Category Archives: Books

Traveling library

I’m going on vacation for a week, so you won’t hear from me for a little while.  I just hope I have enough books to read while I’m on vacay!

 

 

 

 

 

If not, I’ve heard of an outstanding book store in the area that I’ll make sure to check out!

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Interview with Aaron Newton

My friend Aaron was recently interviewed by a local news organization. The interview is below.

His new book, A Nation of Farmers, is coming out very soon.

Interview originally appeared here.

I can’t get the interview button to embed here so follow the link over and listen to what he has to say.

Year in Review About Books

If you remember a post I did at this time last year I put up a partial list of books I read in 2007 and challenged myself to read more classic literature books. Well, on my count I read 25 books that I would consider of a literature type. Some were on my list of best 100 novels of all time. Some weren’t. Late in the year I got hooked on David Morrell and Ken Follett books.

92 books read in 2008. I estimate somewhere around 50K pages. I plan to keep up my challenge to read more classic books this coming year. I’m currently reading Anna Karenina and War and Peace (along with others) so I’m getting off to a good start going into 2009.

The Hobbit-Tolkien
Better Home and Gardens Kitchen Planner
Main Street-Sinclair Lewis
1984
Slaughterhouse 5
The Winter of our Discontent (excellent)
The Grapes of Wrath (excellent)
How to Grow more Vegetables (again)
Animal Farm
Crime and Punishment
The Green up Guide to Home Improvement
Spiritual Compass
The Davis Dynasty
Tommyknockers
Cell (Stephen King)
Tortilla Flat (Steinback)
Lord of the Flies
Wild Fermentation
Chicken Tractor
Raising Chickens: A Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens
Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck)
The Unvanquished (Faulkner) (good though it had an abrupt ending)
Prozac Nation
The Next Rodeo
Being Caribou
A Guide to Building Community in America
A Handmade World (Kunstler) (very enjoyable, although male driven, you’re right Sharon)
Dave Ramsey’s Financial Independence
The Poisonwood Bible (excellent)
Sustainable Ethanol
The Transition Handbook
Gaia’s Garden (again)(excellent)
Shopping for Porcupine
How to Grow Stevia (pamphlet)
Stevia Recipes/Cookbook
Ecotopia Emerging (enjoyed)
Edge Cities
EcoTopia (enjoyed)
The Worst Hard Time
Band of Brothers (good)
In Defense of Food
Inside the 3rd Reich
Behind Japanese Lines: An American Guerilla in the Philippines
Gone with the Wind (excellent)
The Sound and the Fury (partway, quit, it’s hard to read)
Knights of Bushido (Japanese War Crimes from WWII)
To Kill a Mockingbird (excellent)
Humanure Handbook
East of Eaden (very good)
Neoeconomy (good)
What Happened? The Scott McClellen story of the Bush Administration
$1000 and an idea
Lasagna Gardening (very good)
Gods of War
Bag of Bones (Stephen King)
Catcher in the Rye
The Collectors
Franny and Zooey
Pleading Guilty
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (good)
Depletion and Abundance (good, but read most of it on Sharon’s blog. If you don’t read her blog buy her book.)
Reinventing Collapse (liked)
Eating Fossil Fuels
Black Like Me (dated but still powerful)
The Da Vinci Code (excellent)
Angels and Demons (very good)
Deception Point (other Dan Brown book)(good)
Odd Thomas
The Prodigal Summer (very good)
Forever Odd
Brother Odd (Koontz’s Odd Thomas series)
Creepers (good)
The Urban Homestead
The Pillars of the Earth (excellent)
World Without End (excellent) sequel to Pillars of the Earth
The Brotherhood of the Rose
Life in a medieval castle
Cedar Rapids: 100 years of history
Code to Zero
Growing food in small spaces
The Audacity of Hope (a policy book. Hard to read and a lot of rehash of his policies. He has good stuff in here but sadly some have already changed as he campaigned)
The Hit List
Jackdaws
The Hammer of Eden
Eye of the Needle
Lie down with Lions
The Fifth Profession
A Dangerous Fortune (I’ve been on a roll with Ken Follett and David Morrell books lately)
The Spy who came for Christmas
The Covenant of the Flame

Gone With The Wind-Best Book Ever?

Hold your hats folks, we have another contender for the best book I’ve ever read. I finished Gone with the Wind before all this flood mess started, but haven’t been able to write about it. Amazing book. Fantastic. Easily on par with The Grapes of Wrath for my favorite book of all time.

When I first started the book I thought it was bound to be a love story along the lines of a soap opera or something. But I gave it my requisite 100 pages and then I simply could not stop reading it. It’s an amazing story. The details the author put in about their adventures and what was happening around them are just breathtaking. Sooo much detail and information. And the tale of love mixed with society’s rules and written in a time period of such huge upheaval in a way of life.

I should have written this down when I finished the book, because now I can’t remember enough to really discuss it the way I want to, but this was such a great book. That’s all I can think of. Such a great book.

I checked out the Wiki page for this book too and some of the info about the author is incredible. This is the only book she ever wrote! And it took her 10 years! I can’t blame her for not writing another book after churning out 1K+ pages with this book. And before the age of computers when it was easy to edit them!

A Couple More Book Thoughts

While riding in a plane a few weeks back I had a lot of time to read some books. I thought I would mention them here.

In Defense of Food-Pollan’s new contribution to our food system was mostly disappointing. I think this was because he was on such a lofty pedestal after The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I thought this book was just plain awful. It was hard to read. It rehashed a ton of information that is already in the blogosphere, and it was not really that well written. Maybe I wasn’t the target audience, but I found myself skimming through it.

Edge Cities-I read about half of this before I gave up. This book was really, really, really dated. I think if read when it was new it would be a good book, and very informative, but now, it’s too dated. Practically all the information is irrelevant.

Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging-I enjoyed these books. Emerging is a prequel to Ecotopia. I thought it was much better. It was better written, more informative and more detailed. Some characters and subject lines weren’t even discussed in Ecotopia that get great levels of attention in Ecotopia Emerging. Either way, they are both interesting reads.  You should check them out.

Band of Brothers-This is the book I most enjoyed.  I like reading true military history, well, history books in general, and this one did not disappoint.  Very informative.  Great information about what it’s like to live life in the trenches.  What real soldiers are feeling when they go to war.  I think there are a few books that any new politician should be required to read, so they can understand how soldiers feel, and Band of Brothers is on this list now.  (On this list also is The Long Gray Line, We Were Soldiers, A Soldiers Story, Death March: The Survivors of Bataan as well as numerous books about D-Day.  I update these as I read books that I think would totally change a politicians view of war.  Most are written from the soldiers viewpoint and would make any normal person think twice about war for any reasons other than self defense.)  This is a good book.

(This is off the topic, but I read 1776 earlier this year or late last year, and it was a very good book.  Ambrose does a great job writing (Band of Brothers too) and he does great research.  I was amazed reading 1776 how many times our rebellion was at the edge of failing for want of materials and men.  And the shear numbers they were talking about needing.  10K men would field a huge army and most the time they were happy with a few thousand.)

I read another book too but I can’t remember it.  Sorry.  It must not have been that eventful.

Book update

I thought I would take a second to update you all on my book adventures. The year is a quarter of the way over and here is my list of books I’ve read so far this year, along with a few quick thoughts.

Books read in 2008

The Hobbit-Tolkien

Better Home and Gardens Kitchen Planner

Main Street-Sinclair Lewis (very good)

1984

Slaughterhouse 5

The Winter of our Discontent (excellent)

The Grapes of Wrath (excellent)

How to Grow more Vegetables (again)

Animal Farm

Crime and Punishment

The Green up Guide to Home Improvement

Spiritual Compass

The Davis Dynasty

Tommyknockers

Cell (Stephen King)

Tortilla Flat (Steinback)

Lord of the Flies

Wild Fermentation

Chicken Tractor

Raising Chickens: A Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens

Of Mice and Men (Steinbeck)

The Unvanquished (Faulkner) (good though it had an abrupt ending)

Prozac Nation

The Next Rodeo

Being Caribou (fantastic)

A Guide to Building Community in America

A Handmade World (Kunstler) (very good)

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Independence (something like that)

The Poisonwood Bible (excellent)

Currently reading

Sustainable Ethanol

The Sound and the Fury

The Transition Handbook

War and Peace

I’m really enjoying this challenge I’ve given myself. I look forward to continuing it for the rest of this year and more years going forward.

Poisonwood Bible

I just finished reading the Poisonwood Bible and I have to tell you it’s a great book. It’s written by Barbara Kingsolver, who also wrote a locavore favorite, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I don’t want to give away the plot of the book, but it involves a family of missionaries, Congo (now known at Zaire), civil war, political involvement, children and a startling look at poverty and how your judgment is developed based on your life experiences. There is also a very strong political message about America’s involvement with the rest of the world.

Check it out if you get a chance. Since I started reading some of the classic literature books (this one is on the list although it’s fairly new) this one is a very close second to Grapes of Wrath for my favorite books.