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Monday, May 28, 2018

The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs - Tristan Gooley

Over the years our lives have become increasingly easier with technology making information easily available. Smartphones can provide updates on the weather, your location, what plants you're looking at, and a number of other information in the blink of an eye. Many of us have lost knowledge that was once easily accessible in our brains through lack of use, while others have never had the opportunity to learn it with technology so readily available.

With this book, Gooley hopes to bring this once common knowledge back to our consciousness. The conversational tone with which the book is written in makes the information easy to process and digest. He talks about his own experiences with how he used his knowledge in every day excursions, like using moss to figure out which direction he needs to head or using the stars to find his way, and how he used various signs to anticipate the weather for those excursions.

The information is also provided in a number of tables and pictures within the chapters for those who find visual representations helpful. The author also provides further resources at the end of the book for those who would like to expand their knowledge.

This is a book more for beginner's or those who want to brush up on their knowledge base. Experienced individuals may find value in the experiences in which Gooley conveys the use of this knowledge. A light and enjoyable read.

More by the Author:
How to Read Water
How to Read Nature
The Natural Navigator

Friday, May 25, 2018

Thug Kitchen - Thug Kitchen

With humor and some coarse language, Thug Kitchen provides everything you need to know to learn how to cook vegan meals well. Many people are intimidated when reading new recipes, especially if it involves a new food, like tofu or seitan. This book provides instructions on how to prepare and cook both familiar and unfamiliar foods from beginning to end. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and desserts are all contained in this fantastic cookbook. I often laughed out loud at the commentary of the author on how to prepare foods. Many of the recipes in here are ones I've found to be tried and true.

Both those who are new to vegan recipes or familiar with them will certainly find some value in this thorough and humorous read.

More by the Author:
Thug Kitchen 101
Thug Kitchen Party Grub

Author's Website:

Recommended Reads:
Forks Over Knives
The Omnivore's Dilemma

Recommended Resources: Recipes
Spartan Race Recipe emails

Monday, May 21, 2018

Balder The Beautiful: A Song Of Divine Death - Robert Williams Buchanan

In this poetical written work, Buchanan retells the story of Baldur the Beautiful, whose death foretells the beginning of the end to the Norse Gods, with his own personal ideas to expand on what is originally a short piece. In 9 (IX) "Books" he tells the story of Baldur's birth, the protection bestowed upon him by Fre(y)a, the circumstances leading to his death, the Twilight of the Gods, and his return to bless the land. Between these chapters Buchanan adds his own emotionally charged ideas of Baldur's journey into the afterlife, his search to speak with the personification of death, and his struggle of his short life, and even an encounter with the parallel figure of sacrifice: Jesus.

This work was sometimes difficult for me to read due to the style, but it was such a wonderful read. I felt myself rage and lament along with Baldur as he made his way through his confusing life and afterlife. While some may be turned off by his inclusion of the figure of Jesus, I found their dialogue insightful. For those who would like an
emotionally charged retelling of this story from the Edda, I highly recommend this piece.

Source Material:
Prose Edda - translated by Jesse L. Byock

Additional Reading:
Balder the Beautiful - James George Frazer
Baldur the Beautiful - Grace Denio Litchfield

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Sacred Heart of Jesus - Saint John Eudes

Saint John Eudes felt such fervor in the burning passion in the Sacred Heart of Jesus that he wrote to bring others closer, as well. The first portion is a series of chapters where he talks about the various aspects of the Sacred Heart, such as Jesus's love for His Heavenly father, His earthly mother, and for the people on earth (us). Following this are several meditations for readers to use to bring themselves closer to Jesus's love, in both mind and deed. It also includes a Mass and Office of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that includes the Latin beside an English translation. The final portion of this piece contains a series of prayers that can be used to bring ones heart closer to Jesus and His purpose.

The writings in this book are sometimes soft and loving, while others are hard and disciplined. In order to gain full benefits from this book, I'd advise readers to read only one chapter a day to give the mind and heart time to digest the ideas. In this book readers will strengthen their
relationship with Jesus and find their own way to make their heart more like that of the Heart of Jesus.

Monday, May 14, 2018

City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett

After hearing of the death of her former mentor in the foreign land of Bulikov, Shara Thivani insists that she is allowed to investigate what she believes is his murder. The strange city once rumored to be filled with the powers of gods is now just ruins of what it once was. The landscape is surreal with staircases leading to nowhere and the leaders of this land are just as mysterious.

Despite her seeming innocence, few of the people who knew her colleague are willing to speak with her, impeding her investigation.
When she finally does make headway, she finds herself combating political intrigue and local custom. Despite the help of her loyal companion Sigrud, if she's not careful she could not only lose her life, but also her soul in this strange city full of danger, mystery, and wonder.

Although it took me a little while to warm up the main character, Shara, I was easily carried away by the world Bennett created. Filled with traditions, mores, and folklore that impeded Shara's investigation as a visitor from a foreign power I felt immersed in the environment. Even as Shara pieced everything together more intrigue awaited her on the journey. I look forward to reading further installments of this series.

Books in the Series:
City of Blades
City of Miracles

Friday, May 11, 2018

Odinn's Child - Tim Severin

In the year 1001, Thorgils Leiffson, the son of Leif the Lucky, is sent to Greenland to be raised as a foster child of Gudrid. Without his mother and father, he grows up with little knowledge of his past, so when his abilities of second sight rise to the surface, he has little understanding of what is occurring. His mentors try to teach him the old ways so he can stay afloat, but his wandering ways lead him into danger.

The passive voice used to tell this story is reminiscent of the tellings found in the Eddas and Sagas, which are worked in throughout the novel. Although I liked how this set the mood, I found the narrative sometimes tiresome. I'm torn between wanting to continue the series. I enjoyed how the author worked in the history and folklore, but the style made it difficult to read. For those who enjoy fiction set in this era or the topic, I would recommend giving it a go.

Books in the Series:
Sworn Brother
King's Man

Monday, May 7, 2018

Infomocracy - Malka Ann Older

After the world changed from warring states to a worldwide democracy, the world had become more peaceful. But after two election cycles, many people are dissatisfied with the new system. Now with a global democracy in place, information has also become monopolized despite its wide availability to the public.

Tensions increase as the election draws near, and one group has even resorted to physical violence to show their dissatisfaction. The question is who is committing these crimes and how can they be stopped.

Every day I excitedly hopped into my car for my daily commute to listen to what would happen next in this thrilling ride of social and political intrigue. A fantastic read for those who like dystopian series, as well. Highly recommended!

Books in the Series:
Null States
State Tectonics

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Demon-Haunted World - Carl Sagan

Many people best know Carl Sagan from the 1980s science television series Cosmos, where he inspired people with science. Sagan's love of science continues to inspire people even today.

Originally written in 1995, Sagan wrote this book in hopes of bringing current science to every day people. Despite the advances in science and technology this book remains relevant today. With his personal anecdotes from childhood, Sagan provides readers with relatable ways to understand science and provides tools for people to better determine what is real and what is not on their own.

Many people may be familiar with excerpts of this book that are often used in classroom, such as the "Dragon in the Garage" analogy on the burden of proof.

I encourage anybody who wants to learn more about science and the wonder of the world to read Sagan's passionate and compassionate book about our world.

Recommended Reads:
Magic of Reality - Richard Dawkins