Here is a list of books I have recently enjoyed and thought I would pass them along to you too.

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life

By: Wade Rouse

This book is about a writer who is used to living in a big city and wants to get back to the simple life of semi-country living.  He finds Southwest Michigan as a nice place to re-start his adventure of life.  He is all “gung-ho” ready It is a laugh out loud, read pieces of it to your friend/spouse sitting on the couch next to you, big old grin on your face reading.  Very short sections withing the chapters so it reads fast.  Not for all readers at times as it has some sensitive material.  Check it out and decide for yourself on this one.

I’d give it a grade of: A (sensitive material and language)

Half Broke Horses
A True-Life Novel
This is a fast and funny read, but a grab you by the heart stings kind of book.  You fall deep into the storyline, then realize again and again that it is a great personal history.  This book brings the reader back to a different time and way of life.  My favorite line was when the woman, a teacher,  buys a hearse and turns in into a school bus and paints School Bus on the side of it.  Her plan is to pick up all the kids for school in it.  Her husband laughs at the idea and tells her you can paint dog on the side of a hog, but it is still a hog.  This one is worth the time.  If you are a teacher, mother or sister you will find it extra special.
I’d grade it a: A

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by:by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson

Product Details

This book is said to be for anyone raising boys, teaching boys or has a boy in their life. I have three, including my husband. My sister gave me this book (before she had her own boy) and it was an interesting look into the dynamics of being a boy in America. It is a good read, not a light read, but a bit thick in the college textbook style of documented cases of boys and issues of boys.

I’d grade it: B-

The Secret: by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret

When your mother calls you and says she has stage 4 uterine cancer, and the next week says, there is a great book you need to read. You know what, you order the book and you read it. This is the book. I think anyone could benefit by reading this book. It is made up of short paragraphs of quotes from people who believe in the secret. I would encourage you to skip to the middle half of the book and read the sections on the Secrets as it applies to: money, relationships, life…. Great book for thinking back on and making changes in your life. They make a page a day calendar by this author that my mother is using this year, CANCER FREE!

I’d grade it: A

The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine by: Steven Rinella

Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine, The

If you enjoy the outdoors, and love food this one is for you. It is a pretty hard core food book about eating from the earth, or animals from the earth. I usually do not pick up books and read, read, read, until they are done. I did this one. The author is from Twin Lake, Michigan near where I grew up and I could surely relate to frog hunting, and that his Dad used the “Fry-Daddy” for anything from pike chunks to those little frog legs too. Steven Rinella travels the globe to put together a feast fit for a king over 100 years ago, with original ingredients, gives himself a year to do so and serve it to his friends and his vegetarian girlfriend.

I’d grade it: A

Foods Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community by Heather C. Flores

Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden And Your Neighborhood into a Community

This is not quite what I expected out of this book. I was looking for a book that showed me how to turn my yard into a garden. Which is just what the title said, so I thought I was right on. The author does indeed do that but also digs deeper into many other “green subjects”. She is pretty driven in her beliefs of green living, and does give many suggestions how to live that way. I would check this out at the library before you buy and then leaf through and look at what interests you and read those sections.

I’d give it: C+

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by: by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, and Steven L. Hopp

I am three chapters into this book, and it is another eat from the earth type of book. A family moves from Arizona to the Virginia area to live on and off of the land. (not make a living, just eat) They vow to grow as much of their own food as possible and support local farmers for what they cannot grow or produce, (chicken, beef) themselves. The author does a great job at adding details about the food industry, seed companies and how eating in American has changed over the years. Makes you think about what you eat and where it comes from. A closely related book is the 100 Mile Diet.

I’d give it: A-

15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids.
This book is written by Rebecca P. Cohen, a gardener, mother and writer for the Wildlife Federation.  She decided to embark on a mission of getting her children out of the house for 15 minutes each day for one year.  She chronicles her year by the seasons and gives 365 examples of fun outdoor activities you can do with your own children, or in a daycare or school setting.  I am someone who pretty much lives outside except for when I am sleeping, even in the not so fun 3 other seasons in Michigan besides Summer.  So, sometimes it takes having some “town kids” out to our property to reset my thinking on life and being outside so much.  It is a good book and is laid out nice by the seasons on how to get outdoor living into each day no matter where you live.
National Wildlife Federation

Rebecca Cohen’s Blog
I’d give it: A

American Buffalo by Steven Rinella

American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, By: Steven Rinella
This book is part storytelling, part American History and part BIG game hunting.  Steven tells a great story whether it is sitting on the Beardsley Stage in Muskegon, Michigan showcasing his photos or over the course of a book.  My guess is it would be great to listen to his stories over any of his meals he has hunted to eat for dinner.  I digress….. Owen and myself met Steven in the Summer of 2011 and it was a memorable, wonderful experience.  In this book he wins the “lottery” to hunt buffalo and brings us along with him for the hunt and a treasure trove of information on the American West of long ago to the present day.  Super book! I enjoyed the notes along with the photos in the book as it made me feel like I was taking the journey with him.  SIDE NOTE: Steven currently has a great show running on The Sportsman Channel on Sunday Nights @ 9:00pm called THE MEAT EATER.  It is fabulous.
Grade: A

The Help
By: Kathryn Stockett
Super book, that I could not put down over the middle of the Summer.  I had never heard of the book and a very close friend said,”I have a book you would like, it reminds me of you…… Your canning, your lifestyle, your roots.” So, since she is a great friend, and I usually do what she says because she has never been wrong yet, I read it.  She was right again! I planned to see the movie, and am still waiting to do that.  After seeing all the awards that the movie was nominated for, it makes me want to see it more.  Summary: A good southern tale of women in the 50-60′s of life with “the help”.  There were times I was right there on the porch or kitchen of these women, with my Grandmother Marion…. who lived the life, without any HELP.

Grade: A

Girl Hunter
By: Georgia Pellegrini
I saw this book at the store and the cover grabbed me and took me to the checkout lane at Barnes and Noble.  When I read the back cover and say Steven Rinella and Ree Drummond’s quotes, I was hooked before I started reading.  I think that is an adequate way to describe the book, as it is a mix of those two people mixed with a little “upper crust” feel.  After reading the book I decided that it was time I make a plan to hunt for turkey in the Spring and harvest my first 2 deer this Fall off of our property. (I already have a list of the top 10 reasons I am gonna bag that buck!)
Summary: This book puts you at the campfire with “The Commish” and others on a lakeside cabin showcasing that hunting is not always about the hunt. But about what conversations lead up to the hunt, the harvest and of course the eating events.  She describes in detail the people and the hunts and you can feel that she transforms herself from a newbie hunter to a legit shooter.  One of my favorite parts are the recipes and the descriptions of each at the end of each chapter.  Her descriptive language is not that of Steven Rinella, but she brings a different view to hunting, and hunting as a woman.  That I respect.

Grade: A-

Duck Dynasty

The Duck Commander Family By: Willie Robertson
I was given this book by a co-worker to read because she knew a couple things about me. #1: I love watching the TV Show. #2 Part of my family is from Newport AR, near Searcy AR. They were farmers and I swear that my Aunt Bobbie, who was married to my Uncle Willie is another version of Kay. From her cooking to her dark hair, to her accent, to her generation. Great women from a great part of the USA. The book was a quick read and at times felt like I was at a family reunion.  I know not everyone could say that, nor do they want to be from a family like that, BUT there are some great common qualities.  I read half the book in one night, after teaching school. The other half I finished in another Sunday afternoon.  It has recipes and the titles of the chapters all have to do with food.  It tells many funny stories, and gives great parenting advice to today’s generation.  It is a quick read and gives insight into business, family and faith.  Good for them!

Grade: A

How Children SucceedHow Children Succeed by: Paul Tough
Interesting read about how poverty, college education chess and character traits predict how successful children are, or not.  It is thick with educational studies, follows schools in New York, and a chess teacher/coach that has tremendous success with her students. It also focuses on a lot of stats that predict if a person will become successful and happy. These made the top of the list: grit, self control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.  It also states that adults in children’s life can make a great difference besides their parents. Yea teachers, coaches, clergy, club leaders and more.  Many other books are referenced in this book that I’m sure would be good to read.

Grade: A-