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 houseplants

I love houseplants!  I usually acquire some new ones during the winter when everything is so dreary and dead outside.  There’s just something refreshing about being surrounded by greenery in the dead of winter.  Since I don’t have very good light from any of my windows, I have found it very helpful to look at books like these to find plants I would be able to accommodate.  It’s also fun to flip through them and daydream about all the beautiful plants I will be able to house one day if I ever get sunny windows! Houseplants:

4.3 HouseplantsHOUSEPLANTS
By Lisa Eldred Steinkopf
(2017)

When you don’t have any yard space to nurture your green thumb, houseplants are the answer!  This guide teaches you how to take care of your houseplants to ensure they are happy and healthy.  It contains profiles for more than 150 plants to help you choose the plants that will be best for you. 

 

4.3 The Indestructible House PlantTHE INDESTRUCTIBLE HOUSEPLANT
By Tovah Martin
(2015)

Anyone can grow healthy houseplants if you pick the right plants!  This book focuses on very tough but beautiful plants that can withstand a fair amount of neglect.  No houseplant is completely maintenance free however, so it still includes instructions for how to care for your (almost) indestructible plant.   

 

4.3 The Indoor Plant BibleTHE INDOOR PLANT BIBLE
By Dorte Nissen
(2005)

Each plant gets its own page in this book.   Each profile contains information about the plant and care instructions, complete with icons that make it easy to visually browse for a plant with certain needs.  Each plant is pictured with well-done photographs, rather than illustrations. 

 

4.3 The Complete Guide to HouseplantsTHE COMPLETE GUIDE TO HOUSEPLANTS
By Valerie Bradley
(2006)

Have a specific room in mind but don’t know what plant to put in it?  This book has lists for various rooms in your home and lists of plants with certain traits.  There’s also a directory for 250 different plants complete with photographs, a description, care instructions, and propagation instructions for each one. 

 

4.3 Terrarium CraftTERRARIUM CRAFT
By Amy Bryant Aiello
(2011)

To go in a slightly different direction from the books listed thus far, terrariums also make great indoor plant decorations.  This book gives instructions for 50 different terrarium designs along different themes such as forest, beach, and desert.  These terrariums are sure to add an interesting display piece to your home. 

 

4.3 The New TerrariumTHE NEW TERRARIUM
By Tovah Martin
(2009)

This book doesn’t just give instructions for recreating a specific terrarium design, it also gives the reader a lot of information about terrariums and how they benefit plants.  With sections for different types of containers, set-up, care, and plant species, The New Terrarium will be especially helpful for anyone interested in creating their very own plant terrarium.

 

 informational comics

There are some kids who just don’t like to read.  Maybe they are a slow reader or have a learning disability.  Maybe they just can’t be bothered to sit down long enough to read a whole book.  When a kid like that gets assigned to do a report for school, it can cause major trauma and drama for both the child and parent.  One solution is to try an informational comic book. Here at the Provo Library we have around 250 informational comic books for kids on a wide variety of topics, from science to history, including 80 biographies (think president or explorer reports).  The informational comics have a lot of great…well… information, and it’s in a form that is palatable for reluctant and comic-book-only readers.  Informational comic books are so enticing, why not pick out an interesting one and just set it on the coffee table in the living room. Then watch and see how long it takes before your child picks it up and starts reading! 

Here are some great informational comics.     

3.28 Older than DirtOLDER THAN DIRT: A WILD BUT TRUE HISTORY OF EARTH
By Don Brown and Mike Perfit
(2017)

A precocious and often sarcastic groundhog and his friend, an earthworm, take the reader on a tour of the history of the Earth, from the Big Bang to its projected demise.  

 

3.28 ShackletonSHACKLETON: THE VOYAGE OF THE JAMES CAIRD
By Gavin McCumiskey and David Butler
(2016)

The harrowing adventure of the passengers of Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition comes to life with dramatic dialog and full color illustrations. 

 

3.28 BaggywrinklesBAGGYWRINKLES: A LUBBER’S GUIDE TO LIFE AT SEA
By Lucy Bellwood
(2016)

Don’t know your port from your bow? This humorous guide introduces the reader to a boatload of nautical terminology, history, and lore.

 

period dramas

Although I am working to expand the type of books I read, my favorite place to be is always in a Historical Fiction or Historical Memoir book. It gives me the ability to time travel a little and appreciate the qualities of another time without having to deal with an outbreak of disease or not having indoor plumbing.

Naturally, my favorite shows to watch are Historical Period Dramas. As a result of watching these I have read the books they are based on and have found some that I love. Here are the best 4 adaptations I have seen and read:

3.23 Lark Rise to CandlefordLARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD: A TRILOGY
By Flora Thompson
(2009)

Adaptation: LARK RISE TO CANDLEFORD
Directed by Susan Tully
(2008- 2011)

This show is based on the semiautobiographical series from Flora Thompson. She grew up in a small hamlet, but she begins the memoirs as she moves to a nearby village for her first job in a post office around 1899. Both the show and the books are focused on the changes that occur during this pivotal time, and the difficulties that can draw village and country together.

 

3.23 Call the MidwifeCALL THE MIDWIFE: A MEMOIR OF BIRTH, JOY, and HARD TIMES
By Jennifer Worth
(2012)

Adaptation: CALL THE MIDWIFE
Directed by Emma Sullivan
(2012 - )

Many have probably heard of CALL THE MIDWIFE. A fair warning, if you read the books you will shed even more tears after all the ones that have poured out from this show. Along with the birth stories, I appreciate Jenny’s focus on the aftermath of the workhouse in her memoir and series.   

 

3.23 North and South DVDNORTH AND SOUTH
By Elizabeth Gaskell
(2003)    

Adaptation: NORTH AND SOUTH
Directed by Brian Percival
(2004)

NORTH AND SOUTH was written a few years after the Great Exhibition of 1851, so the setting is very accurate even though Milton is a fictional place. The focus is on social classes, and although this took place long ago it is good to remember these social injustices still exist. We also own a book club set of this, so read it with your friends!

 

3.23 PoldarkROSS POLDARK
By Winston Graham
(2015)

Adaptation: POLDARK
Directed by Edward Bazalgette and Will McGregor
(2015 - )

There is a whole series from Winston Graham that Poldark is based on, but I have only read the first. Ross is returning home from the American Revolutionary War, and things are very different back home. He has to now cope with his father dying while he was away, and the woman he loves is married to his cousin. His political views along with his reflections from the war are wonderful to read.

 

 Pills

I’ve been surprised as an adult by how much I enjoy reading memoirs. Plenty of these have been fluffy or funny celebrity memoirs, but in the last year or so, I’ve been drawn to powerful and sometimes troubling personal stories of people who have survived childhood trauma. Though it would be an exaggeration to call my own childhood traumatic, I’ve found wisdom, inspiration, humanity, and a surprising amount of connection in these stories.

Famous memoirist Jeannette Walls once said in a New York Times interview, “The best self-help books, in my opinion, are memoirs. If people are honest about what happened to them, those stories are astonishing gifts to those of us grappling with – or just trying to understand – similar situations. I give away my memoirs like aspirins to friends who are going through tough times. Sometimes, it’s easier to have perspective on someone else’s life than your own.”

So, readers, here are a few of my favorite literary aspirins, memoirs of resilience, all told with compassion and honesty.

3.22 The Glass CastleTHE GLASS CASTLE
By Jeannette Walls
(2013)

Walls grew up in a family that moved from place to place, descending further into poverty and dysfunction as the years past in spite of their love for each other. Her father’s alcoholism and the mental illness of both parents caused extreme financial hardship and often left the Walls children in danger, but Jeannette and her siblings banded together to work their way out into the world. THE GLASS CASTLE is beautiful, horrifying, and unflinchingly honest, as Walls grapples to overcome her shame and stop hiding her past.

 

3.22 EducatedEDUCATED
By Tara Westover
(2018)

I've been floored by just how good this recent release is. Tara Westover was raised in rural Idaho by survivalist parents who practice an extreme and bizarre take on Mormonism.  Westover’s paranoid father, convinced the government was his enemy, had the children born at home so they wouldn’t have birth certificates, wouldn’t allow them to attend school, and insisted on home care by their herbalist mother for even the most life-threatening illnesses. A blind eye is turned to any abuse in the home. Westover eventually works her way to BYU, Cambridge, and eventually Harvard where she discovers the full emancipation of an education.

 

3.22 You Dont Have to Say You Love Me aYOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME
By Sherman Alexie
(2017)

Celebrated author Sherman Alexie has written fiction and poetry for all ages, but this is his first time publishing a memoir.  He grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and was raised by an alcoholic father and a recovering alcoholic mother. He recounts the regular abuse, violence, and racism he both witnessed and experienced as a child in a moving mix of essays, letters, and poetry. He also describes the complicated relationship between himself and his mother as they both struggled with mental illness.

 

3.22 Hillbilly ElegyHILLBILLY ELEGY
By J.D. Vance
(2016)

Vance was raised Middletown Ohio by a family originally from Kentucky. His parents had moved for good factory jobs that temporarily provided them a middle class life, but never quite escaped the culture of poverty. Drug addiction, alcoholism, violence, and verbal abuse continue to plague their lives. Vance, now a Yale-educated lawyer, shares not just his own experiences, but an insightful sociological critique of hillbilly culture.

 

3.22 Born A CrimeBORN A CRIME
By Trevor Noah
(2016)

This is not your typical celebrity memoir. Comedian Trevor Noah, best known as the current host of the Daily Show, grew up in Apartheid South Africa as the son of a black mother and a white man. His parents’ union was illegal, and Trevor’s visibly mixed heritage meant that he couldn’t be seen with either parent in public without risking their arrest. BORN A CRIME is largely a love letter to Noah’s mother, a powerful, devout woman who fiercely protected her son.

 

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