I'm still about four books behind schedule, but here are books 11-15 out of my 50 books in 2014 goal! As always, you can follow my progress and whatnot on GoodReads (https://www.goodreads.com/wildflowerchild).
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
GoodReads says: "Over a century after its initial publication, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is still captivating the hearts of countless readers. Come adventure with Dorothy and her three friends: the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, as they follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City for an audience with the Great Oz, the mightiest Wizard in the land, and the only one that can return Dorothy to her home in Kansas.
This edition, fully annotated, faithfully reproduces L. Frank Baum’s original novel straight from the source, and free from modern edits. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in the story just as Baum wrote it over one hundred years ago, while at the same time you'll enjoy interesting facts and footnotes that expand this great story and provide a basis for Baum’s magical world."Average Rating: 3.96/5
I said: 5/5 stars, "I had never read the original book, but have seen the movie adaptation several times, and have even studied the allegory at length in a US history course. I was very pleased to find this book available to read as an ebook on my phone through GoodReads, and I loved every minute of it. The story is quite different than that of the movie - it is filled with much more adventures. I thoroughly enjoyed this book."
The Complete Guide to Growing Windowsill Plants: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply, by Angela Williams Duea
GoodReads says: "A windowsill is among the best possible places to put a plant -- it provides ample sunlight, brightens the look of your home from the outside, and adds what amounts to a filter to the air coming in and out of your home. In winter, they can add a touch of color to an otherwise drab view, and in summer they thrive. But, not every plant grows well in these conditions - with as many as 40 percent of most houseplants according to Garden Guides not needing nearly that much sunlight. The selection of the right houseplants for your windowsill is a necessary step to ensuring they survive and thrive.
This book will guide you through the steps needed to select the perfect plants for your windowsill and cultivate them to both fit in with your space and to survive the conditions, whether inside or outside. You will learn everything you need to know to effectively plant windowsill plants and improve how your home and your windows look to the world outside. You will learn, through a series of detailed charts, which plants are best suited to the cramped space of a windowsill and which ones will only give you problems. You will learn how much light each plant needs and how much water and food they need and whether you need to supplement natural provision of these resources. You will learn how to care for your plants while keeping away pests and animals that may eat the leaves or dig up the dirt.
Top experts in gardening have been interviewed and their insights will help you learn what works and what doesn't work for your windowsill plants. From first planting, whether by seed or potted plant, you will have every resource you need to keep your windowsill plants alive and thriving in their new environment with this book. Average Rating: 3.5/5
I said: 4/5 stars, "This book went into great detail in explaining the different techniques in growing a windowsill garden. I found it very useful in going through great lengths about different indoor plants and how to care for them. I was a bit disappointed with the fact that only a very small portion of the book was dedicated towards growing edible plants indoors, which is what I read the book intending to learn about."
Sex and Crime: Oliver's Strange Journey, by Oliver Markus
GoodReads says: "Sex and Crime: Oliver's Strange Journey is an autobiographical book that follows the incredible life of Oliver, a teenage hacker in Aachen, Germany, who is the victim of traumatic childhood abuse and suffers from PTSD. He falls in love with an American girl online, and spends many hours on the phone with her every day for a year, until he moves in with her in New York. After his crazy adventures as a New York cab driver, he becomes a successful cartoonist and goes on to be an Internet millionaire. A painful divorce throws him into a deep, almost suicidal depression, until he falls in love with a heroin addict and he ends up moving to Fort Myers, Florida. As his life spirals more and more out of control, Oliver gets sucked deeper and deeper into the dark world of drug addiction and prostitution." Average Rating: 4.09/5
I said: 4/5 stars, "I was truly blown away by this book. The author's stories are so real and striking; they leave you with an impression you cannot forget. The writing style of Markus is a bit different than most authors: this book is written as if the author is dictating the stories to you. Some people may not like this casual style of writing, but it seems to make every bizarre and surreal experience you read about seem all the more true."
I Garden - Urban Style, by T. Reginald Solomon and Michael Nolan
GoodReads says: "A Garden for Your Space & Your Style You can grow delicious, healthy vegetables and beautiful flowers in your urban setting. No yard? No problem, you have more options available than you think--from containers and window boxes to raised beds and community plots. No time? No worries, there are plants and containers that accommodate even the busiest schedule." Average Rating: 3.36/5
I said: 4/5 stars, "This book is a great resource for anyone interested in urban gardening. It covers a wide spectrum of situations, techniques, and it also includes a great selection of resources for the upcoming or active urban gardener."
Snapper, by Brian Kimberling
GoodReads says: "A great, hilarious new voice in fiction: the poignant, all-too-human recollections of an affable bird researcher in the Indiana backwater as he goes through a disastrous yet heartening love affair with the place and its people.
Nathan Lochmueller studies birds, earning just enough money to live on. He drives a glitter-festooned truck, the Gypsy Moth, and he is in love with Lola, a woman so free-spirited and mysterious she can break a man’s heart with a sigh or a shrug. Around them swirls a remarkable cast of characters: the proprietor of Fast Eddie’s Burgers & Beer, the genius behind “Thong Thursdays”; Uncle Dart, a Texan who brings his swagger to Indiana with profound and nearly devastating results; a snapping turtle with a taste for thumbs; a German shepherd who howls backup vocals; and the very charismatic state of Indiana itself. And at the center of it all is Nathan, creeping through the forest to observe the birds he loves and coming to terms with the accidental turns his life has taken." Average Rating: 3.23/5
I said: 4/5 stars, "I really enjoyed this book. I am very interested in ecology, and a great deal of this book focused on different adventures in doing field research. The 'mini stories' in the book portray an array of different situations and range from funny to sad and everywhere in between. My only complaint is that this book seemed to be composed more of a series of vignettes that jump around quite a bit in space and time."
My weekly Crafty Saturday feature seems to be something that my readers have always enjoyed, so I am planning to continue this feature now that I am back to blogging.
Here are 3 craft/diy projects that I've found online that I wanted to share with you all. I appreciate any and all feedback about what type of projects you would like to see more of, so feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email!
As frequent visitors of the blog might recall, I have my ears stretched to 1/2" (12mm). I had been wearing a pair of sodalite stone plugs for quite a while, but fairly recently I lost one of them and was not able to find it.
I am currently wearing a pair of acrylic/plastic plugs, but I don't like the fact that I am putting this plastic through my skin. My ears are often irritated. I'm planning on buy at least one pair of natural plugs, made from wood, stone, glass, or a safe metal (although metal is my least preferred). I would never wear bone, horn, or shell pieces because I am a vegan and do not wear animal products.
I haven't decided which plugs to buy yet, but here are some of my favorite ones that I've found so far. Which ones do you like?
One thing I have been keeping up with (although I am admittingly behind) is my 50 books in 2014 challenge. If you have a GoodReads account, I would love for you to add me as a friend, but if not, you can always check out my account to see what I'm reading, the reviews I've posted, etc. (https://www.goodreads.com/wildflowerchild)
So here are books 6-10 that I've read this year (the post for books 11-15 will be next week):
How to Disappear Completely: On Modern Anorexia by Kelsey Osgood
GoodReads says: "At fourteen, Kelsey Osgood became fascinated by the stories of women who starved themselves. She devoured their memoirs and magazine articles, committing the most salacious details of their cautionary tales to memory--how little they ate, their lowest weights, and their merciless exercise regimes--to learn what it would take to be the very bestanorectic. When she was hospitalized for anorexia at fifteen, she found herself in an existential wormhole: how can one suffer from something one has actively sought out? Through her own decade-long battle with anorexia, which included three lengthy hospitalizations, Osgood harrowingly describes the haunting and competitive world of inpatient facilities populated with other adolescents, some as young as ten years old.
With attuned storytelling and unflinching introspection, Kelsey Osgood unpacks the modern myths of anorexia, examining the cult-like underbelly of eating disorders in the young, as she chronicles her own rehabilitation. How to Disappear Completely is a brave, candid and emotionally wrenching memoir that explores the physical, internal, and social ramifications of eating disorders and subverts many of the popularly held notions of the illness and, most hopefully, the path to recovery." Average Rating: 3.30/5 I said: 3/5 stars, "While I commend Osgood on coming forward and telling her story about anorexia, I felt that this book was more of a critique on how anorexia is developing as being "trendy" and the new concept of "wannarexia". There is not much science to back up her arguments, and this book read more like a term paper than a memoir or personal account."
City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing by Lorraine Johnson
GoodReads says: "City Farmer celebrates the new ways that urban dwellers across North America are reimagining cities as places of food production. From homeowners planting their front yards with vegetables to guerilla gardeners scattering seeds in neglected urban corners, gardening guru Lorraine Johnson chronicles the increasing popularity of innovative urban food growing." Average Rating: 3.54/5
I said: 3/5 stars, "I expected this book to be more of a memoir and a personal testament to urban gardening from the author's experience. She included this here and there, but it read mostly as a handy book with all sorts of information on the history and current state of urban farming. I enjoyed it and the knowledge I've gained from reading, but I wish it had been a bit more personable."
The Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a De-Cluttered Life by Lorilee Lippincott
GoodReads says: "Where did all this stuff come from? I don't have time for a life. I need to get away! Ever feel this way? Society is quick to fill our minds and homes with all the latest gadgets, tools, obligations, and entertainment, but what happens when it all doesn't fit? The Simple Living Handbook is a how-to memoir about creating a life that has space for what really matters to you.Lippincott's road to simplicity started in the fall of 2010 when she was on the verge of a breakdown. Her life was basically "normal"--husband, two kids, comfortable home, three home businesses--but she felt like she was running a rat race. She was desperate for more time and space to focus on family, health, and her own interests. So she and her husband decided to cut back on clutter--drastically. Now the family of four lives in a one-bedroom apartment with only the possessions they actually need and use; they stick to a simple diet of only whole foods "that God would recognize"; and they have managed to become productive without feeling busy. They've never been happier or healthier.Through personal stories, advice, and tips, Lippincott teaches how to make the hard decisions necessary to simplify your home and your schedule. Beyond that, she addresses the hidden emotional hoarding that threatens to keep our souls running in circles. Through her inspiring story, readers will learn to take a step back, reassess priorities, and commit to making space for those people and things that really matter." Average Rating: 3.11/5
I said: 2/5 stars, "This book had some really good advice on how to clear out your home for a more simple life, but towards the middle of the book, it started to get really preachy, especially when she started throwing God into everything she talked about."
Of Human Bondageby W. Somerset, Maugham
GoodReads says: "'It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham,' wrote Gore Vidal. 'He was always so entirely there.' Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns for adventure, and at eighteen leaves home, eventually pursuing a career as an artist in Paris. When he returns to London to study medicine, he meets the androgynous but alluring Mildred and begins a doomed love affair that will change the course of his life. There is no more powerful story of sexual infatuation, of human longing for connection and freedom. 'Here is a novel of the utmost importance,' wrote Theodore Dreiser on publication. 'It is a beacon of light by which the wanderer may be guided. . . . One feels as though one were sitting before a splendid Shiraz of priceless texture and intricate weave, admiring, feeling, responding sensually to its colors and tones.' With an Introduction by Gore Vidal Commentary by Theodore Dreiser and Graham Greene." Average rating: 4.07/5
I said: 3/5 stars, "This book took me a long time to finish because I started getting really bored during the first half. With this being said, I was glad that I picked it back up because I really loved the second half. There are many valuable lessons that can be drawn from this book about different stages in life, as well as the overall meaning of life. I also really loved the ending."
The Trouble With Poetry - And Other Poemsby Billy Collins
GoodReads says: "Playfulness, spare elegance, and wit epitomize the poetry of Billy Collins.""With his distinct voice and accessible language, America's two-term Poet Laureate has opened the door to poetry for countless people for whom it might otherwise remain closed.
Like the present book's title, Collins's poems are filled with mischief, humor, and irony, "Poetry speaks to all people, it is said, but here I would like to address / only those in my own time zone"-but also with quiet observation, intense wonder, and a reverence for the everyday: "The birds are in their trees, / the toast is in the toaster, / and the poets are at their windows. / They are at their windows in every section of the tangerine of earth-the Chinese poets looking up at the moon, / the American poets gazing out / at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise."
Through simple language, Collins shows that good poetry doesn't have to be obscure or incomprehensible, qualities that are perhaps the real trouble with most "serious" poetry: "By now, it should go without saying / that what the oven is to the baker / and the berry-stained blouse to the drycleaner / so the window is to the poet."
In this dazzling new collection, his first in three years, Collins explores boyhood, jazz, love, the passage of time, and, of course, writing-themes familiar to Collins's fans but made new here. Gorgeous, funny, and deeply empathetic, Billy Collins's poetry is a window through which we see our lives as if for the first time."
Average rating: 4.20/5
I said: 3/5 stars, "Poetry is not my forte, nor do I claim to know anything about it, but for me, these poems are just observations of the outside world rather than insights on the human experience. Perhaps I am not looking at them correctly. Nonetheless, these poems were a reminder to slow down and take in the world around me, something that I often forget to do is my busy life."
Clearly I managed to fall off the blogging wagon yet again way back in February. Right at the time that I stopped blogging, I started a new job, and once again, that started consuming my life (way more than I would like to admit).
I am still at the job now, but I am really trying to learn how to make time to work on my blog every day. I have missed blogging greatly, so I am willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Does anyone have any tips on balancing blogging with a hectic everyday life?
Anyway, I wanted to post some of my favorite and most popular instagram pictures that I've taken in the past few months (I went on a brief hiatus from instagram, as well, but am back). You can follow me @wildflwrchild (http://instagram.com/wildflwrchild).
February 10: the frozen Charles River
March 27: throwback Thursday to around 1993
March 29: the first day it finally wasn't freezing cold, so I finally wore my TOMS
April 12: I spent the most fabulous day by the Charles with my friends
April 14: getting whipped by the wind on my lunch break in the park
April 19: enjoying an ultra-fancy martini with my friends at Eastern Standard
April 22: food from one of my new favorite places to get lunch, Dado Tea in Cambridge
Other fun things I did in the time I was away from blogging include being at the Boston Marathon to cheer everyone on, see Boston Ballet's performance of Cinderella with my family for my birthday, get a new bicycle to ride around the city on, turn 23, go to some rad shows and parties, and more!