Thursday, April 19, 2018

Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White

Now that it is finally spring (it is spring, isn't it?) you might be considering doing some serious spring cleaning. Now I don't mean sweeping up a couple of dust bunnies or Windexing some nose prints off of the sliding doors; I mean serious, life-altering cleaning, more like dehoarding or decluttering. If you have reached this point in your life, but you are not sure if you can pull it off, I recommend Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White.
White's book takes you to that step and seriously pushes over the edge when you feel like it is time to get rid of those things you have been holding onto for years, maybe even decades. You know those boxes of items you have been collecting for that one day in the future when you need them? Well, clear up the closets of your life and discover what space can do for you.
White tackles everything  from that pile that always shows up on the kitchen counter, or on that chair in the corner that attracts clutter like a magnet. She does it with logic, and helpful advice, never scolding, but firmly suggesting ways you can free up your life, your home and your storage areas from things you don't need.
As a life-long collector and saver, something clicked for me with White's book and I am now in the process of trashing or donating parts of my life I have hung onto for up to fifty years - without ever really having a use for them. White's ideas and philosophy do work. If you are seeking change, and room in your home, Decluttering at the Speed of Life may offer you the chance to make it happen for you.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw has always liked to run, not as a sport...but as means to get away from things.  Ghost, along with his mom, had to run away from his dad and he has to run from classmates.  When he stumbles upon an elite track team practice he realizes how much he likes to run and how good he is.
Ghost is the first in the Track Trilogy by Jason Reynolds. Each story tells of a different person on the track team, what they run for and how it changes their life.

Monday, April 9, 2018

In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary

In 1990 Gary found manuscripts, diaries and letters hidden in a trunk in Margaret Wise Brown’s sister’s attic and begins to research the popular children book author of Goodnight Moon.
Gary’s fascinating biography chronicles Brown’s hands-on approach to writing children books by immersing herself in nature to experience the wonder of it.  Brown was ahead of her times in engaging children’s interest in the interactive format of her works, incorporating sight, touch and sound.
I learned of an adventurous woman who defied conventions in both her career and love life and had lived life on her own terms.  It was an interesting read but sad to see how untimely her life ended.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook 2001-2018

This is a BIG cookbook!  It contains all the recipes from the TV show, plus some product reviews, and "behind the scenes" looks.

The recipes are broken out into the usual chapters on meats, soups, breads, salads, etc.  Some variations are included, such as classic chicken noodle soup, as well as crock pot and pressure cooker versions.

I find that the recipes usually have lots of steps.  What I most like about America's Test Kitchen is that they explain WHY the recipes work (why those seemingly extra steps are needed).  If you are looking for something new to cook, this book will give you plenty of ideas!

Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border

Like the title, this book is full of surprises!  It is a clever picture book about the struggles of making friends and acceptance.  Border uses real objects and food to tell the story of Peanut Butter who is in search of a playmate. He encounters a hamburger too busy to play because he is walking the hot dogs…(insert a *chuckle*).  There’s the french fries that are running late and have to catch up (your eyes fall on a paper container of ketchup in the foreground *chuckle*).  There is wordplay and puns sprinkled throughout the story that make this a wonderful read-aloud. The author has also written , Happy Birthday, Cupcake!, Milk Goes To School, Peanut Butter’s Yummy Numbers.  

Camino Island by John Grisham

Princeton University has had five priceless manuscripts stolen in a spectacular robbery.  The only evidence left at the scene is a drop of blood which soon leads to the arrest of one of the thieves and an accomplice. The rest of the criminals and the manuscripts are yet to be found. When an insurance company manages to turn up a lead in Camino Island they contact Mercer Mann, an author and teacher struggling to pay off large student loans. Mercer spent many summers in Camino Island with her grandmother and is hired to return there and go undercover and be paid well. Mercer fits into the island well and soon befriends the owner of a bookshop.  Where are the manuscripts and where are the thieves?  Though this novel is unbelievable at times it involves books, authors and the book industry which kept my interest!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

This is a book written for young people, but I enjoyed it too. I read it while I was on vacation whenever I had a waiting period. It is the story of a teenage girl who is allergic to everything. In an attempt to keep her healthy and prolong her life, her mother  (adoctor) has cocooned her in an apartment made to keep all "triggers" at bay. When a family moves in next door, she can't help but be attracted to the boy near her age. What ensues is a romantic relationship that begins online, but ultimately leads to life-changing events for her. An interesting read that, according to information in the back of the book, is being made into a motion picture.