More Books I Have Read This Year

Okay, Cordelia is napping and Delphine is busy with Charlie and Lola and I am for once not too tired to move, so allow me to type a list of all the books I have read but not yet posted about, and perhaps even discuss one or two.

Books About Technical Stuff

Making the Most of Kitchens by Gilly Love. I read this before the reno when we were still trying to figure out what we were going to do. It wasn't really all that useful because I had pretty much made all the big decisions, and we didn't have that much flexibility in terms of layout anyway. However, if I hadn't thought about what kind of countertop I wanted or whether wood floors were a good idea, this book might have come in useful. It had lots of pictures of different kitchens for decorating inspiration.

The fact that it was an English book was a little weird at times; she tries to talk you into refrigerating things. Now there's an idea!

The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams is a very useful overview for non-designers who none-the-less find themselves having to design or judge the design of letters, newsletters, logos, business cards, posters, banners, and so on. If, like me, you know what you like but you don't know why, or (worse) you know what you don't like but don't know how to fix it, this book is a must-read.

Williams breaks design down into four simple principles (contrast, repetition, proximity, and alignment) and then explains how to apply them to make your documents more attractive and powerful while never overlooking the most important thing, communication.

If I'm ever in a position where I have to create documents I will definitely have a copy of this book on my shelf.

Vegetable Gardening From Planting to Picking: The Complete Guide to Creating a Bountiful Garden by Fern Marshall Bradley and Jane Courtier and some other, slightly thinner but equally useful vegetable gardning book which I read rather belatedly this June and July. My garden is doing, frankly, rather dismally. I just brought a foot long zucchini home from my friend Tanya's garden, while my zucchini plant has one little three-inch fruit on it. Honestly, who can't grow a zucchini? But according to these books I should have spent a lot more time and effort preparing the earth before planting, and I definitely need to water, fertilize and weed more. Maybe at all. Yes, there isn't really anything I did right this year, but the lovely thing about gardening is you can always try again next year.

The books cover everything from planning your garden (another thing I didn't really do) to harvesting and preserving your crops, as well as giving specific growing and harvesting instructions for a variety of fruit and vegetables. The only problem I had was that the books were written for all of North America, so I had to selectively ignore advice about things like okra and peanuts which will never grow in good old Zone 5. I wonder if there's a good Ontario vegetable gardening book. (I bet the library would know!)

Books for Fun

The Rabbi's Girls by Johanna Hurwitz. I picked this up off the young adult rack at the library because I am interested in juvenile literature with Jewish content, if only to know what to steer the girls towards when they get older and want some context about their own personal history. This is a novel about a family that moves around the US midwest (? I think, I can't exactly remember) as their rabbi father is shunted from community to community (parish? I'm sure that's not the word!) It was a nice light read, I can't complain.

Does Anything Eat Wasps? And 101 Other Questions by New Scientist. This is a collection of questions and answers from New Scientist's Last Word page (okay, I'm making that up, I can't remember the name of their last page) where people send in their perplexing sciency questions and other people take a stab at answering them. This was the first book I read after we came up for air after the reno, and it was a nice easy way to get back into using my brain again. There's plenty of interesting stuff in here, but of course my favourite thing was the question about why some people sound better than others when they sing.

Okay, I only have three books to go, but Delphine would like me to play with her so off I go! Maybe Blake will hurt himself again and post about it.


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