Reading list

How What We Eat Has Shaped Our World

November 9, 2020
By
How What We Eat Has Shaped Our World

As we enter the holiday season, many of us are beginning to plan festive meals to share with our family and friends (virtual turkey-carving, anyone?). Visions of roasted meats, fresh breads, heirloom vegetables, herbs, spices, and sweet sweet pies abound. But what shaped our modern diets? Why do we eat what we eat, and what does the cultivation of our menus look like? We checked in with the authors of a range of foodie tomes to hear their response to a central question: how has food production and consumption shaped our modern world? Carolyn Cobbold, author of A Rainbow Palate: How Chemical Dyes Changed the West’s Relationship with Food “Man-made chemical additives and industrialization have democratized food consumption by bringing cheaper products with a longer shelf life to more people. At the same time, our trust in food, producers, and science has diminished. We fret about not knowing the provenance of our food while forgetting that billions of people can now eat like kings in cities devoid of farms. We worry about the long-term impact of consuming food filled with synthetic chemicals, but we forget that modern preservatives help to kill the bacteria that rots food and makes us ill. . . .

Read more »

A Very October Reading List

October 21, 2020
By

In numerous cultures, it is believed, even celebrated, that with the arrival of autumn, the veil between the living world and what lies beyond grows thin—from Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, in Mexico and Spain; to Fed Gede, or Festival of the Ancestors, in Haiti; to Yu Lan, or the Hungry Ghost Festival, in China; to Halloween in the United States. While each holiday is nuanced and unique, October welcomes traditions around the globe that center on mortality. As spirits, ancestors, ghosts, and ghouls parade into our earthly realm, we offer a reading list that will invite you to consider death and dying from a wide variety of vantage points. Is the Cemetery Dead? by David Charles Sloane In modern society, we have professionalized our care for the dying and deceased in hospitals and hospices, churches and funeral homes, cemeteries and mausoleums to aid dazed and disoriented mourners. But these formal institutions can be alienating and cold, leaving people craving a more humane mourning and burial process. Is the Cemetery Dead? gets to the heart of the tragedy of death, chronicling how Americans are inventing new or adapting old traditions, burial places, and memorials. In illustrative prose, . . .

Read more »

An Armchair Traveler’s Reading List

June 30, 2020
By

“What did you do on your summer vacation?” For many of us this pandemic year, the answer is going to be: not much. But even if we can’t take the long-distance holiday our wanderlust desires, there’s nothing stopping our imaginations from roaming. To aid you on your journey, we’ve compiled a selection of travel writing from around the globe that can transport you from India to Dollywood to the Hebrides and back again to your own armchair. Bon voyage! Isolarian: A Different Oxford Journey by James Attlee “Attlee grabs our hand and drags us down Cowley Road in Oxford, determined to prove that it is not a stuffy, medieval, Masterpiece Theatre town. All the messy glories of Cowley Road—pubs and porn shops alike—come to life in this work, which becomes a meditation on home and the nature of pilgrimage.” National Geographic Traveler The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads by Robert A. Kaster “A wonderful preface for any traveler planning an outdoorsy day in Rome or, especially, a trip through southern Italy. Kaster’s enthusiasm for the road and the people (past and present) who populate it is contagious.” Library Journal Volcanoes and Wine: From Pompeii to Napa by Charles Frankel . . .

Read more »

Recommended Readings for Garden Season

June 18, 2020
By

The warmth of the summer sun beckons new life out from the dirt and into our hearts. Summer gardening is an avid pastime for many, but now with the current restrictions and precautions, more people than ever are dedicating time and space to their gardens. Whether you have a green thumb and a full backyard or are just beginning with a modest kitchen window planter, this reading list is sure to dig up information and inspiration for your gardening pursuits. Discoveries in the Garden, by James B. Nardi  “Nardi’s wonderful new book is a must for anyone who wants to be an informed observer of and participant in the life of their garden. From the architecture of plant tissue to the magic shop of plant chemistry, Nardi shows how plants have evolved strategies to help them thrive and offers simple experiments allowing readers to ask them questions. I will never look at the brilliant colors of fall leaves or sniff the fragrance my tomato plants leave on my hands without thanking him for this book.” Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet Darwin’s Most Wonderful . . .

Read more »

Search for books and authors