Friday, December 12, 2008

Well, you all know that I am a vegetarian who loves to cook and experiment; I am into yoga; and I enjoy knitting. I thought that these three things would be descriptive enough and give me lots of blogging topics, but I neglected to mention the very heart of what I am: I am a reader! Yes, it's true, I always have my nose in a book. My house is loaded with overflowing book shelves. There are piles of books on my nightstand and on the floor next to my bed. I have a huge list of books on request from the library. My Amazon wish list is long and evolving and ever-changing. I read everything from cover to cover, including cookbooks and knitting books. Everything. VERY RARELY to I not finish a book, and it's a sad day when I give up on one. That's not to say that I don't have many books in my pile that I've been reading for years. Yes, YEARS! I just put a bookmark in them and pick them up when the urge strikes!

So, I thought I'd share a few of my current reads with you, in no particular order:

1. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Cooking by Beverly Lynn Bennett and Ray Sammartano
This book is great! Lots of basics and mostly recipes. My favorite features are the "extras," which are little tips, explanations, definitions, and pitfall alerts. I always learn something new! There are some soups I must try.

2. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD
I love science and I love learning more about how the human body works. The first half of the book explains heart disease in great detail. Dr. Esselstyn has done a study on reversing it using diet and nutrition. The diet is VERY strict, vegan with absolutely no added fat and no high fat foods, but it sure beats open heart surgery. The second half of the book is recipes.

3. Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan
Sort of combines knitting and science! (and/or math... but don't let that scare you away!! Norah does the math for you!) Norah has a biology degree AND an art degree and she combines the two in her knitting in amazing ways. In this book, all of her patterns are inspired by nature and I am just fascinated by reading about the creative and innovative ways she uses different stitches to make unusual shapes. Beautiful!

4. Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard
I mentioned this one before; still working on it. Wendy has designed a bunch of sweaters, nearly all worked in the round, top down, no seams! She has a ton of advice about how to achieve the perfect fit, which I hope will be helpful! I'm trying to choose the sweater I will knit after I finish my Christmas knitting...

5. The Yin Yoga Kit: The Practice of Quiet Power by Biff Mithoefer
Trying to expand my yoga repertoire! I took a yin yoga class with Sarah Powers and it was truly life-changing for me. In yin yoga, you practice poses which specifically address the bones and connective tissues of the body, mainly between the navel and the knees. (as opposed to "regular" or yang yoga, which focuses more on the muscles.) This book and kit comes with practice cards, which allows me to choose one of two yin poses to add to my practice. This is such an over-simplified explanation; ask me if you want to know more!

6. Indigo Dying by Susan Wittig Albert
(heavy sigh.) Oh, I just love these books!! Yes, I always have some cookbooks in the pile, and knitting, and yoga, but the true loves of my books are the mysteries! Oh, I dabble in historical fiction and popular non-fiction, but give me a good mystery and a cup of tea and I'm all set. Indigo Dying is the 11th book in the China Bayles mystery series. Yes, I am a bit late to the China Bayles tea party, but Susan is still writing the series and I am delighted. China Bayles was a high-powered Houston lawyer, but she woke up one morning and quit her job and bought an herb shop in a small Texas town. Somehow, there is always a mystery for China to solve, often with the help of her best friend, new age fanatic Ruby, and/or her partner, ex-cop Mike McQuaid. I don't want to give too much away!

When I read fiction, especially mysteries, I want something that is smart, well-written, thoughtful. I like character development, especially throughout a series. I like real-life situations, suitable to the time period of the novel. I really dislike series where the plot and theme are the same within every book. The China Bayles series is just about perfect! You get characters you really care about; fun and interesting plots and mysteries; all around good reads! You don't HAVE to read them in order, but you should.

To add even more to the books, Susan loads them with lore and facts about herbs. She has all sorts of folk-loric medicines and even recipes! If you are an herb lover, you must read these books! Once you get addicted, you can visit Susan's websites and blogs and sign up for her newsletters, which are well-written and full of fun facts about writing, about all of Susan's books, about Susan's life (which, ahem, includes knitting:-) and more about herbs.

No, I'm not affiliated in any way; I just really enjoy reading this series. I bet you will too!!

Back to Christmas shopping....

No comments: