Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Year End & Winter Reads

It has been a long year: with two gardens, a full-time job and starting graduate school I have not found much time for blogging. I am also on the Montana Book Award committee, which has kept me from reading my mainstays of gardening, alternative architecture, brain research, and cooking books. While I cannot comment on nominated award books until after judging in February, I can tell you that Montana has a lot of fantastic writing coming out right now! I am pleasantly surprised at the variety of subject-matter, especially since it will contribute nicely to my Dewey Lunatic Project.

At present, the books I am reading over the winter that aren't award nominees are short and/or related to function more than enjoyment. I won't bore you with the travel guides I have out for ALA Midwinter in Seattle (although you can expect a Seattle-planning post some time soon). Here's a list of some other things I have been reading:

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn - The author of previous favorites Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter and the absolutely awesome Shelter, Kahn's books are always full of beautiful pictures of alternative building projects that make me so envious I could die. Tiny Homes is no exception. Kahn's Shelter may be the book that got me interested in alternative architecture in the first place when I first acquired it as a teenager. Tiny Homes would have done the same thing, had it existed. An oversize format, back stories of the architects and builders, and, again, fantastic photos of fantastic tiny homes all over the nation made me skip the library and go straight to buying this one. 

Imitations by Robert Lowell - Ah, poetry. It is what you can read when you don't have much time and just need a little bit of something (hopefully) good. I re-read Imitations recently since I am a fan of confessional poetry and had not picked it up for a while. Perhaps because it is a re-read or perhaps because I am older, I don't feel like Lowell has the same impact as he once did. Some of the poems feel inaccessible and impersonal, unlike Plath and Sexton who still blow me away with their deeply personal work. It was good to re-read, though. I particularly enjoy the poem, The Landlord.

In progress: Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen by Amy Pennington - Small and short, I picked this book up from the library and was pleased with its brevity and functionality. It is mainly a short cookbook, but it focuses on using the ingredients you often keep in the pantry along with seasonal eating opportunities. A lot of the recipes are basic and some are preserving recipes. I also enjoyed the tips on what should be in your pantry, since I always feel like I am one ingredient short of the meal I am trying to make. I will say, though, that her suggestions in the "Wine, Vinegar & Booze" section ask for more than I am likely to provide since cognac is not usually on my shopping list. The other lists seem more reasonable. Or maybe I should start cooking with more cognac?

Just Started: The First Twenty Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer by Gretchen Reynolds - Recommended by my mother, I am intrigued by Reynolds' coverage on exercise research and what that means for working out correctly. Like The Science of Yoga, which I read earlier this year, I like knowing what the research says so that I am making good choices with my workouts.