Happy day before Earth Day! In anticipation of this event, I offer personal reviews of some of my favorite green reads that we've published:
A Conservationist Manifesto by Scott Russell Sanders
This is one of the best books I've read lately. Sanders' call to move from a culture of consumption to one of conservation is more timely than ever now in the wake of our uncertain financial future, depleting oil supply, and global climate change. I thought I was doing enough by recycling, buying organic and local foods when possible, and driving a fuel efficient car, but after reading this book, I realize that I was being green only when it was convenient for me. If the recycling center didn't take a certain kind of plastic, I threw it away. If I didn't feel like paying the premium for organic and local foods, I'd opt for the cheaper food shipped halfway around the world and probably sprayed with chemicals. I thought it was OK to drive my car everywhere because it was fuel efficient. This book makes me think twice about my actions as they not only affect me, but also the planet and everyone else who lives on it. I am better for reading it, and hopefully this positive impact will be felt by the Earth as well. I can't recommend this book enough. It will change your life.
Perennials Short and Tall by Moya Andrews
Moya Andrews just might be my yard's savior! We built a house and it's my first experience living at a place with absolutely no landscaping. Every other home we lived in already had flower beds. I just maintained them or planted some new flowers when the existing ones petered out. I did manage to plant some rose bushes last year in the back yard (which now I realize I planted too closely together). But the front of our house is still a blank canvas, which I don't know how to fill. Our yard is part sun/part shade, and I'm having trouble thinking of a good plant that doesn't need a lot of sun or shade. So I asked my coworker, who is also an avid gardener, what to do. She told me that I need not look further than my office bookshelf. "You know, we publish some great gardening books." Well, duh, of course we do! So I snapped up a copy of this book. Andrews offers great advice for novice gardeners such as myself on bed preparation, design, growing seasons, and flower bed maintenance. The book also includes descriptions and illustrations of 25 species of perennials, which has been helpful to me in selecting appropriate plants for my garden. (I think I'll start with coreopsis or astilbe and see what happens!)
The Tao of Cooking by Sally Pasley
I still have not fulfilled my New Year's resolution to make a recipe from this vegetarian cookbook. I have eight more months, so I haven't broken my resolution...yet. The problem is that I think I'm the only one in my household who would actually enjoy eating a vegetarian meal. There are several recipes for breakfast items, so perhaps I'll start with one of those and work my way up to main courses. Although I haven't actually cooked anything from this book, the recipes look pretty straightforward (and if the queen of the easy 30-minute meal thinks she can cook a recipe from this book, then ANYONE can do it). All the recipes come from the legendary Tao Restaurant in Bloomington, IN. Although the restaurant is no longer open, locals still rave about it, and their Tao dressing is still for sale at the local grocery co-op. If you are vegetarian or interested in reducing your carbon footprint, this is the cookbook for you.