Book Review – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

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I have just finished reading the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.  I had seen it mentioned at times on the Simple Savings forum but there was no real detail of what it is about so I had forgotten about it until recently when I finally remembered to download it to my Kindle.

This book was first published in 2007 and documents the attempts of one family to eat mostly local food for a full year.  It is a substantial book and full to the brim with detail and information so is definitely not a light read.  I think I will need to read it a few times to extract the maximum benefit from it.

I found some of the detail quite confronting at times, especially the descriptions of CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) and the harvesting of the chickens and turkeys which they raised for meat.  This is not necessarily a bad thing as it forces us to examine our feelings about how our food is produced.  Out of sight should not mean out of mind.

Although it is written from a North American perspective there are many universal truths for everyone, no matter where you live.  By the time I had finished the book I was inspired with renewed enthusiasm to seek out as much local produce as possible.

During the course of the year, they travelled to Italy and also on a road trip north from Virginia, through Vermont and into Canada.  The local food that they ate and people encountered makes fascinating reading.

I also intend to apply the same principles to the food we eat during our upcoming trip to the USA.  Since we will be in the north-east states during late summer we will have an excellent choice of fresh food.  One of the things we had planned to look for is Farmers’ Markets in the cities and farm gate sales in the more rural areas.  My goal is to eat as much locally-sourced, organic and unpackaged food as possible while we are away but more about that another time.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle contains numerous recipes based on seasonal produce which are also available on their website.

The book contains an engaging mix of passion, theory, humour and science related to a topic which is the essence of every one of us – our food.

I would strongly recommend that you read ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ and take the time to really think about what you are eating and how it came to be on your plate.

Module and Launch

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No , it is not the space shuttle!

I do not wear make-up every day but this afternoon I was going out and planned to put some on, so it was a simple matter of retrieving the module containing my make-up from the drawer of the bathroom cabinet.  Here it is.

Make-up module

Yes, this is my entire make-up collection.

In her book on minimalism, ‘The Joy of Less’, Francine Jay talks about setting limits on the amount of stuff you have and one way of doing this is to create modules.  My make-up module was simply a matter of putting my current streamlined supplies into a container, however, it will help me to maintain a small collection now that it is contained.

Since we do not yet have a bathroom mirror I was able to easily pick up the container and take the whole lot into my bedroom to use the mirror there and then return the module to where it belongs in the bathroom.  No fuss, no searching and no time wasted which suits me perfectly.

Now to the second part of the title – Launch.

I went to the Queensland launch of Rhonda Hetzel’s simple living book, ‘Down to Earth’ at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre this evening.  I had bought my book about 3 weeks ago and it is well on the way to being a much-loved reference book in my home.  You can read my review in a previous post here.  There was a good crowd of interested and enthusastic people and I really hope that this is just the beginning of more people making a real effort to simplify their lives and reap the benefits.

Book Review – Down to Earth

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Since I have begun to look seriously at the stuff we own I consider every purchase we make carefully.  Books are no exception and this has been particularly so since I bought my Kindle about a year ago.

However, last week I bought a new book.  It is ‘Down to Earth’ by Rhonda Hetzel.  Rhonda writes the blog of the same name and you can check it out here.  When I first started reading Rhonda’s blog about a year ago, she made reference to the book she was writing and I dismissed any thoughts of buying it as the blog had heaps of information.  How could there be anything new? Besides, I really didn’t not want another book to take up space in my house.

006After seeing a copy of the book, I was convinced it was worthwhile and would make an excellent reference book.  This was not a knee-jerk reaction and after due consideration I purchased it at Rosetta Books in Maleny.  This is our local bookshop and it is where Rhonda will be a guest for the Queensland book launch on Wednesday 14th March.

The book is 325 pages of wisdom bound into a linen-look, hardcover volume measuring 18.5cm x 23.5cm.  It is an easy-to-handle size resource which I will use frequently.  The information is presented in a logical format with a comprehensive table of contents.

007Rhonda has written a well-rounded guide to simple living suitable for all ages and stages.  The title of one section is ‘Ages and Stages’ which explains, with outstanding clarity, the relevance of simple living during various decades of our adult life.

This is not a glossy coffee table book, it is a gentle, honest guide to the benefits and value of simple living through one woman’s eyes.

008I would commend this book to anyone who is interested in simplifying their life.  Whether you are well along the way or merely contemplating embarking on the journey, there is value in this book.  As Rhonda says on the first page,

“I was pulled into simple living before I knew what it was.  It crept up on me using the smallest of steps and didn’t reveal its true beauty and real power until I was totally hooked.  I was searching for a way to live well while spending very little money.  What I found was a way of life that also gave me independence, opportunity and freedom.”

Come and be hooked, too.

Another Book

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Tonight I want to tell you a little about a book I read recently. It is an ebook which I found at Extra Organized, by Kim Woodland.  No disrespect to my American friends but it is refreshing to read an organising book written by an Australian author.

The sub-title of the book is, “How to use the best of organizing to shape a meaningful life”.  This sums up the essence of the book beautifully.  Organising is not about buying more boxes to put things in.  It is about using your organising skills to manage all facets of your life and really living your life today, in the here and now.

I love the simplicity and clarity of purpose used in the book.  I have read the book twice so far and I know it will continue to be a reference and source of inspiration for me.

If you are interested in organising to make a real difference in your attitude to your possessions and relationships I would thoroughly recommend this book.  Just pop over to her blog to find out more.

A Book Review

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As I promised some time ago, I wanted to give my thoughts on a book I have read recently.  It is ‘Simplify’ by Joshua Becker who also writes the blog, Becoming Minimalist.

I have the book on my Kindle and have now read it 3 times.  Why did I read it 3 times, you ask?  I kept looking for a blinding flash of inspiration but it was not there for me.  This is a straightforward little volume that contains many good, solid ideas for setting out on the road to minimalism.  I just couldn’t get excited about it like I did with ‘The Joy of Less’.  I spent $2.99 on the Kindle edition so it will not break the bank, nor add any more clutter to my bookshelf so I do not regret getting ‘Simplify’.

I have taken a bit of a look at the blog which Joshua writes and I find the offerings on the blog of more value to me.

Have you read ‘Simplify’?  Do you have a minimalism book?  Look forward to your thoughts.