Let's save the planet! Let's save ourselves! In this book, Daron "Farmer D" Joffe focuses on the biodynamic approach to gardening, which means looking at all aspects, from the soil to the seeds to the sun and stars. There is a strong emphasis on gardening as a communal act and Joffe shows how plants nourish us, heal us, and give back to the earth. This book was the big hit at the 2014 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.
Two young men bond in college while swimming at night in the Santa Barbara channel. It’s more than a little risky, but is it accidental or intentional when one of them goes missing after their friendship is on the brink of becoming something more? The survivor’s story begins 10 years later in New York City where he is shadowed by his friend’s disappearance. It’s about longing and loss intertwined with the AIDS epidemic in the foreground and left me pondering the what-ifs for a long time after I put it down.
As a student the architect author spent a significant amount of time on a sailboat where she learned that there was only space for that which was vital. What was revealed to her is that this was not only just enough, but that it was actually quite comfortable for the people living in it. Her book shows us how to use what she learned to create homes which favor smaller, more thoughtful spaces whose inhabitants feel comfortable compared with McMansions whose inhabitants are left with wanting more than square footage. (Note: there are a series of the books addressing more detailed aspects of home design following her thesis)
We all wanted to run away to New York City and make it there, right? Patti Smith actually did it and remembers it for us in this honest and unpretentious memoir. The story is equally that of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe whom she met soon after arriving in 1967. Their brief love affair became a deep and loving friendship between two artists struggling to express their creativity. Mapplethorpe died in 1989. Patti has lived on to bring us their fabled story of the arts scene in New York in the early 60‘s/late 70’s.
Raskolnikov is an impoverished student living in St. Petersberg. The story lives largely in his head where delusion and madness reign. His deliberation over a plan to kill an elderly moneylender and his wavering between justification and deep remorse after committing the act left me wanting to turn away from the horror. But the story is too gripping to put down. Knowing what I know now, I’d have put it on my list of books that I am too afraid to read. And I would have been sorry to have missed a story that has impossible to forget.
Everett Ruess was only twenty when he disappeared under a cloud of mystery in southeastern Utah in 1934. Decades later we still find his story as potent as other disappeared adventurers like Amelia Earhart or Chris McCandless of Into the Wild fame. Eschewing city life, he was sixteen when he set out on the first of his many solo hikes along the coast of California and the southwestern US. But he wasn't antisocial and made friends everywhere he trekked including photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Dorothea Lange. This biography (one of three recent books about Ruess) uses his journals, letters, poetry, and art to show us how he loved life, wilderness, and beauty. What Roberts also wants to answer, but ultimately cannot is if his disappearance was due to an accident, foul play, or was it planned. We are left to draw our own conclusions. (Note: in a testament to the interest in this young adventurer, there are two other recent books detailing his life from slightly different angles. One is Everett Ruess: A Vagabond for Beauty by W. L. Rusho and another is Everett Ruess: his Short Life, Mysterious Death, and Astonishing Afterlife by Philip L. Fradkin)