Good Reads

I’m always reading something. Probably because I’ve never actually owned a TV myself, nor do I have Netflix or Hulu on my laptop. While staying in other people’s houses or sitting in waiting rooms, I do enjoy HGTV and DIY network. I also recently discovered what a podcast is…. and went through a two week addiction to true crime stories. But, books have always been my staple form of entertainment and leisure activity.

On this page I’ll share titles with you and I’ll try to update  at least once a month. If you’ve got recommendations for me, I’m all ears! Leave a comment or contact me.

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What I’m Reading

Feb. 19, 2018

Horse Heaven (Ballantine Reader’s Circle) by Smiley, Jane (2001) Paperback

This book wasn’t just about horses. I mean, it was a lot about horses, specifically the thoroughbred racing industry. But, it’s really about people: their relationships, morals, and motivations. Told from multiple viewpoints, it interweaves the stories of people who are entrenched in or stumble across horse racing in many forms- there’s the rich but naïve owners, the young jockey, the kid who’s dad is a gambler, the trainers battling their consciences, the breeder with two kinds of baby monitors, balancing her own newborn and the foals. Jane Smiley also employs the horse’s (and a dog’s!) perspective. She does this without it being childish or fantastical, instead it really does add insight to the whole story as she explores their psyches. Horse Heaven was thought provoking and honest, not a quick read or a jolly one. It’s worth sticking it out to the end as the author is able to tie things together without being all obvious and sappy about it.

What I’m Reading

April 4, 2018

The Shepherdess of Siena: A Novel of Renaissance Tuscany

by Linda Lafferty

The whole theme in which a child forms a special bond with a difficult horse has been around since Bucephalus and Alexander the Great, who knows maybe even before that. However, if you love horses like I do, it never gets old. Here the young protagonist is determined to ride in the “Palio”, a bareback race through the city of Siena. But of course, she faces obstacles like, 1. Being a girl. The Palio is still held today, but since the story takes place in the Renaissance, the reader gets all the drama with the Medici family and famous artists of the period. The book is pretty long, some 500+ pages, because you know, she gets stuck in a convent for a while….but still, it’s pretty good. I first read this when it came out a few years ago but I am re-reading it now. It’s fun to look for new details after having recently travelled to Italy and seeing Siena with my own eyes.  

What I’m Reading

April 14, 2018

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

By Florence Williams

I’ve always known that recess beats gym class, trails beat treadmills, and barbeques beat banquets. I think everyone intuits on some level that fresh air, green grass, and blue skies are good for us. In this book the author seeks answers in emerging science to the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind this. If nature is a curative medicine- lowering our blood pressure, boosting our immune system, and even helping our vision- then is there a recommended dose? Do we need the real deal or does looking at pictures, virtual reality, or sniffing essential oils suffice?

Don’t worry, it doesn’t read like a scientific publication. In fact, the journalistic style is sometimes too casual. Take this example from page 126, “Because when we’re stuck indoors looking at screens, our eyes aren’t happy. Mine get dry and start to hurt. I went to my eye doctor for eye pain, and she was like, welcome to the club”. To me, those three sentences belong in an email between Aunties, not a research-based book.

The experiments got boring for me after a while. Nature is good for you, duh, duh, more duh.  Instead of being totally engrossed, I put the Nature Fix down twice, and get this, went for a walk outside. Even though this book didn’t enthrall me as much as I thought it would, it’s worth chewing over and I hope we continue to see more works like it being published.

In a time when our world’s population is ever growing, exploiting natural resources, and becoming increasingly urbanized, I fear more and more people will lose access to nature. For those who can’t recognize the intrinsic value of protecting our planet, maybe the desire to protect human health will be the incentive needed to start appreciating nature. If ever there was a drug meant to be shared, it’s The Nature Fix.