Sissy Spacek does Scout

To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee

Read by Sissy Spacek

If you’re like me, you read this book in high school because you had to but don’t remember all the details.  Harper Lee’s great novel is considered a classic for tokillamockingbird.jpggood reason — it’s powerful and gripping and deals with timeless issues of growing up and prejudice.  And listening to this book is incredible – Sissy Spacek is the perfect narrator, her voice quirky and passionate and very believable as the young girl, Scout, who is wise beyond her years.  Even if you’ve already read this book, it’s definitely worth a re-listen.  I found myself looking forward to my bus commute so that I could tune back in to Scout’s world.

Goats do roam…in Seattle

cheese.bmpWhy is our book Home Cheese Making : Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses so popular?  Perhaps because it’s authored by home cheesemaking superstar Ricki Carroll.  In Seattle, local artisan cheese is readily available at farmer’s markets and grocery stores.  A cheese festival takes place each year, even though we are far from Wisconsin.  It’s highly likely that some Seattleites have chosen to take their adoration for cheese a step further and make it themselves, with milk from their own goats.  If you haven’t already heard, last September the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to allow miniature goats to be kept as pets. They are an urban sustainabilist’s dream: they can mow a lawn or eat a blackberry bush and produce milk without use of fossil fuels.  So yes, Seattleites can now make cheese with milk straight from their own backyards!

The Romans are here: are you ready?

Where would you stay if you were able to visit ancient Rome, say in 200 AD? What would you have for dinner? Where would you go for entertainment? What tips would help you survive on those mean, mean, streets? Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day by Philip Matyszak purports to be a travel guide for back then, not for use in touring today’s Rome of ruins and broken monuments. Of course, it really does help us understand current Rome’s glorious past and fallen stones by providing context for this era’s readers. Full of travel advice for ancient tourists and loaded with chatty suggestions about local customs, this humorous guide is a fun way to learn about life in the ancient city, and should be an great read for history buffs and for fans of historical mysteries in the Steven Saylor or Lindsey Davis line. Fine illustrations, many in color, show views from that toga-clad world.

Working the same turf but in a much more straightforward and serious way is Rome by James H. S. McGregor. This guide looks at the many historical versions of Rome that are layered on top of each other Continue reading “The Romans are here: are you ready?”

Localvore Love

avm.gifBarbara Kingsolver’s latest book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is account of her family’s commitment to growing and raising their own food and to purchase only local food. Those who love Kingsolver’s writing will also enjoy learning more about her localvore lifestyle. Her family’s passion for the subject is wonderfully brought forth in this deeply personal chronicle. As the book cycles through the seasons, Kingsolver conveys her appreciation for everything that grows in her garden and barn, from spring’s first asparagus stalk to Thanksgiving’s heirloom turkeys. She emphasizes how in-season foods taste the best and are nutritionally superior when harvested ripe. Daughter Camille and husband Steven make readers aware of political issues surrounding the local food movement and demonstrate how simple seasonal home cooking can be. This book will appeal to anyone concerned about where their food comes from. Even though the book addresses some political issues, readers will love this memoir for the passion Kingsolver brings to every bit of life on her farm.

I love nonfiction that keeps me interested in the topic long after I have finished the book. For me, the lasting effect of this book is a stronger commitment to eating locally. This past Thanksgiving, I made a pledge to eat local and I purchased only food grown in Washington State. I did most of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping at my Seattle neighborhood Farmer’s Market . Yum! Stay tuned for more on the local food movement.