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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Outside In: A Political Memoir, by Libby Davies (2019)

Nonfiction | Adult

Outside In: A Political Memoir, by Libby Davies

Libby Davies. Well known to me, for those who don’t recognize the name, she served for many years as the NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver East; an outspoken, passionate, and devoted public servant who never wavers (at least, not on the outside!) I never lived within her riding, but it’s a testament to her work that I was familiar enough to want to read her biography. I learned a lot, including the fact she started out in the Downtown East Side in the early 1970s while at university, ultimately giving up her studies. She served on both Vancouver Parks Board and city council, getting a grounding in politics before turning to Ottawa.

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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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Follow Your Stuff: Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester and Michael Hlinka (2019)

Nonfiction | 9-15

Follow Your Stuff: Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester and Michael Hlinka (2019)

In our consumer society, it can be a challenge to get a handle on the true price of things we want to buy, and why sometimes, it’s better to pay a little more. That’s so true in my small town where local businesses can struggle to keep prices competitive against cities’ big box stores and online distributors. To help children grasp these concepts, the Canadian creators of Follow Your Money have turned their attention to the production and distribution of five things of interest to kids: a t-shirt with a band logo, a cellphone, eyeglasses, a medical puffer, and the book itself (including the e-edition). Using colourful illustrations, factboxes, topical questions, charts and accessible text, they take the reader through the entire production process.

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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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Ottolenghi SIMPLE, by Yotam Ottolenghi (2018)

Nonfiction | Adult

Ottolenghi Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi

Sometimes I’m totally oblivious to a hot new trend. Apparently Yotam Ottolenghi is practically a household name in Canadian kitchens. Never heard of him, myself. But the gorgeous cookbook on display at my local library called out to me, and the full-colour photos sealed the deal. Cookbooks without photos are cheaper but without that inspiration the recipes are likely to go untried, right? So into my bag it went, and I’ve been enjoying browsing these delicious and simple yet exotic takes on fresh produce. Ottolenghi is British, known for his modern recipes using tasty Middle Eastern spices and ingredients with a focus on fresh produce.

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How to College: What to Know Before You Go (and When You’re There), by Andrea Brenner and Lara Schwartz (2019)

Nonfiction
16-19

How to College: What to Know Before You Go (And When You're There), by Andrea Malkin Brenner and Lara Hope Schwartz

If your teen is planning post-secondary education this fall, buy this book right now. What a great resource for a young adult who is eager, nervous, terrified or super-confident about this exciting new stage in life! I worked in student services at The University of British Columbia for nearly 10 years, and this book, written by two professors who have worked with thousands of first-year students, perfectly encapsulates what new students need to know. First, it’s different from high school in so many ways! Learn how to approach a prof in a professional way. Get a planner and use it. Make and stick to a budget. Make sure you know how to do your laundry, clean your room, and book a medical appointment. Join a club and make some friends.

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