Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds is a manifesto strongly opposing our current use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As someone pursuing a PhD in bioinformatics and generally comfortable with the idea of genetic engineering, I expected to be entirely unconvinced by the author’s arguments. In fact, I almost didn’t pick this book up at all, because I wasn’t sure I could read it objectively enough. However, I think avoiding reading books by author’s with viewpoints opposed to my own would seriously limit the amount I learn from this project. Surprisingly, I ended up agreeing with a lot of the author’s points, even though I was sometimes shocked by her completely one-sided rhetoric. Continue reading
Tag Archives: dewey decimal system
Finally, a book review! Just for those of you who are new and were beginning to believe I don’t actually do those 😛 In fact, today I have several short book reviews for you, as I spent last week slowly absorbing information from a variety of books on container gardening.
The book I started with was Container Gardening for the Midwest, one of many books at my library which has caused me to be pleasantly surprised by the ability of even a small library to collect lots of region specific books. This book followed a layout typical of the books I read, starting with general information about container gardening. This included the benefits of different pot materials, different design elements (color pairing, shape, etc), how to plant your garden, and how to care for your garden. Following the general care section was a section on specific plants. Unfortunately, for gardening I think location north/south matters at least as much as what region of the US you’re in, so there was still some generality to this section. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the book for that though when the only way to improve that would be an even more specific focus. In fact, the plant specific section in this book was one of my favorites, because it had great pictures for every plant and I prefer to pick plants by appearance before determining whether or not I can really grow them. I think it was a good book to start with, since it didn’t provide overwhelming details, and the long, picture-filled plant section made it the book I used most to make a to-be-shortened list of plants I might like to include in my own balcony garden. Continue reading
As I mentioned in my Monday Musings, I’ve already started to have birds show up on my balcony! In hopes of attracting more I’ve decided to prioritize getting a feeder up, although I don’t know if it will get much use until I have some plants out there to provide shelter for more cautious birds. This week’s book, Iowa Bird Watching, was a great introductory resource for a beginning Iowa bird-watcher or for someone like me who is mostly hoping to watch birds from home. The book includes lists of the best places to go birding and of the top ten must-see birds in Iowa. In addition, there are beautiful pictures provided for the 100 most common birds in Iowa. The sections I found most helpful were the bits on what to feed different birds and a list of bird-friendly plants. Continue reading
This week I’ve been reading Welcoming Wildlife to the Garden and I can’t wait for warm weather so I can try some of their suggestions on my balcony! The first thing I noticed about this book was that it had a lot more in common with A Spring Without Bees than I expected, even knowing they’re neighbors in the dewey decimal system, because this book was incredibly eco-friendly. The authors counsel against using pesticides, suggest Integrated Pest management (using natural predators to get rid of unwanted bugs, as suggested in A Spring Without Bees), and clearly love all animals – even the creepy crawly ones. Personally, I’ve always loved all animals and even think flies are cute when they wash their faces with their legs, kind of the way cats do. So finding a book which seemed to see the best in all animals was like finding a kindred spirit. They even explain how to attract snakes and spiders, which I think a lot of people really wouldn’t go for. I was ready to draw the line when they started talking about Crocodilians, but fortunately the authors didn’t suggest attracting crocodiles and alligators to your yard! Instead they observed that if these animals visit your backyard “that may be wildlife enough”, which made me laugh 🙂 Continue reading
This weekend, I finally finished A Spring Without Bees. This was definitely not a book which took a while because I wasn’t into it, but because I was busy. Plus I had to restrain myself from stopping every few sentences to write down interesting facts about bees! Did you know, bees travel approximately 7 million miles per gallon of honey they produce? All I can say is that if people did that much work for a gallon of honey, it would probably be worth its weight in gold. Continue reading
This morning, I finished the last book from the Percy Jackson series, and I must say, I loved the ending! Although I expected a twist, I wasn’t able to anticipate what actually happened, which was nice. As Jen at The Introverted Reader pointed out, character development was a strong point of these books and it was a lot of fun to see where everyone ended up. So, having finished the series, I would still highly recommend them 🙂
Looking forward, I’ve gotten my next few books for reading through the Dewey Decimal system from the library and I’m pretty excited about them! I’ve also decided to participate in my first meme, Musing Mondays, where book bloggers ponder thoughtful questions from Should Be Reading, the meme’s host. Today’s question is: How far along are you in your current read before you start thinking about what you’ll read next? As you can see from this post, I usually know what I’m reading pretty far in advance, just because I can’t help picking up large stacks of books every time I go to the library. Fortunately, I don’t usually bring a tote bag, so I’m limited by the number I can carry! But I typically still pick out my next fiction series and a chunk of non-fiction on the same or similar topics to read next. So, without further ado, the next few books in my Dewey Decimal Challenge:
638 – A Spring Without Bees – According to wikipedia, a section on “insect culture”, which at my library meant a section on bees. Since I don’t think I’m up to the challenge of raising my own bees, I chose this environmental novel over a how-to book. It seems a little over-dramatic but also gives an interesting view of the ways our food industry depends on bees.
639 – This section was something of a hodge-podge, with books on owning a variety of non-mammalian pets to books on conservation and home gardening. I was tempted to get one of the books on pets, since I’ve always liked animals, but I’m pretty sure if I did I’d be tempted to get a fish, turtle, or bearded dragon – for science. So to avoid the temptation, I instead picked up two books about environmental activists: Nature’s Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm and The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness. The subtitles summarize them pretty well 🙂 And finally, I picked up a book called Welcoming Wildlife To the Garden: Creating Backyard and Balcony Habitats for Wildlife. Although I don’t have a backyard, the section on tips for attracting wildlife to a balcony sold me on this one. I’m sure my cat and I would both love to watch birds and butterflies if I can make a suitable habitat on my balcony.
So here’s to a week of good reading! Feel free to post your own thoughts on the Monday Musings question in the comments or on your own blog.