Library Column for July 29, 2022

@ Your Library

The end of July is rapidly approaching. I need to spend more time outside before the outside hurts my face. Here are a handful of books that I hope will help me go outside. Return to Nature: the new science of how natural landscapes restore us by Emma Loewe, blends new research with ancient knowledge about the healing properties of landscape, making a powerful case for going outside for our health and the planet’s. A very similar goal aimed at parent’s is Finding Ecohappiness: fun nature activities to help your kids feel happier and calmer by Sandi Schwartz. The first book is aimed at helping adults get back outside and includes activities that can be done in 5 minutes, an hour and then longer. The second book focuses on activities that can be done with children or by children. Many activities in both books could be done by both adults and children. The point is to get outside and appreciate the physical environment in which we live.

Take a more active role in the outside environment and garden with Plant Grow Harvest Repeat: grow a bounty of vegetables, fruits and flowers by mastering the art of succession planting by Meg McAndrews Cowden. Carefully plan continuous seed sowing and get a steady stream of fresh food and flowers from spring to fall. The detailed seasonal sowing charts are wonderful and includes lots of ways to maximize space and time.

Finally, a history book about the Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota. Hard Work and a Good Deal by Barbara W. Sommer makes me want to go on a road trip and visit what remains of the 148 camps that housed over 77,000 men in need of work and the jobs they did to improve life in Minnesota.

Memoirs and biographies can be fascinating, riveting reads or I can be left with a feeling of ‘who cares.’ Growing up I had a fascination with Houdini and read everything I could find about him. When the new book The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini by Joe Posnanski arrived I couldn’t wait. Why do we continue to care and be fascinated by a man who died almost 100 years ago? Posnanski, also obsessed with the magician shares his journey to figure out why Houdini endures and what he can still teach us about wonder. I’m not a fan of heights, but In the Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado provided a look at what drives some people to climb.

Not quite sure how we ended up buying two new histories of medieval Europe, but we did and both are very interesting. The Bright Ages by Matthew Gabriele and David M. Perry re-examine both the beauty and the horrors of the 1,000 years beginning in the year 430 on the east coast of Italy. The Middle Ages: a graphic history  by Eleanor Janega and Neil Max Emmanuel also reexamines what we think we know and what we can learn from life then.

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