goats milk! So home grown to me seems a natural way of life, and even though we’ve had some tiny gardens I’ve always tried to grow what I can. I know quite a lot about it by now but there’s always room for more info so this book caught my eye.
Its a useful, practical book. Packed with simple ideas to maximise the use of space, how to plan ahead to avoid feast or famine gluts, how to preserve what you can in the most efficient way. My mum always used to make jams, chutneys, preserve fruits and tomatoes in kilner jars ( we had a Rayburn always on the go for heating and hot water), salted runner beans in huge crocks, and preserved eggs in Isinglass solution. In US – this book is written in US terms – although you seem to go for canning rather than kilner jars we use in UK, it seems a similar premise. Then there’s a section on animal husbandry – useful for those with larger gardens or allotments as we had. Its not just a how to gardening book though, but one where Cindy looks at nutritional needs and advises how to get the calories and vitamins etc we need in our diet. There are some things simply not practical to grow – one thing that caught my eye was oils, and Cindy calculated just how much land would be taken up to produce enough oil. As she says if land is short that space is better taken with something more efficient.
I really like the approach she takes about balance…too often the gardening approach is grow it, and spray to kill weeds and insects. Of course that kills beneficial ones too and there are better approaches such as companion planting, and simply looking over crops and picking off bugs as much as is practical. Cindy shows how gradually if you work to attract birds, frogs etc and grow flowing plants to attract insects an ecosystem comes into play, where by and large problems take care of themselves. Composting too is another thing I’m very keen on and which is covered – Cindy looks at the garden in a holistic way, thinking about the circular approach where every effect has another side to it, and makes best use of this.
Overall a great book, packed with practical info and balances with an in-depth, scientific look at what’s needed for a healthy diet. Though its most practical if you have a large space its so interesting and informative that I’d recommend it to anyone interested in growing even small amounts of their own food.
Stars: five – fabulous, informative read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
Hard Time, Cara McKenna.
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
So, what to expect from this book? Well, I had no idea. How could someone write a romance when one party is in prison? How could/would that work? Would it just be conducted by letters? All questions I had, but didn’t know the answer to – so I was intrigued to see what Cara would do, and if I would like it.
Well, a great surprise, I didn’t really feel convinced this would work and yet – I Loved it – a beautiful and inspiring read. From the moment Annie and Eric set eyes on each other there’s a searing, visceral attraction that bounces out from the story. Tension the reader can feel. Cara sets that up so well, they felt real and I was excited and nervous along with them. Annie – she’s lovely, been hurt terribly by her ex, and he was her only experience of boyfriends, but she’d managed to leave him and his mental and emotional abuse, however it left her scarred and scared, and unwilling to even contemplate another relationship. Now several years on she starts her new role as the prison outreach librarian, and seeing Eric has made her feel something she thought was dead, an attraction to another person. She feels safe imagining a time when its her and Eric together, after all she knows he’s in prison for years so it can’t really happen. That’s further than she’s done for a long while, so a huge step for her, and then Eric takes a chance and writes to her. Something neither are supposed to do. His letter touches her and stirs her emotions, and they embark on a surreptitious correspondence, that quickly devolves into erotic, sexual writings. Annie is both scared and excited. How can this man, this prisoner, who must have done something bad, make her feel this way just with looks and words on paper? Eric wasn’t expecting to meet someone this way either, but Annie has him hooked, he’ll take any risk just to feel close to her.
Then….parole. Something he wasn’t expecting and hadn’t told Annie might happen. Can they work in real life. Will she want to? Will they be the same or was the prison experience all they can have? Lots of questions to answer, and all I can say without spoiling it is this was beautiful. I felt so cross with Annie sometimes for not taking an risk, but also understood her fears, and why she held back. Eric, what a man, and eventually we find out why he was in prison, well part of it. Can Annie let that go or not, he’s scared she won’t and yet desperately hoping she will. There’s a lot for them to work at, and though the sex between them is sensational, hot, erotic and well written, that didn’t make up for the problems facing them. Eric said he’d do the same again in the same circumstances, and that’s what Annie is afraid might happen – and that she’d lose him for good. They need to work hard to make a go of their relationship, and the problems and possible consequences made me thing “what would I do? /How would I react?” and I love that sort of read, where I can put myself in the other persons place and feel its all real.
So, a fabulous read, one to mull over and think about how and why people act as they do, that life isn’t good/bad, black/white but a myriad of incidences in between. Its priced at £2.42 for 310 pages.
Stars: Four and a half, unusual and surprising read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley