Books– Houseplants are addictive and with such a variety of different species, colors and looks, it’s hard to pick just one. To help manage my plant addiction, I’ve started to experiment with propagating my current houseplants. This way, I still get more plants, but my wallet is a bit happier. I’ve taken stem and leaf clippings from a healthy “mother” plant and use various methods to help them grow roots and turn into new plants. The following books provide great introductions to the joys and challenges of plant propagation. Welcome to the Propagation Station!
Root, Nurture, Grow : The Essential Guide to Propagating and Sharing Houseplants by Caro Langton
The photographs in Root, Nurture, Grow are beautiful and definitely Instagram-worthy. I appreciated the very informative “Indoor Plant Propagation Table” which showcases the most common types of plants and instructs on the best propagation method to use for each one. This book also discusses grafting, a process I find quite intimidating. This is commonly seen on cacti that possess brightly colored tops on a green base–two different plants cut and grafted together that create a whole new work of art.
I love the term “plant parent.” I like this book because it covers so many varieties of plants, including vegetables and flowers. I was in awe of the plethora of different methods that can be used to propagate plants and grow your garden, from planting seeds to water rotting, to stem and leaf cuttings. Each method included detailed instructions with plenty of photos. This is the perfect read for anyone starting out with plant propagation.
Book – Author Laurie Halse Anderson first gained notoriety in 1999 for her novel Speak, which won numerous awards and honors and is rightfully considered a modern classic in Young Adult literature. In Speak high school freshman Melinda deals with great personal trauma all the while being ostracized by her peers. I highly recommend reading the original novel, if you haven’t already.
In 2018, the Graphic Novel Speak illustrated by Emily Carroll received strong reviews owing to its meaningful remake for established fans and introducing new readers to the story.
20 years after the publication of Speak, Anderson releases Shout – a powerful memoir in free verse. Here, she shares deeply of her complicated relationship with her parents, personal experiences with sexual assault and sexual harassment, and the reactions shared by readers over the years. Shout comes on the heels of last year’s #metoo and #timesup movements promoting awareness of the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault. Anderson is not a new voice in this conversation. Since the publication of Speak, she has advocated for open conversations about sexual assault.
Shout is a quick and powerful read and will interest fans who want to see how Anderson’s experiences found their ways into her books and learn more about her life as an author. Those interested in delving into the issues of sexual assault and harassment, will find jumping off points for thoughts and discussions.
Book – I’m so glad we added the adorable, simple, feel-good book for plant addicts, Crazy Plant Lady by Isabel Serna to our library collection. As a Crazy Cactus Lady, I 100% relate to, and appreciate, the comics and characterization of the obsessive gardener.
Serna defines “Crazy Plant Lady” as:
A woman who has an insane, almost addictive love for plants.
A woman who has 10 or more plants and gives them names, talks to them, and thinks of them as her children.
A woman who finds pure happiness in her plants.
To which I would respond:
Yes, I have been called a crazy plant lady (which is really more of a compliment).
Currently, I have more than 25 succulents and cacti. My big ole’ spiky Golden Barrel Cactus is named Chunk. I’ve read that plants respond well to positivity and encouragement (I think Ikea experimented being kind vs. mean to plants). They are my little fuzzy, spiky, leafy family.
There’s nothing like watching your plants grow, propagate their leaves and watch their babies start anew. I love to spread the joy and often coerce my family to come and see the newest little fuzzball propagate on my “Bunny Ear” Cactus.
The illustrations in this book are so bright and colorful, each page detailing new insight into the life and habits of a crazy plant lady, a page-turner for every plant lover.
So why did I read self-help if it didn’t, well help? Like eating chocolate cake or watching old episodes of Friends, I read self-help for comfort. These books acknowledge the insecurities and anxieties I felt but was always too ashamed to talk about. They made my personal angst seem like a normal part of being human. Reading them made me feel less alone.
After the “worst hangover ever,” and realizing she is desperately unhappy, Marianne embarks on the ultimate journey of self-discovery: she will read one self-help book per month for an entire year and each month follow the author’s advice to a “T”. From facing her fears (skydiving and posing nude for an art class) to using Rejection Therapy to face her social anxieties, she hopes to find happiness and fulfillment. Unprepared for the stress and depression that accompany her journey, she is determined to see the project through. With humor and honesty, Marianne shares a deeply intimate and emotional examination of her life, which is therapeutic and relatable.
Book – You can absolutely judge a book by its cover, because I knew as soon as I saw this one that it was going to 1) be incredibly grotesque, 2) talk about one of my favorite historical topics (strange things people used to believe about the human body), and 3) contain exploding teeth. I’m horrified by the very thought, I had to read it.
This is a delightful collection of grotesque and horrifying stories about the strange things people used to believe about the human body, including, yes, exploding teeth. (Maybe. The author suggests some possible alternative explanations.) It covers everything from heroic and unlikely surgeries (saving lives by pinching blood vessels closed with bare hands!) to unlikely and undoubtedly worthless inventions (the tapeworm trap, which you were supposed to bait with cheese, swallow, and then pull out of your throat using the included string). This book is not for the weak of stomach, but if you’ve ever wanted to be enjoyably grossed out by medical history for a while, it’s a fun option. If you’d prefer to be grossed out by medical history in audio form, try the podcast Sawbones, which covers many of the same topics, hosted by a husband-and-wife comedian-and-doctor team.
Books—The 57 Bus is a “ripped from the headlines,” true story of one teenager lighting another’s clothes on fire on a public bus in Oakland. Author and journalist Dashka Slater goes beyond the headlines to present the story and characters in great detail and nuance.
Sasha is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and does not identify as male or female, instead using the pronoun “they.” Sasha has supportive parents and goes to a school where they have many friends, but on the public bus ride across Oakland from school back home Sasha’s skirt is lit on fire by Richard. How will this affect Sasha, their family, friends, and community?
Richard’s actions were unquestionably intentional. Sasha spent weeks in the hospital having painful surgeries in an to attempt to repair the burns. Should sixteen-year-old Richard be charged with a hate crime in addition to the obvious charges he faces? Should he be tried as an adult or a juvenile? What are the potential ramifications of these decisions?
I am not good at remembering the specifics of books and movies, nor do I remember the lyrics to many songs. (You really don’t want me on your trivia team.) I like most of the books I read, but ask me to recall the plot and characters a few months later, and we’ll be lucky if I can extract much information.
It’s too early to tell since I only recently read The 57 Bus, but I think my recall of it will be different. The characters and plot are memorable. The journalistic treatment of the story—seeing the perspectives of friends and family of both teens, in addition to getting a glimpse into the workings of the juvenile justice system, made this book a well-rounded and thought-provoking read.
Books – Try one, or all, of these books today to learn a unique craft! From paper plants, to buttons and badges, to cat-lovers projects galore, we’ve got you covered with these crafty books full of DIY ideas!
If you’re a fan of Origami or other paper crafts, check out Handmade Houseplants and create beautiful works of art for all your favorite houseplants, even cacti and succulents! All of the different plant projects are so beautiful and I always enjoy finding new ways to show my plant love. Use the designs to create your own handmade greeting cards to share with friends and family, too.
Feeling the need to jazz up a jean jacket, or make crafty accessories to wear and share? Take home Tiny Stitches : Buttons, Badges, Patches, and Pins to Embroider and learn to stitch and sew to your hearts content! There’s something for everyone in this book full of metal pins embellished with embroidery, to patches of all shapes and sizes, and more!
Find super cute projects to show your love of cats! Learn new skills, including embroidery and sewing to create tons of things to wear and share. From badges, to bags and purses, to doorstops and pillows, this book has a project for everyone!
Book List– A plethora of trending diets seeking to soothe symptoms of digestive disorders and create happier stomachs, includes the Low-Fodmap Diet. FODMAPs – Fermentable Oligosaccharide (mainly Fructose), Disaccharide (mainly Lactose), Mono-saccharides and Polyols (mainly certain fruits & vegetables) are carbohydrates seen by health ‘experts,’ as poorly absorbed by the small intestine and trigger digestive symptoms.
Beat Your Bloat : Recipes and Exercises to Promote Digestive Health by Maeve Madden covers general digestive issues, gives detailed information on specific disorders, and treatment diets, including Low-FODMAPS. In addition to introducing a stomach-friendly diet plan with recipes, this book incorporates exercise-specifically yoga in treating symptoms. As a super-fan of yoga, I highly appreciated this aspect of the book.
What a perfect title – one that inspires hope! This book includes a detailed quiz to best match symptoms to specific disorders and delves into those conditions in each chapter. I found this helpful to analyze specific symptoms, learn their possible causes, and treatments.
Lori explores her personal experiences from the point of view of as therapist and patient. The concept of therapists seeking therapy for themselves was one I had never before considered. This prompted me to question how we, as a society view therapists. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is insightful, deep, thought-provoking and shows therapists in a different light. At the base we are all human beings, but as a people who pay others to provide a service, she demonstrates a unique lens in which to view therapists. Lori also shares stories about the work she did with patients, which includes humorous narration when describing her true feelings of an especially difficult patient. I find the therapist-patient relationship particularly fascinating and enjoyed reading all of the experiences Lori had to share.
She begins the book leading up to a devastatingly unexpected breakup, which ultimately leads her to seek out a therapist when she hits the breaking point. The order of events are easy to follow, as she switched between the present and past narratives. Learning about her career path and the events that ultimately led her to become a therapist, is a journey of seeking and discovery we may all relate to. Her story on this is enlightening. Lori is a relatable author and readers will find at least one aspect to connect with in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.
Book List – There is a variety of self-help books concerning mental health. Memoirs are my favorite genre, featuring real stories from real people who share their raw experiences with mental illness. The following books explore anxiety through memoirs.
In her memoir of goals, the author challenges herself to attack her fears face to face – an admirable task to take on, in a year. I was particularly interested in the chapter on using a Sensory Deprivation “Float” Tank – an adventurous activity, especially for the claustrophobic. Hameister’s writing can come across as crude, due to her bluntness of storytelling, but I enjoyed how she narrated her inner monologue with each new experience. The book concentrates on fear, which I feel is strongly related to anxiety and the fear that prevents us from venturing into new and terrifying futures and endeavors.
The author’s memoir details her childhood growing up with anxiety and worry. I enjoyed reading of Amanda’s experiences, but also found them stress-inducing. Plagued by daily panic that her mother will suddenly die, or forget her own daughter exists, Stern lives in constant fear that everyone she loves might suddenly leave her. As a child of divorce, she is also caught between two conflicting worlds: that of the bohemian, free-spirited life with her mother and the strict, cold sterile environment with her father. I appreciate her honest and detailed narration, growing up a child fearing that her whole world could fall apart in an instant.