Category Archives: Saturday Seven

Saturday Seven: Books That Might Give You Cravings

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

I’m a pretty quiet person in real life. One of the topics that I always like to talk about with anyone who is interested, though, is food. For example, I might ask you what your favourite food is or talk about a delicious meal I made last week. This week’s list is all about books that gave me cravings when I read them.

1. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.

I could almost do an entire Saturday Seven post on Michael Pollan’s books alone. I really appreciate the fact that he takes such a well-rounded approach to figuring out what and how humans should eat from a nutritional, environmental, and cultural perspective. Then you also need to factor in any medical restrictions (diabetes, food allergies, interactions with certain drugs, etc) you might have on what you can eat.  The answer won’t be exactly the same for every person or geographical region on Earth. I like the flexibility of that. It makes me hungry! Hehe.

 2. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver.

Imagine spending an entire year trying to eat nothing but food you’ve either grown or bought from people who lived nearby. It’s not something I could do year-round in Canada without risking vitamin deficiencies from barely having any vegetables or fruit to eat for months on end, but I do follow many of this author’s principles when the weather allows for it. And now I’m craving Ontario-grown strawberries. They’re mouthwateringly delicious, and they’ll be in season in a few short months.

3. Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky.

Salt is common and inexpensive now, but it used to be so valuable that it was used as a form of currency. This is the kind of book I’d only recommend to people who are extremely interested in this topic. It wasn’t a light, fluffy read at all, but it did make me crave salty foods like homemade soft pretzels.

4. French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano.

I loved the common sense messages in this book about moderation, fitting walking and other forms of exercise into your daily routine, and never being afraid to enjoy what you eat. There’s something about this easy-going approach to life that makes me look forward to my next meal regardless of what it happens to be.

5. Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel.

When I first read this a decade ago, I wondered if I’d live to see the day when the Cavendish banana went extinct. It hasn’t happened yet, and I sure hope it never does. Doesn’t the banana on the cover make you wish you could eat a banana right this second? That sure was my reaction to it.

6. Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook.

This actually made me seek out one of those old-fashioned tomatoes that hadn’t had so much of its flavour bred out of it. It was really good. If only that kind of tomato wasn’t in season for such a short time. I could go for one of them right about now.

7. Tea: The Drink That Changed the World by Laura C. Martin. 

I drink a decent amount of caffeine-free herbal tea, especially during the winter when I want to warm up. If caffeine didn’t make me so jittery, I’d branch out and try more of the teas that this author talked about. They sounded delicious.

Do you read nonfiction books about food or beverages? What are you craving right now?

 

Saturday Seven: Humorous Book Titles

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Disclaimer: I haven’t read any of these books yet, so I can’t vouch for their content in any way. I’m sharing them only because their titles are eye-catching and made me giggle when I found them.

1. Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley.

2. HELP! A Bear is Eating Me! by Mykle Hansen.

3. The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks Gets a Girlfriend by Nancy McArthur.

4. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown.

5. Managing a Dental Practice: The Genghis Khan Way by Michael Young.

6. Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics by Heather Busch.

7. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

 

What is the funniest book title you’ve seen lately?

Posted By:
Tagged:
8

Saturday Seven: Rabbit Tales

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Happy Easter to everyone who is celebrating that holiday this weekend! Rabbits are the first thing I think about when Easter comes to mind, so I thought I’d talk about them today. Since rabbits are my favourite animal of all time, it always makes me happy to see representations of them in books, cards, plush toys, candies, and so many other places at this time of the year.

The vast majority of the stories out there about rabbits are bedtime stories written for young children. I genuinely have no idea why that is the case. Today I tried to come up with as many examples as possible of books that were written for older audiences. No one is ever too old to like rabbits, and there are many different ways to write about this animal.

I mean, I’ve been a proper adult for years now, but I still get irrationally excited whenever a rabbit is nearby. They’re such soft fluffy, and often hilariously stubborn little creatures. If not for my unfortunate allergy to them, I’d have at least two or three of them hopping around my house and getting into mischief right this minute.

The Tale of a Fierce Bad Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Nearly everyone has heard of Peter Rabbit. If you liked that story, you might really enjoy the author’s less widely known works, too. What I appreciated the most about The Tale of a Fierce Bad Rabbit was that all of the naughty things the rabbit did in it happened for a reason. He was a smart little creature who knew exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Make sure you have a full box of tissues ready to go ahead of time. This is a real tearjerker, but it’s also one of my favourite stories of all time. For anyone who hasn’t heard of it, it’s about a toy rabbit who was deeply loved by a little boy. After the boy was diagnosed with scarlet fever, all of the toys in his room were sent away to be burned to prevent the spread of that awful disease.

What happened to the toy rabbit next is why I read this tale over and over again.

 

Zomo the Rabbit: A Trickster Tale from South Africa by Gerald McDermott

This was a story I accidentally stumbled across at my local library a few weeks ago. I’d never heard of the legend of Zomo the Rabbit before, but I loved seeing how he used his wits to outsmart creatures much larger and stronger than he was.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

I know this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about Watership Down on a Saturday Seven post, but it simply had to be included in this week’s list.

The bunnies in this story were courageous and kind. This was almost like a rabbit’s version of The Hobbit or some other epic adventure that required facing many dangers before the heroes had any hope at all of accomplishing their mission.

Disapproving Rabbits by Sharon Stiteler

Many years ago, there used to be a blog called “Disapproving Rabbits” that shared pictures of rabbits looking surly, annoyed, or like they disapproved of everything their humans were doing. That site sadly no longer exists, but this book is a collection of many of the photos that were featured on it back in the day.

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

The empathy in this story was beautiful. Grief and loss are difficult subjects for many adults to talk about, so I loved the fact that the authors wrote something explaining those things to young children who are even more bewildered by them than us grown-ups are.

Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature by Susan E. Davis

This is a book that I’ve actually been trying to get ahold of for quite a while now, although I’ll almost certainly skip the section about how and why rabbits are slaughtered for human consumption. With that being said, learning more about the history, sociology, and folklore of rabbits appeals to me quite a bit in general.

Have you ever had a pet rabbit? What is your favourite animal in general?

 

Saturday Seven: My Favourite Emily Dickinson Poems

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Poetry was one of my favourite things in high school. I took a long break from it once I became an adult, but I’ve recently felt the urge to read it again.

I thought I’d dive back into this genre by revisiting some of the poets I enjoyed the most. Today I’ll share some short poems from Emily Dickinson that always make me smile or think. I once owned a very large book that contained every poem she’d ever written that still exists. (Sadly, some of her work was destroyed by her sister-in-law and other relatives after her death. We still don’t know for sure why they did that, but it was a terrible loss for her fans).

Yes, there’s an excellent reason why none of the below poems have titles. Ms. Dickinson actually didn’t bother naming the majority of her poems! They were given numbers instead or even written on scraps of paper and bundled together tidily.

My future Saturday Seven posts will shine a spotlight on other poets I enjoy. I won’t talk about poetry every week for this meme, but I’m tentatively hoping to do it about once a month in the future.

Poem #1:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Poem #2:

I HAD no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love; but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

Poem #3:

LOOK back on time with kindly eyes,
He doubtless did his best;
How softly sinks his trembling sun
In human nature’s west!

Poem #4:

The bustle in a house
The morning after death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon earth,–

The sweeping up the heart,
And putting love away
We shall not want to use again
Until eternity.

Poem #5:

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They’d banish — you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one’s name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

Poem #6:

Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit—Life!

Poem #7:

Two Butterflies went out at Noon—
And waltzed above a Farm—
Then stepped straight through the Firmament
And rested on a Beam—

And then—together bore away
Upon a shining Sea—
Though never yet, in any Port—
Their coming mentioned—be—

If spoken by the distant Bird—
If met in Ether Sea
By Frigate, or by Merchantman—
No notice—was—to me—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are any of you fans of poetry? If so, which poems and poets do you like?

Saturday Seven: Books with Green Covers

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I was originally planning to make this post about Irish books that I’ve read and loved, but it turned out that I couldn’t think of enough of them to fill out a Saturday Seven list on this topic. My goal for next year is to change that, so do speak up if you know of any good reads from that country.

In the meantime, let’s talk about books that all happen to have green covers. If I ever become wealthy enough to buy a big house and fill one room of it with nothing but books, I’m going to be terribly tempted to sort those books out by colour. Don’t you think it would be magical to walk into a room that looked like a rainbow?

I also think that arranging stories like this would be an interesting way to stumble across something you might have never otherwise picked up.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, some of my aunts and uncles were still kids when I was born. It was a little like growing up with older siblings except that we never lived in the same house and therefore didn’t have to share toys or bedrooms with each other. I remember my youngest aunt reading this story to me when I was very young. At the time, I loved it. Now I wish I could talk to Mr. Silverstein and find out whether he thought it was a virtuous thing for the tree to sacrifice every single part of itself for the boy or whether he was warning his young fans about the dangers of giving so much of yourself that you have nothing left for your own needs.

The Magicians Nephew by C.S. Lewis

This is my favourite story in the Chronicles of Narnia series in large part because of how C.S. Lewis came up with the idea of writing about a young boy whose mother was dying from a disease that had no cure. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but knowing the context of those scenes made them even more poignant.

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

As much as I liked them, the last few Harry Potter books were so dark that I don’t reread them as often as I do the earlier ones.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire struck a nice balance between the sillier themes of the first few books and the very serious themes of the last ones. I also appreciated the way Ms. Rowling fleshed out wizard society. The audience was able to see just how well wizards and witches could live their entire lives cocooned away from muggle society without feeling like they were missing out on anything at all.

Also, the Triwizard Tournament was a thrill. I remember feeling afraid for Harry when he dove into the lake and began searching for the merpeople. Even magical humans can only survive for a few minutes without oxygen, and I wasn’t sure that his solution to breathing underwater was going to work.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

As fun as the movie adaptations are, the original Oz series was a million times more creative and sometimes even downright bizarre than anything that made it onto the big screen. I have no idea where the author came up with half of his stuff, but they sure did make for an attention-grabbing plot.  Don’t read this to young kids, but do go read it.

A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor.

I adore O’Connor’s writing style, although I will admit to not understanding a lot of her stories when I first started reading them. It took some rereads and a few more years of maturing before I began to see what she was saying about ethics and morality. She’s yet another author I wish I could take out for a cup of coffee and have a long conversation with.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.

When I was a teenager, my mom took me to see a production of this play that had been put on by a local college. I loved every single bawdy minute of it, and I’ve been a fan of it ever since.

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

I had no idea what to expect what one of my college professors assigned a few of these tales to us. “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” was my favourite one because of how much it revealed about what it was like to be a woman in England during this time period. For example, women were defined by their relationship to men back then. They could be a maiden, a wife, or a widow. Their options outside of these roles were all but nonexistent. If only Chaucer had been able to finish this series.

What books that have green covers have you read recently? Do you sort out your books this way in general, or am I part of a small minority of readers on this issue?

Saturday Seven: History Books About Ordinary People

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews. I had mixed feelings about history class when I was in school. The chapters about war and the military honestly bored me to death. Kudos to those of you who like reading about battles and peace treaties, but I have not spent a single moment thinking… Read More

Saturday Seven: Non-Human Protagonists

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews.   Raise your hand if you love xenofiction! There’s something about experiencing the world through non-human eyes that makes just about any plot more exciting to me. I ended up coming up with so many books for this list that I’m going to have to revisit… Read More

Saturday Seven: Funny Quotes from Books

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews. If a book contains a funny line, conversation, or passage, the chances of me becoming a huge fan of it are large. Sometimes I will reread a story I’ve already read many times before for the sheer joy of eventually finding my way to that witty… Read More

Saturday Seven: Characters Who Need a Date

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so today I’m thinking about characters who could really have benefited from going on a date. None of the characters I’m about to discuss had romantic storylines. They were far too busy looking after a disabled friend, exploring a… Read More