Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What I'm Reading in June

Opps, I'm a few days too late for this, but technically, these are the books I read in June! I finally went to my local library, which has recently re-opened after being taken over by Council workers after the earthquake, and I am absolutely loving having such a huge pile of books at my disposal! I am not really into fiction at the moment, instead preferring non-fiction books about health, food and sustainability. Here is what I was reading this past month:

Food Rules by Michael Pollan - this cute wee gem is a well-quoted collection of thoughts on how the author thinks we should eat. I'm a girl of structure, so rules for eating kind of appeal to my freaky, organised mind. Some of my favourites included:
- eat well-grown food from healthy soil
- eat sweet foods as you find them in nature (i.e fizzy drink and lollies are not natural!)
- don't eat breakfast cereals that change the colour of your milk
- cook
I actually follow most of these 'rules' anyway, but this is a good book if you are looking for a small read and feel like thinking more about what you put in your mouth.

Naturally Gorgeous by Charlotte Vohtz - this book was a fairly comprehensive guide for natural health and beauty. I liked almost all of the content, but found some of the suggestions a bit contradictory. For example, the book was an advocate of essential oils for skin care, but also encouraged fake tanners (which are riddled with terrible chemicals). Overall it was quite a good reference for some nice, natural beauty tips, but taken with a note of caution for those trying to avoid chemicals in their personal care products.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver - I got about 10 pages into this and never went any further. Lots of my friends have recommended it but it just didn't grab me. Maybe I'll go back to it another day.

Women's Health by Gillian McKeith - I own a book by this author and have read a few others of hers previously. I really like her perspective on health and lifestyle and this book is no exception to her excellent advice on health and beauty. This book breaks the four key phases of a women's life up, and examines the individual needs during this time. It provides specific, well-explained examples of the body's needs during each era of life and how to get them easily through diet and lifestyle modifications. The four phases are: Puberty, Reproductive Years, Perimenopause, and Post-menopause and Beyond. This is the kind of book I would buy as a reference, to refer to when I had adult acne, iron issues, wanted to get ready for pregnancy etc. A highly recommended read!

Living Green by Annmaree Kane and Christina Neubert - this book claimed itself as "the New Zealand handbook for an eco-friendly, toxin-free, sustainable life". While the information in it was well written and nicely organised, it was too much about the problems and not enough about the solutions. I thought it spent too much time exploring all the issues we may face on a daily basis, but not enough time (sometimes none at all) on what we can do to solve the problems. I did like the tables of natural cleaning product ideas and it had some good information on the chemicals in everyday products and the effect they can have our our bodies. Did you know talc was a hormone disruptor? No, me neither. My favourite part of this book was the referencing. Being a science-geek, I like to know where the information stated is coming from.

Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano - this was a light-hearted, American version of the above book, but with better suggestions and endless resources. I haven't had time to go through all the websites it provided, but they were plentiful! A good read for ideas on how to be more 'earth-friendly', as it says on the cover.

The Green Year by Jodi Helmer - I haven't quite finished this yet, but am really enjoying working my way through it. A day-by-day guide of little things you can do to help the world. Each suggestion is actually very achievable and you can clearly see how doing even half of them would make a big difference. The book states American statistics, but even in our little country, it is easy to see how simple it can be to help out. I have done a lot of them already but some other things I want to apply soon are: switching to homemade fabric 'paper towels', buying some more houseplants, cleaning my heat pump vents, changing the margins on my Word documents and signing up for paperless billing for my power and phone line. This is a great book fill to the brim with fantastic, easy ideas. Another highly recommended read.

I haven't managed to read the last three books on the pile, but I am hoping to have at least a quick flick through before I return them tomorrow!

Now, your turn! Tell me what you are reading lately?


  1. Another great book is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It's about a family that eat only locally grown, seasonal produce for a year. Definitely worth a look.