Two Books About Compost

I just started making compost in my backyard, and because I can't scratch my nose without intensive research, I took a couple books out of the library. Both named Compost.

Compost by Ken Thompson is a glossy, beautifully produced little book published by the always-extravagant DK. As well as being gorgeously designed and illustrated, it's simple, to-the-point and includes everything you need to know to get started composting. It's thorough and scientific, yet readable and above all, encouraging.

Compost by Clare Foster covers about the same material as the Thompson, but it's much dryer, preachier, and lacks the pretty pictures.

I also re-read Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner for the non-fiction book club at the library. (What is that book, like, four years old? It would be nice to read something newer in the book club.) It was good to reread this, especially having read Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn which addresses the issue of incentives. The Steves talk about how everything can be explained by incentives, but then give some examples which have clearly been disproven, as shown in Kohn's book. That doesn't affect the plausibility of the Steves' arguments, though, because despite talking about incentives in the introduction they don't lean on them much throughout the book.

I liked this book the second time as much as I liked it the first time. I relish the use of data to understand the world in ways which are contrary to popular wisdom, whether it's called economics or statistics or sociology.


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