Backyard Foraging, by Ellen Zachos (2013)

Nonfiction | Adult

Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Did Know You Could Eat, by Ellen Zachos (2013)

This handy guide to finding food on your walks and hikes was featured in one of my library’s newsletters, on nonfiction. I’m subscribed to several of these great newsletters from the Grand Forks & District Public Library that let you know about new titles on various topics, and also occasionally feature interesting gems you might not know about. This is one of them. The book is a few years old, but offers some great guidance in finding edible shoots, leaves and berries all around you. There are 65 entries, many of them quite familiar, such as the well-known dandelion for its many edibles, from flower petals to roots and leaves, as well as surprising discoveries like the annoying Japanese knotweed (aka false bamboo) that is so difficult to eradicate from your home garden. Turns out its young shoots are a great alternative to those canned bamboo shoots called for in many Asian recipes. While the author is from the American east coast, she has chosen plants that are commonly found across North America, many of them recognizable from the garden, such as bee balm and spiderwort. On hikes, you will probably come across wild garlic and hawthorn berries. Our common saskatoons here in the Boundary Country are also listed, under the new-to-me moniker “juneberries,” Each entry is typically four pages long, and includes lots of full-colour photos. There is information on when to harvest, where to find it, and what parts of the plant are edible, along with helpful guidance on recognizing the plant, what and how to harvest, and how to use the bounty in a meal. There is a helpful introduction that addresses tools for harvesting, offers tips on where to forage, reminds readers to beware of sprays and herbicides in parks and to ask for permission on private property, and how to generally make sure you are making good food choices when foraging. I learned that fruits with a five-point crown (like apples, saskatoons, and even rosehips) are always safe to eat, and to stay away from mushrooms with gills. Appendices include some preserving guidance and basic recipes, resources for further research, and a very good index. My thanks to the Grand Forks & District Public Library for including this title in its nonfiction collection, and grabbing my attention in the newsletter!
More discussion and reviews of this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16192356

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Recursion, by Blake Crouch (2019)

Science Fiction | Adult

Recursion, by Blake Crouch (2019)

Holy hannah – hang on to your hat! It’s another another terrific, mind-blowing story from the author of Dark Matter. Where to begin? Or rather, when? NYC Detective Barry Sutton stumbles across an amazing device as he investigates False Memory Syndrome, a phenomenon in which people are suddenly remembering entire alternative lives that aren’t real. The device is a memory chair, the work of physicist Helena Smith. Having watched her mother deteriorate from early-onset Alzheimer’s Syndrome, Dr. Smith has has spent her life trying to find a way to capture our most precious memories so they aren’t lost when brain disease takes hold.

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Vessel, by Lisa A. Nichols (2019)

Science Fiction | Adult

Vessel, by Lisa A. Nichols (2019)

Science fiction meets domestic drama in this terrific debut novel that sees astronaut Catherine Wells return from a mission to an exoplanet via a wormhole, three years late and missing her entire crew. Worst of all, she can’t remember visiting the planet or what happened to the crew. And back on Earth, the blackouts are still happening and she hasn’t told anyone. At home, things are little better. Catherine has been gone nine years; her mum’s dementia has deepened, her middle school daughter is about to graduate, and her husband has found a new love. The family does its best to try to bring Catherine back into the home, and in fact, she’s the one who can’t seem to adjust.

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Storm Rising, by Sara Driscoll (2018)

Thriller | Adult

Storm Rising (series FBI K-9 #3), by Sara Driscoll (2018)

This is the third entry in the FBI K-9 series by Sara Driscoll, but the first one I’ve read. Meg Jennings and her rescue dog Hawk, a superbly trained black lab, are sent from Washington D.C. to help find missing people when a hurricane devastates the Virginia Beach shore. Partners in the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team, the two searchers and their colleagues work hard to find live victims, not than bodies. But when Meg and Hawk find a terrified young woman in the Great Dismal Swamp, they are diverted into a criminal investigation into a human sex trafficking ring that was disrupted by the storm. The chaos gives police an opportunity to break up the ring and save even more young lives, but promising leads fade as the evidence they need is washed away.

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Creating the Vintage Look: 35 Ways to Upcycle for a Stylish Home, by Ellie Laycock (2013, 2018)

Nonfiction | Adult

Creating the Vintage Look: 35 Ways to Upcycle for a Stylish Home, by Ellie Laycock

This is a brand-new addition to our Grand Forks & District Public Library, and I can’t get enough of the ideas! With the growing emphasis on keeping our discarded stuff out of the landfill and even the recycling chain, we need to think about how to reuse things that are no longer useful in their original design. That’s what upcycling is about – taking something you no longer need/want/use and giving it a new life with a new purpose. Creative folks are hard at work giving us inspiration for what to do with old bedboards, pop bottles and whatnot, and Ellie Laycock has created a terrific little tome to get you started.

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Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11, by James Donovan (2019)

Nonfiction | 14-Adult

Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11, by James Donovan

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the historical first landing of humans on the moon, it’s the perfect time to delve deeply into the science and the story behind that astonishing feat of human endeavour. I was alive but not even five years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon while Mike Collins piloted the orbiting command module, so I don’t actually remember this event. Despite that, it’s definitely part of my cultural history, as I’ve spent my life looking toward the stars and planets. This book is the story of the American space mission from Mercury through to Apollo 11; in fact, of the 400 pages of the actual narrative (there’s another 50 pages for addenda and index), only about 65 pages are devoted to the Apollo 11 voyage itself, from launch to return. So if all you want is the Apollo 11 story, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

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Marilla of Green Gables, by Sarah McCoy (2018)

Historical Fiction
Adult

Marilla of Green Gables, by Sarah McCoy (2018)

How amazing that a single dangling literary thread can lead to this lovely creation. There is a line in Anne of Green Gables in which Marilla refers to Gilbert Blythe’s father as a good friend, perhaps even her one-time beau. From that mysterious remark, Sarah McCoy has created an entire backstory for Marilla and Matthew before Anne, and it is a spellbinding story indeed. I’m a lifelong Anne fan, of course, having fallen under her spell more than 40 years ago. I have read the novels several times, and as I get older I enjoy them ever more, from Anne the spunky tween who first arrives on the Island to the mature woman of Ingleside, still blessed with a sense of humour, along with a heart full of both love and sorrow. But back to this creation.

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