Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Roundup

Welcome Spring! I've missed you! As the season changes I'm getting ready for more attempts at growing food, and a chance to expand upon Green endeavors as suddenly we can return to outside. Last year about this time my husband build me a nice double sized above ground garden to supplement the pots, containers, and one side garden I had. Round about this time I'm exploring books to get more ideas one how to do more, use less, and return to what is simple.

Are you reading any tasty books about Spring or planting? Any new Green titles on your shelf - or maybe just feedback on books you are enjoying from our list? Spring into action and give up some comment love for our Monday roundup.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Book Review: The Green Collar Economy

Last fall I won the book The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones in a give-away right here on The Bookworm. I intended to read it and pass it along, but when I received the book, I was thrilled to see that it was a signed copy. Sorry, guys, I’m keeping it!

The Green Collar Economy is a blueprint for how to solve two problems at once: help the environment by increasing conservation and green power generation while creating of hundreds of thousands of green jobs, mostly filled by people at the lower end of the economic scale. The proposal is idealistic, but it is a real solution and if we could do it, it really would solve both problems.

I was particularly impressed by Jones’s understanding and commitment to helping less advantaged groups. He correctly points out that the environment cannot be saved solely by those with higher incomes who care about saving polar bears. We have to reach everybody in order to make a real change. Corporations know this, and they exploit the poor for their own purposes by scaring them that environmental legistration will cost them their jobs.

This book and the proposals in it would make great reading for every member of Congress and the current administration. By some things I’ve heard, I wonder if Obama has already read it. I would recommend, even require that everyone in elected office and their staff read The Green Collar Economy. 5 out of 5 stars.

For some reason, it took me months to get through the book and just as long to write my review. I don’t think that’s a commentary on the book, but rather I’ve observed that when books get too heavy into economics, I slow down. If you enjoy reading about economics, by all means you should read this book. If not, check it out from the library and skim. It’s good stuff.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Roundup

It's Monday again -- how does it come around so quickly? Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed a nice weekend. I just got back from a lovely time -- my husband and I went to Hood River (Oregon) and took the fruit blossom train on Sunday. It was perfect except that the trees won't blossom for about another two weeks.

I've been very busy this past month preparing my book to go to print and so I've not done much reading (well, except for numerous books on firemen and astronauts which I've read to my 4-year-old son). However, I finished Green Collar Economy a while back and will post a review later this week. I read it after winning a give-away on this very blog. You know, we should do that again sometime. :)

What about you? Read any good books lately? And are the fruit trees in blossom where you live?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Books at the Farmers' Market

I found this bit of independent book store news about Powell's in Portland in a digest at the Ethicurean.

Powell's is setting up a table at the Portland Farmers' Market with books to match the season. Planting in the spring, harvesting and canning in the fall. You get the picture. It's a smart idea.

But I wonder if I'd spend my cash on a book instead of tomatoes. It would be a tough choice.

Do independent booksellers sell books at your farmers' markets? Do you think it's a good idea?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Roundup

I'd like to say I've been thinking about gardening but I haven't. The pots on the deck remain empty. Instead I'm reading a travel memoir about Zen and China. Not a green book really except it's interesting to read about people living with so few possessions and yet have everything they need.

Is anyone reading a new green book? An old one? Do you have a review about to come out? Let us know and Chile will add the book or review to the list that never stops growing.

I heard of a book a couple of weeks ago that I'm curious about, Dirt, The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth. Has anyone read or reviewed this? It seems appropriate for the planting season.

Any books you're curious about?

In any event, I hope you're enjoying spring at your house; whatever stage it's in.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Welcoming a New Worm to the Worm Bin

I'm delighted to announce that one of my favorite bookworms has agreed to wiggle around with us wormers. After devouring her reviews over at Simple-Green-Frugal, we've managed to entice Heather into the worm bin. She'll take over the first week of the month, starting in May. Make sure to stick around for her Monday roundups and green book reviews. Welcome Heather! We're so happy you're here!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Book Review: Who Is In the Garden

As much as I love to find a great green read for me, even more I love it when I come across an excellent eco book for the kids. I've long had favorite fall books for the kids but this week came across a beautifully illustrated and artfully told journey through a summer garden. While not yet summer, my boys and I are talking about what to plant where and why. Vera Rosenberry's Who Is In The Garden? put pictures to our summer-time dreams. Following the garden-loving child, we skipped past butterfly bushes, snuck peeks at sleeping turtles and a sly mantis, and burrowed into a teepee of beans. Just a little inspiration for budding gardeners.

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book Review: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home

A couple months ago, I was contacted and asked review a new book on green cleaning - Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home: No-nonsense Advice That Will Inspire You to Clean Like the Dickens. Knee deep in Green Housekeeping, a green book club book, I was truly in the spirit for spring cleaning and happily agreed.*

The disadvantage of reading and reviewing two books on the same topic back to back is that it is nigh impossible to escape comparisons. So I won't even try.

Let's assume you are in the market for a book on green cleaning. Green Housekeeping is dense, well documented, covers nearly everything imaginable that relates to being green or cleaning. Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home, by contrast, is less encyclopedic, easier to maneuver and, well, less green.

In many ways, the book is not so much about green cleaning but about cleaning the way our grandparents did. For certain, those of the older generation cleaned their home without all of the chemicals and disposables in which our generation indulges. Vinegar, baking soda, a little vodka, some rags and a whole lot of elbow grease got everything clean.

They also did things like line their toasters and everything else within reach with aluminum foil that was thrown out every couple weeks. Or refuse to remove their shoes when entering a home (theirs or one in which they were a guest) because it is "inhospitable." Thelma (as I came to think of her) believed the latter was a reflection on a home owner worrying more about keeping a clean home than making a guest feel welcome. Well, sorry, Thelma, but more and more of my friends (and my family included) leave our shoes - and the toxins they collect - at the door. It is, apparently, a modern eco-phenomenon.

All in all, it was a quick and easy read. Skimming through it felt more like tea with my great aunt Thelma than an actual book. I emerged with a better picture of how my grandmother cleaned and a few gems - like washing a burned pot by boiling equal parts water and vinegar with a little salt and letting the whole mess sit overnight. Works like a charm, I swear it!

Recommended: for those interested in lifestyles of past generations and folks looking for cleaning tips.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

*You may be familiar with the Mrs. Meyer's name, which the author's daughter adopted for a line of green cleaning supplies sold at Whole Foods and other outlets.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Roundup

Welcome spring! I've had my hands dirty this month - transplanting overgrown perennials, tucking seeds into the ground, chopping down cover crop. Not much time for reading, really, though I did manage to squeeze into this dirty month a book about getting clean. Look for a review and giveaway of that book later this week.

In the meantime, do you have any new treasures to share? An enticing green read you found in the back of a bookstore or borrowed from a friend? A review you published on your own blog or read somewhere else? Please do share. It is officially spring, after all.