Have you heard about “Seeds of Compassion” ?

dalai-lama-book-cover.jpgA historic five-day gathering to focus the world’s attention on the importance of nurturing kindness and compassion will take place at large-scale venues in Seattle from April 11 to 15, 2008. This spiritually-significant event will include public presentations by the Dalai Lama, as well as other luminaries. For a complete listing of events see Seeds of Compassion.

At the local level, the children’s, young adult and adult services librarians at Green Lake Branch are inspired to join forces and mount an interactive display, and to compile a list of suggested books for all age levels in the community. We invite you to visit our Branch to exchange seed packets in our “Sow Seeds of Compassion” display.

We also invite YOU, the reader, to contribute to and expand this list for our diverse communities in Seattle, and elsewhere. What books are you familiar with that signify compassion, or can help people become more compassionate by reading them? Feel free to provide your favorite author/title(s) and short comments at the end of this list. Let’s share our knowledge and awareness of compassion so that everyone can benefit!

Sow Seeds of Compassion:

Recommended Reading for adults, teens and children

 

ADULT BOOKS

Kindness in a Cruel World by Nigel Barber

Buddha Heart, Buddha Mind by Robert R. Barr

Ordinary Grace by Kathleen Brehony Continue reading “Have you heard about “Seeds of Compassion” ?”

Gardeners, Start Your Engines

image-of-daffodil-courtesy-of-jason-rust.jpgIt’s Spring, and a young (or not so young) gardener’s fancy naturally turns to PLANT SALES! Of course we’ll all run off to our favorite members of the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association and the Specialty Nursery Association of Western Washington.

But don’t stop there. There are dozens of local plant sales every year sponsored by community groups, schools, churches, garden clubs, and plant societies. And the primo place to find a yearly list of all of them gathered together online is in the Regional Plant Sales Calendar of the Elisabeth C. Miller Library of the University of Washington Botanic Gardens.

The season begins with the Northwest Horticultural Society spring sale on March 14, and there’s something for everyone.

Kitchen-sink sales offering a wide variety of plants are sponsored by Continue reading “Gardeners, Start Your Engines”

What are your sure-fire hits when it comes to books?

If you’re looking in on Shelf Talk, chances are good you are a “book person,” and as such, are probably the go-to person for friends and family when it comes to what books they should read. This task requires much thought. What do they normally like to read? What mood have they been in recently? Are they hoping for a surprise, or books similar to what they usually read?
corellis-mandolin-book-cover.jpg Sometimes, however, it is just a matter of putting a title out there so they have something to read. This is the wonderful moment where I pull out my “sure-fire hits” (SFH). SFH are those books that satisfy such a wide variety of readers that they can be suggested to any friend, loved-one or library patron with a high likelihood that they will be enjoyed. These are books that somehow seem to be all things literary in one package. They are intelligent, yet approachable; thoughtful, yet exciting; and wise, yet current and novel.
My number one SFH is Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres. This novel has a war story, love story, historical tale, and comedy all rolled into one. It is the engrossing story of life on a small Greek island during WWII and the ways in which the citizens coped with life under Italian, then German occupation.
confederacy-of-dunces book cover.jpg The other title that has worked as a standby for an any-situation read is the hilarious A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Toole’s tale follows Ignatius J. Reilly, an ever-indignant and deluded man-child, as he single-handedly wreaks havoc on 1960s New Orleans. The book, like all great satire, is filled with moments of outrageous and nearly ridiculous hilarity while remaining intelligent and insightful.
Now that the secret of my SFH’s are out, what books do you rely on for the on-the-spot recommendation? ~ Erik

(Reading About) The Great Outdoors

One of the things I love about living in Seattle is our proximity to the ocean and mountains and old-growth forests. Hey, occasionally you can even see the mountains (when it’s not overcast).  Alas, I don’t seem to get out into the great outdoors as often as I would like, but the next best thing to being there is reading about it.

For finding good Nature reads, one place to start is the National Outdoor Book Awards (“Honoring the best in outdoor writing and publishing”).

Following are some other books about the natural world that I’ve enjoyed:sandcountryalmanac.jpg

A Sand Country Almanac, and Sketches Here and There by Leopold Aldo

First published in 1949, this book by one of our country’s foremost conservationists was hailed by the New York Times as “full of beauty and vigor and bite.”

If you enjoy nature writing and personal accounts of extreme outdoor adventure, you can’t go wrong with the classic Continue reading “(Reading About) The Great Outdoors”

Synchronicity in the Backyard

Even with the gardening season right around the corner, the thoughtful gardener will still always find time to read, dream of and ponder the natural world around us.

After reading about global warming via the lengthy series of New Yorker articles exfield_notes_from_a_catastrophe.jpgcerpted from Elizabeth Kolbert’s acclaimed recent book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, documenting the progress of Global Warming, this gardener sought out a course of personal action via Sara Stein’s Noah’s Garden: noahs_garden.jpgRestoring the Ecology of our Own Back Yards, a book about turning away from the formalities of trying to force your garden into a “template” of the perfect English garden and learning to look at your yard as a small portion of a larger wildlife habitat and natural ecosystem.

 Start looking at your fences as hedgerows and your lawn as meadowlands. Your tree planted near your neighbor’s tree, becomes a miniature woodland, all places with their own long evolved natural balances. Of course I lack the square footage on my little piece of the city to really do it up in style, but my small lot does have its advantages. Less real estate means less mowing, less raking up, and less earth to turn and plant. More time to enjoy.

Another advantage of the small will soon coming our way via a change in the way the city assesses wastewater usage fees. Seattle Councilmember Richard Conlin’s enewsletter explains how drainage rates are headed up, with the city Continue reading “Synchronicity in the Backyard”