Saturday, July 22, 2017

What do you read?

I usually write science fiction or fantasy but have delved into historical and contemporary romance, and while I read those genres, I more often read other genres. Mysteries, adventure and suspense in their many varieties, Regency romances plus other historical and contemporary romances. And that's just in fiction. My non-fiction books are those I save, so I have a very large library of art, art history, crafts, general reference, history, writing, environment and nature, and both food and pleasure gardening books. Heck. that last type gives me sadness. I just discovered a day ago that for the first time since starting my pleasure gardens, deer have eaten all the Hosta in my garden. Their beautiful leaves of a few days ago are sad stalks. That aside, I think reading develops writers.

I don't think I can write the mysteries I love to read, and maybe that's a good thing. As a writer, I can be very critical of another scifi author's craft technique in my own genre, especially when it interrupts my reading. Sometimes I can ignore it and just enjoy the story; sometimes I can't and it ends my reading. Which might be why I enjoy mystery and suspense so much. I used to love Regency romances because I loved the authors Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer and the dance of manners their stories presented. Recently stories set in this era and the Victorian era have changed drastically to become more sex-oriented. I still read it. Of course, mysteries have always crossed over into many genres, including historical romance, which I enjoy. 

Like every other reader, I read for certain reasons, and certainly entertainment is the first that comes to mind, which brings relaxation. Yet, giving the mind a new experience also plays into my reading and this plays into both fiction and nonfiction reading. In nonfiction, of course, I seeking information and to learn something about a topic that interests me.  In fiction, no matter what the genre, I'm always fascinated at how reading words can meld into an imagination-based reality.

Please visit these authors to explore this topic:
Skye Taylor
A.J. Maguire 
Anne de Gruchy
Heather Haven
Dr. Bob Rich
Helena Fairfax 

Fiona McGier
Kay Sisk   
Rachael Kosinski
Connie Vines

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fresh from The Garden -- John Whitman

An Organic Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries, and Herbs in Cold Climates
University of Minnesota Press
ISBN 978-0-8166-9839-4
February 2017|
Non-Fiction; Gardening

FRESH FROM THE GARDEN is a marvelous book. It is a large and comprehensive volume for growing edible food plants only, but discusses edible flower garden plants and other unusual and unexpected edible plants. This book is for gardening in cold areas like mine, and as a long-time gardener, I know this can be difficult.

Part I is devoted to the basics of gardening and growing crops organically. It explains a variety of approaches from growing in containers to creating many types of land gardens. Soil and compost is explained along with how to water and fertilize. Directions for planting seeds is provided, but it also includes other methods of propagation. It explains how to grow crops and how to weed and harvest them. The information goes further to include culinary terms, food storage, and even gives reasons why some people love or hate a particular vegetable. All the tools and products necessary for gardening are listed along with safety tips. Great photos and many easy-to-understand charts supplement the text.

One thing among the many I learned was that pH means potential hydrogen. I’ve known what a pH reading was and how it applies to plants, but not what the acronym meant. It’s not only the solid information but also the good advice provided, such as the myth the gardener controls their garden, and that there is not just one but many ways to achieve a bountiful harvest. Author John Whitman encourages gardeners to use whatever method works best for them.

The most wonderful part of FRESH FROM THE GARDEN is Part II– an extensive listing of all the vegetables, berries and herbs that can be grown in the food garden. Many I have grown, but even more I haven’t. From asparagus to zucchini, every crop is described. The information includes when and where to plant, the plant’s nutritional facts, the varieties available, how to grow it, problems and pests that can occur, and how to harvest and store the crop.

While FRESH FROM THE GARDEN is invaluable for gardeners in cold areas, defined in the book as anywhere the temperature can dip below -20° Fahrenheit, the basic information is relevant anywhere. The extensive list and discussion of crop foods makes this garden book one every gardener will seek out repeatedly, not only when choosing plants to grow for the upcoming season, but also whenever problems or questions occur during the growing or harvesting of those crops. For beginning gardeners or experienced gardeners, FRESH FROM THE GARDEN offers effective gardening know-how.