Sunday, February 16, 2014

50 Books in 2014: Books 1-5

One of my 14 in 2014 resolutions was to read 50 books this year. I started off to a bit of a slow start, but as of lately, I have been doing so much reading in my spare time.
I've been using GoodReads to track my reading progress (they even have a goal meter for how many books you plan to read in 2014). According to their tracker, I'm only one book behind my goal so far. Keep up with my progress by becoming my friend on GoodReads:
So after every five books I read, I figured that I would write a post about them, including both the review and ratings I put up on GoodReads, as well as the summary that is provided. Let me know what you think of this feature!

1. The God Species by Mark Lynas

GoodReads says: "We humans are the God species, both the creators and destroyers of life on this planet. As we enter a new geological era - the Anthropocene - our collective power now overwhelms and dominates the major forces of nature.

But from the water cycle to the circulation of nitrogen and carbon through the entire Earth system, we are coming dangerously close to destroying the planetary life-support systems that sustain us. In this controversial new book, Royal Society Science Books Prize winner Mark Lynas shows us how we must use our new mastery over nature to save the planet from ourselves.

Taking forward the work of a brilliant new group of Earth-system scientists who have mapped out our real 'planetary boundaries', Lynas draws up a radical manifesto calling for the increased use of environmentally-friendly technologies like genetic engi- neering and nuclear power as part of a global effort to use humanity's best tools to protect and nurture the biosphere.

Ecological limits are real, but economic limits are not, Lynas contends. We can and must feed a richer population of nine billion people in decades to come, whilst also respecting the nine planetary boundaries - from biodiversity to ocean acidification - now identified and quantified by scientists.

Ripping up years of environmental orthodoxy, he reveals how the prescriptions of the current green movement are likely to hin- der as much as help our vitally-needed effort to use science and technology to play God and save the planet."

Average Rating: 3.88/5

I said: 4/5 stars, " This book was a long, thorough, and extremely scientific look at the many factors surrounding global climate change. It was a bit hard to read at times, considering that Lynas takes a much different approach as to how we should combat the environmental crisis than the majority of "greens" today. Despite these differences, I still found it a great read, as it challenged me to think differently about my ideals."

2. The Sweetness of Life by Francoise Heritier
 GoodReads said: "Francoise Heritier's international bestseller The Sweetness of Life is a celebration of the small, sweet moments that make life worth living--and the importance of taking the time to savor them.

Busy juggling so many responsibilities in our overextended lives, we often miss the precious experiences that are pure joy and the actual experience of humanity: wild laughter, phone calls with loved ones, coffee in the sun, crisp fall evenings, running in warm rain, long conversations at twilight, cooking and savoring a good meal, watching a craftsman at work, getting together with friends we've missed.In this enchanting book--part letter, part prose poem, part charming and witty self-help guide-- anthropologist Francoise Heritier lists with heartwarming and heartbreaking specificity all that we so easily overlook if we do not attend to the lightness and grace in our own lives.

Filled with profound insight and down-to-earth wisdom, The Sweetness of Life is the perfect gift to to share with everyone you love."

Average Rating: 3.51/5

I said: 4/5 stars, "Short but sweet, this book is simply (but beautifully written and inspired) a collection of some of the things in Hertier's life that bring back pleasant memories. It made me smile and remember that it is the little things in life that can have the greatest impact."

3. The Good Life Lab by Wendy Jehanara Tremayne
 GoodReads says: "This is the inspirational story of how one couple ditched their careers and high-pressure life in New York City to move to rural New Mexico, where they made, built, invented, foraged, and grew all they needed to live self-sufficiently, discovering a new sense of value and abundance in the process. Alongside their personal story are tips and tutorials to guide readers in the discovery of a fulfilling new lifestyle that relies less on money. Tremayne wholeheartedly believes that everyone has the skill, imagination and creativity to make it work.

Tremayne not only teaches the art of making biofuel, appliances, structures, gardens, food, and medicine but also presents reasons for makers to share their innovations and ideas through open source and creative commons licenses. She shares the joys of creating out of waste, home manufacture, and reconnecting with nature, and she teaches readers how to live off the grid. Practical, contemplative, and action-oriented, The Good Life Lab is the manual for life in a post-consumer age.

In addition, The Good Life Lab is filled with illustrations contributed by a community of artists -- Alethea Morrison, Allegra Lockstadt, Andrew Saeger, Bert van Wijk, Christopher Silas Neal, Gina Triplett, Grady McFerrin, Joel Holland, Josh Cochran, Julia Rothman, Kate Bingaman Burt, Katie Scott, Kristian Olson, Mattias Adolfsson, Meg Hunt, Melinda Beck, Miyuki Sakai, Rachel Salomon, and Sasha Prood -- making the book itself a work of art.

The Smyth-sewn binding style is the highest-quality book binding available. It is more durable than a glued binding and lets the book open flat, making it easier to read. The Good Life Lab has an exposed spine so that readers can appreciate and understand how the object was made."

Average Rating: 3.69/5

I said: 5/5 stars, " This book completely blew me away. While many of it seemed too impractical or out of reach for application to my life, I walked away from this book feeling completely inspired and rejuvenated on my path towards self-sufficiency and sustainability."

4. The Real Food Reset by Roland Denzel and Galina Denzel
 GoodReads says: "Unlike a diet, a detox or a flush, The Real Food Reset develops healthy eating habits that become a platform for perfect health for the rest of your life. No weighing, measuring, or counting required!

You are about to read the book that will teach you everything you need to know about starting your own ’30 Days,’ and continue to improve going forward using Real Food as your only tool.

With The Real Food Reset you will:

• lose fat
• get fit
• feel better
• feel results in just 30 days or even less!"

Average Rating: 3.25/5

I said:  2/5 stars, "I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
While the book was certainly filled with interesting nutritional insight, I would not agree with a lot of the foods that are suggested to be "restricted" on this diet."


5. Twelve by Twelve by William Powers
 GoodReads says: "Why would a successful American physician choose to live in a twelve-foot-by-twelve-foot cabin without running water or electricity? To find out, writer and activist William Powers visited Dr. Jackie Benton in rural North Carolina. No Name Creek gurgled through Benton’s permaculture farm, and she stroked honeybees’ wings as she shared her wildcrafter philosophy of living on a planet in crisis. Powers, just back from a decade of international aid work, then accepted Benton’s offer to stay at the cabin for a season while she traveled. There, he befriended her eclectic neighbors — organic farmers, biofuel brewers, eco-developers — and discovered a sustainable but imperiled way of life.

In these pages, Powers not only explores this small patch of community but draws on his international experiences with other pockets of resistance. This engrossing tale of Powers’s struggle for a meaningful life with a smaller footprint proposes a paradigm shift to an elusive "Soft World” with clues to personal happiness and global healing."

Average Rating: 3.53/5

I said: 5/5 stars, "I found this book to be extremely enchanting and filled with magnificent insight. There were times when it was hard to read because it put me in an uncomfortable place about my view of the world, but only the best books will make you step back to question the life you are leading. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in making a change in the world, nature, and spirituality."

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE reading about what other people are reading - and now I am definitely going to check out The Good Life Lab!


Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic