Books from January

I started to get into the habit of jotting down a short review of each book after I read them and storing it in my drafts folder. Makes publishing at the end of the month easy. Until you get hacked and lose everything.

If you followed me here from TheEcoGrandma, my blog that was hacked, you may recall I used Oyster, a subscription service to have access to unlimited books. When they closed down the beginning of January my plan was to read free ebooks only. Ya, that ended real soon.  Finding quality books offered for free was harder than I thought it would be.   I broke down and signed up with Scribd, another subscription service offering unlimited number of books for $8.99 a month.

This may be my favorite post to write each month because you in return provide me with excellent suggestions for further reading.

Here’s what I read in January.


kondoI’ll start with The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I did quite an extensive review of this on its own, sorry that along with your wonderful comments is lost forever, so briefly I’ll just say I did adopt the clothes folding method and after a month find it works well for me. Marie is a bit over the top when it comes to organizing. Shall we say obsessive compulsive? I do find her way of decluttering to be better suited to my personality than other methods but overall, I don’t see what makes this book, or the method, life-changing.


epicurean simplicityI moved next to Epicurean Simplicity by Stephanie Mills.  The writing style after reading Kondo’s book threw me and I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this. The style is a cross between an academic lecture and poetic, but enjoy it I did so much I would say this is one of my favorite books of the last few months.  Mills made news back in 1969, when in her college commencement speech she announced she would not have children because she was concerned with the impact over population would have on the world. And she never had children, if you were wondering.  The book is broken down into seasons rather than chapters with a personal story of her lifestyle in that season as the introduction to that section.  Mills, writes from the perspective of one deeply worried about her environmental footprint and her efforts to live simply to reduce her impact but takes great pains in her writing to show that while we can be sorrowful for the environmental damage, or challenges we face, there is much beauty available to us if we are aware and take the opportunity to appreciate them.


need is lessAll You Need is Less: The Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green living and Stress-free Simplicity by Madeleine Sumerville is quite a mouthful of a title. I had this in paperback and decided to reread it to decide if it should be donated with other books this month. Every time I look at that title I think Ms. Sumerville was trying to use every keyword possible to get her book noticed on searches.  That aside, this is a nice little book for the person about to embark on the journey of greening their home. I kept it because there were some great recipes for cleaning products but realized there were only a couple I would use. I copied those down and passed the book on.    The recipes I held on to included her Stinky Dog Spray (which is safe enough to use on both furniture and the dog) and her Magic Tea Drink for colds.  If you aren’t new to green living and making your own cleaners you may want to pass on this one.

It was a short month for completed books.

These are the books I’m currently reading


harold fryThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. This was recommended to me by both Joy (Joyfully Green) and Christy (The Simple White Rabbit) I’m only 11% into this book but find it intriguing. Harry Fry, retired and lost from the lack of purpose, receives a letter from a woman he used to work with telling him she’s dying of cancer. He pens a short note to her and leaves his house to mail the letter.  He enjoys the walk down the block to the mailbox so much he decides to walk to the next, and the next and the next. By the end of the day he decides he’s going to walk to see his friend, hundreds of miles away.  He phones the hospice where she’s staying and leaves a message telling her she has to hold on until he arrives, giving her a reason to keep living and him, a reason to keep walking.


mcdougallThe Digestive Tune Up by Dr. McDougall.  Dr. McDougall, one of the first authors I found who showed me food can be our medicine, wrote this book to explain how the digestive system works and take us to the next step in health.


wholeWhole by T.Colin Campbell.  T. Colin Campbell wrote the now-famous book The China Study which compiled the information he learned about diet from a ten year study of how diet affected the health of several communities in China. This is a follow up book to The China Study. I’m not far into this and so far what I’ve read is a summary of The China Study.

Tell me, please, what are you reading?




  1. I love your reviews even though I’m generally too lazy for books. The only reading I’ve done recently is the WordPress help files! Seriously, one of my sites uses WordPress, and for a lot of reasons I’d let it get ridiculously out of date… so much so that upgrading was not a simple issue. But your hacking experience scared me into getting my proverbial rear end in gear! While there is still much work to be done, it has at least been upgraded to the most recent version of WordPress!

    In other news, CatMan and I are still working our way through a hideously long Spanish language book called “el Anticuario” by Julian Sanchez. It’s supposed to be a compelling murder mystery, but we’ve been whittling away at it for several years now and honestly at this point I could care less who done it, I just want it to be OVER! Alas, I fear there is a sequel that CatMan has his heart set on. Sigh. It’s one of those books with so many characters that you can’t keep them straight… with sub-plot upon sub-plot…. all made worse by the fact that it’s set in Barcelona, where many people speak Catalan rather than Spanish, so understanding it is slow and difficult. Anyhow, I wouldn’t rush out to find the English translation if I were you!


    • I’m glad something good came out of my being hacked. Just be careful because I had the latest version of WordPress installed too. I had set it up for automatic upgrades and received notices every time it was upgraded. I’ve been lazy about backing up my blogs but maybe this will teach me.

      I love murder mysteries but I think I’ll pass on the one you are reading. I tend to read multiple books simultaneously so all those sub plots would seriously confuse me coming back to it. You’ve mentioned before you and CatMan read the Spanish versions even when an English version is available, is that because you enjoy them more?


      • Well, I’m sure that the “issues” I have with that book are exacerbated by the fact that we’re reading it in Spanish, so it takes us a loooong time to plow through it – which makes it harder to keep track of the characters and sub-plots. But reading in Spanish is sorta the point for us because we’re really doing it to further our language skills. We started with children’s books and have been working our way up to the adult level. This book was also written in Spanish so it’s always fun to read things in their native language.

        I’m keeping my fingers crossed with WordPress – hopefully if anything ever goes wrong I’ll be able to put on my geek hat and figure out how to restore the backup that I make each day!


        • Maybe I should have hired you to see if you could fix the website for practice I hope you’ll never need.

          That’s actually a good idea to read books in a foreign language to learn it. I used to speak some Spanish and found I could read it better than converse in it. I was also never able to roll my R’s so pronunciation was a problem. I’ve since given up on Spanish. I did consider learning German when my son was studying it and teaching his children some of it. He used Rosetta Stone, which is a great software, I used it for teaching foreign language to my boys when we home schooled.


  2. Glad I found you Lois. When I click on your name from a comment on my blog, it just takes me to the message that you got hacked. I got this address from your comment to Cat. Anyway, caught up with reading what you’ve been up to and it looks like you’ve been busy as usual.

    I’m reading “Making Money” by Terry Pratchett. I don’t know if you’ve read Terry Pratchett but he was a very clever and witty writer. This book is a satire on the banking system and takes place in his imaginary Disc World which combines humans and golems and elves. It is a fun read and has something to quote from almost every page.


    • Thanks for letting me know there’s still a problem with my google sign in. Yes, still busy here as usual. 🙂

      I did hear about the Disc World books but haven’t read any. Hearing you are enjoying it I’ve moved it further up on my list to read.


  3. My reading pleasure seems to gear towards escapism. End of the world stuff, zombies, survival stories, etc. I joined GoodReads years ago but visit only occasionally. This year I set a goal on GoodReads to read a certain number of books – my goal was apparently too low since I had no idea how many books I usually read. I do read some self help titles, but when I sit down to ready or to listen to an audio book, I usually want to be entertained only.

    I think I find interest in the apocalyptic books because often they describe how a character survives and evolves without all the 21 century stuff. You might enjoy titles like that. One theme is EMP – electromagnetic pulse. Basically is it a transient electromagnetic disturbance that may be the result of a natural occurrence or a man-made one that can disrupt or damage electronic equipment. Apparently some nuclear devices could cause this effect if ignited in above the earth’s atmosphere. How true this is – I don’t know, but it makes for a great survival story – and yes, the characters do without a whole lot – plus it points out just how fragile our society is once the structures of law and order or reduced or eliminated. Just good adventure – while seeing how one can “live without.”


    • I too enjoy a good apocalyptic book. I read a couple a month or two ago and shared the titles at the time. One was EMP a book I downloaded for free from Amazon, I found it interesting and enjoyed how the people worked together. I found some of the scenarios a bit forced such as how they ran off the invaders but overall it was a good book. The other, which was better was One Second After by William Forstchen a very well researched book. I also enjoy a good science fiction book but newer books in this genre bug me because they must be written in a predefined format to be classified sci-fi. I move back and forth between wanting to be entertained and wanting to learn from my books. Keeps things interesting. 🙂


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