Monday, January 7, 2019

Books of 2018-Part 2

Hi everyone. Hope you are all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was quiet  with lots of art time and it was good.
Today I am doing another book post. 
 I started my little book review  a week and half ago, and today I thought I would wrap it up with my favorite non-fiction reads/listens from 2018.
As I said last book post (which if you have any interest you can check out here The Book Post-Part 1) this is more a post to help me sort through my own reading. But I know some of you, like myself,  like finding a recommendation.


About a year and half ago I joined Audible.   I am NOT writing this  to sell you a subscription to Audible but because sometimes the author reads their book, and a few of my biographies fall into this category.
Ravenmaster was read by the author, and he is in charge of the care of the ravens at the Tower of London.  As I will never have a job like that, it was fascinating to see what it involves and learn more about the behind the scenes of working and living in this London landmark.
 Michelle Obama read her biography also. For me was like Michele giving me a private view into her life. Whether you agree with her politics or not, what a classy lady she is.
 And finally Trevor Noah, a South African comedian, read his biography too. He had all kinds of fun voices for characters in his life. I especially loved his mother. As his dad is white and his mom is black, which was illegal during his childhood, I learned a lot about living with Apartheid.
 I don't know if this J.R.R. Tolkien book is considered a biography, but he wrote letters to his children from Santa during much of the 1920's and 30's, and they were a joy to listen to.
 Educated is the story of a woman's childhood and how she had to break away from her family in order to get an education. Wow. What she had to go through just to grow up and then go to college made me realize how much we who have public  or even private childhood education take for granted.
 This book, The Year of Living Danishly,  made me laugh. The author moved to Denmark from England when her husband got a job working for Lego. She recorded her experiences and it was an enjoyable romp.
 And this last biography was recommended by Jeanie. I loved it. It is not only a family history but an art story. It is interesting how the family's circumstances, like the times, changed with their history from the late 1800's in France to Vienna and finally to Japan. It must be amazing to know your family history so well, and also tough to write about some of the scary times like when the Nazi's took over Vienna.

 Science and Nature (in general)  Books:
Here's another book read by the author. I  loved this book. The author is a British farmer who has so much respect for animals and has so many wonderful stories about the free ranging creatures on her farm. My friends roll their eyes at me when I talk about this book, but it shows you the intelligence and dignity these creatures have when they are not factory farmed. And no, this book does not go into factory farming but insteads focuses on the personalities of animals who free ranged on her farm.

 And I, Mammal is really a book that appealed to my zoology background. This one may not be for most people unless you love science reads.  But I learned many new things that I didn't know about mammal reproduction. This, however, not a textbook and has lots of interesting stories.

 I had heard about an experiment in Russia where the whole idea of domestication  is/was being tested. So when How To Tame A Fox showed up as a daily deal on Audible, I picked it up. This domestication experiment has been going on for several decades and the author is the woman who worked with the researcher. It's an interesting story not only about the experiment but about the foxes themselves.

 OK, my biology teacher friends don't think they want to read the book Never Home Alone because it is all about those unseen creatures in our homes. But, I didn't find  it creepy (OK, I teach microbiology) but  fascinating. It talked a lot about the benefits to human health by not living in a sterile environment.  And yes, there are diseases out there, but this book focused on how homemade bread gets unique tastes from our hands and how dogs more than cats, impart a lot more healthy biodiversity to our homes. Another words, it focused on the good things not the creepy crawly things.  I know many of you probably don't find this book your cup of tea, but I hope to read some other books by this author.

 And lastly 2 books I listened to that were also read by their authors. In Atlas of the Lost World, I learned about archeology and how people are believed to have moved into North and South America from Asia. And alongside was the author's test to a few of the theories the book discusses. I am not an archeologist (although one of my closests friends is a Dr. of Archeology), but I find it fascinating. Maybe if I knew more about it back when I was applying to college at 17 years old I would have gone in that direction.
And The Food Explorer is about a one man's world travels in the early 1900's and all the plants he brought back to the US for food. Many of them we still eat,peaches and avocados to name a few, as well as many things he brought back that never went mainstream.

Art,Travel, Etc: The Rest:

 Gardens of Awe and Folly-
Vivien Swift's books are more art/sketch/stories. I had this book for a bit before I actually indulged in it. Not only does she illustrate her own books, but her prose is great. She also wrote When Travellers Cease to Roam and Le Road Trip.  I love them both and have reread them each a couple of times (maybe it's time for another reread), And she is one of the reasons I have been keeping a drawing journal to improve my sketches. I would love to reach a  point I could do an illustrated travel or nature journal.

 Travels Through the French Riviera was an interesting book even if you aren't jetting off  in that direction. There was some wonderful stories and some great sketches/art to go along with the stories. It was a nice little armchair trip on a cloudy afternoon for me.
 And these Japan travel guides I picked up for my trip last April. They are full of drawings as well as travel info,(most importantly custom differences), but even if you aren't going to Japan the info is fascinating and the drawings are a lot of fun.

 I picked up this watercolor book on a major markdown at Hobby Lobby, any even though I am not a watercolor painter, this book had a lot of info about perspective, color theory, etc. I know many of you probably know much of this, and  it might be  instinctive, but I found this book really helpful in my art. If nothing else, for me it helped "loosen up" what I thought I had to do.
 And how can you not like Jane Davenport? I am still nervous about drawing people, but she has some fantastic info to make it a bit easier.  Now if only I can get my arms and hands to look a little less monster like.

 And finally, American Cookie. This is a cookbook, but also a book that tells the story of different cookies. I love reading cookbooks (besides cooking from them), and it is really interesting to read about some historical treats you don't see all that often as well as those which have become a part of our American food vocabulary.

And that's it, my 2018 shortlist of books.
I am working on 2 books now, one I am reading and one I am listening too. Has anyone read the Goldfinch by Donna Tartt? It's my reading book and I am really enjoying it. If you have any good recommendations for 2019, I would love to hear them. Thanks Yvonne for yours last book post. I am checking out that Viking one for certain.
Enjoy the start of the new week. And as always, thanks so much for stopping by.


Valerie-Jael said...

You've read / listened to some lovely books. The one about the raven master is one of my faves. I saw a programme about him on TV last year. As I was born right next to the tower this is extra interesting to me. Have a great, new week! Hugs, Valerie

Cath Wilson said...

You can learn a lot about people by the books they ;)

This is such an interesting and diverse mix that I'm intrigued. Micro biology, eh? What a fab subject. I'm a big fan of science TV when there's a really good presenter who knows how to teach, but I wasn't allowed to focus on science because I hated maths!

I can see the interest in some of these and may well hunt for them later... books are so exciting :-)

Cath x

CJ Kennedy said...

Such a wide variety of books. The Tolkien books sounds very interesting. Himself just bought an audio book to listen to in the car. I've never tried an audio book. Not sure I could keep my mind on the story while doing another task.

Barbara said...

I haven’t read any of your books, but I can see I’m missing some good ones! Thank you for the suggestions, and also thank you for visiting my daughters painting on my blog!

Jeanie said...

This is such a great book post, Erika. Thanks! I'm glad you liked Hare with Amber Eyes and Vivian's book -- do you follow her blog? I love them all and just re-read Wanderers in 2018, month by month. And I really want to read the Ravenmaster. So many look good. I just finished Educated. I was very uncomfortable reading it yet inspired by all she had to do. We'll talk about this one in book club in a couple of weeks and I'm eager for that discussion. We might actually even talk about the book for more than five minutes! Our next one is Becoming and I'm glad you liked it because I think I will too. Loved Trevor Noah's book too. And thanks for the art and travel book recommendations.

I really am impressed by your diverse content list! Onward to new books in 2019!

Mia said...

Thank you so much for the suggestions, Erika. I think I will buy the books "Vibrant watercolours" and "Fabulous figures", as they seem very interesting. Kisses, my friend.

Mia said...

Oh I am so happy! I just found on line the two books! I am going to buy them! Thank you again, Erika, for the great suggestions.

Divers and Sundry said...

Such a wide variety! Thanks for opening my eyes to some of what's out there.

froebelsternchen said...

Wow - those are some great books! Super!!!

Big hugs, Susi

Meggymay said...

A wonderful selection of books again in this second list. I have made a note of a few and I am patiently waiting for our small library to get a copy of Michelle Obama;s book, they say they will have a copy on their shelves soon.
Yvonne xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful list of non-fiction. Most impressive. I should look for books on tape or whatever they are called at the library. I've been stuck on one book for over a month and still can't get through it. I DO want to read the Michelle Obama book. I've heard stories, especially about when she was turning over the east wing to Mrs. Trump (STILL can't remember her name). Says something for her popularity, at least to me. There are several on your list I would LOVE to read. Thanks for sharing.

Astrid Maclean said...

I always love your book recommendations Erika and have followed up on some of them... I have been sitting on the fence about the Michelle Obama one, - maybe this was just the nudge I needed. Several of the others (they are all new to me) sound interesting too.
Hope you are having a good week!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I am always happy to see people giving evidence of their reading habits. And you are right, Michelle Obama is a classy lady, unlike the current occupant of the White House......and I haven’t even got started on her husband, the serial liar and idiot supreme!