An entertaining and informative memoir/self-help guide to living well on locally grown food.

BLESSING THE HANDS THAT FEED US

WHAT EATING CLOSER TO HOME CAN TEACH US ABOUT FOOD, COMMUNITY, AND OUR PLACE ON EARTH

One woman's experiment to eat only local foods.

While grazing at a potluck table loaded with food, Robin (co-author: Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, 2008) decided to take up a local farmer's challenge to eat only the food she could provide herself. But after some more consideration, the author realized that might be too limited, so the plan expanded to include any food produced within a 10-mile radius. She planned to live on that and a few "exotics"—tea, salt, spices, oil, lemons and limes—for a month and see what happened. What unfolds in Robin's homey, conversational prose was far more significant than she ever expected. She sought to lose a few pounds, get healthier, make new friends, grow closer to nature, and gain a better understanding of the amount of physical, emotional and environmental energy required to produce food. The author encourages readers to explore their own relationships with food; examine how it was prepared and eaten during their childhoods; find what local sources of food exist in their neighborhoods; learn to cook from scratch for healthier and less expensive food; and figure out how to continue this new way of eating for far longer than just a month. Throughout the book, Robin includes helpful information on how to set up "Transition Towns…a citizen-led approach to bulking up community resilience, a tool for people who wake up to the power communities have to respond proactively as global resources, finance, and climate change prove ever more unstable.” Recipes from Robin's local growers round out this call-to-action plan to buy local and live healthier and more responsibly.

An entertaining and informative memoir/self-help guide to living well on locally grown food.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-670-02572-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2013

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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