Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category
ABC’s booksellers don’t just sell books: as well as being voracious readers, almost all ABC staff members are personally responsible for buying the books for one or more sections in the stores. That means you’ll always find someone who can put exactly the right book in your hands when you need it. We asked our buyers for their tips for the best gifts for the upcoming holiday season, and they came up with some great ones: new books, classic books, magazines, games, merchandise, and stationery.
I normally keep away from books about pets and their lives, because these books are mostly written after the beloved pet is dead and I know I’m gonna weep and weep and weep, not enjoying the read itself. Following Atticus by Tom Ryan however I couldn’t resist. First of all, it is an account of a miniature schnauzer (just like my ABC dog Tessi (see right)). Secondly, after seeing the book in a catalogue I checked out the internet and found Atticus M. Finch’s and Tom’s blog and was happily surprised Atticus was still alive.
I could actually read this book!
As soon the book was out and my dear colleague Sophie put one copy aside for me, I started immediately. And after the ‘long’ wait I wasn’t disappointed. Better yet, I got much more than I thought I would get.
It’s not “just” a story about a special little dog (aren’t they all?) and his master, but a story of self-discovery by taking the road less travelled, daring to say that the main road with all the people on it doesn’t have to be the best road for you, even if that means being “different” or “special”. Just like with Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s not about whether you win or lose a set goal, you don’t have to know where you are going or where you have to end up. It’s all about trying and the changes in yourself.
So, what am I talking about?
I’m talking about Tom Ryan, a controversial journalist in a small town in New Hampshire, reluctantly taking in Max, an elderly miniature schnauzer who hadn’t had much luck in his life up ’till then. Max opens up a new life for Tom, but after only a year and a half Max dies and Tom is by himself yet again. But something changed already in Tom and he decides to have another dog. In comes a puppy miniature schnauzer he calls Atticus M(ax) Finch. With the help from the breeder Tom and Atticus find a way in the world together, both enjoying their walks, the peace and quiet and the best company they can have: each other. Some of the mountains close to home they take on in the summer, but after a friend of Tom dies of cancer they decide on taking on the forty-eight highest peaks twice in winter time, and to raise money for a cancer fund.
Do they know what to expect? No.
Are they crazy? Some might say yes.
Are they courageous? I think so.
Will they make their goal? Not important.
Will they have the time of their lives? Most definitely!
And it is only the beginning…
Reviewed by Ester
PS How did the refrain of that song go again?:
When the river was deep I didn’t falter
When the mountain was high I still believed
When the valley was low it didn’t stop me, no no
I knew you were waiting
I knew you were waiting for me
Let us be your personal shoppers!
ABC’s booksellers don’t just sell books: as well as being voracious readers, almost everyone you’ll meet at the cash desk at ABC is personally responsible for buying the books for one or more sections in the store. That means you’ll always find someone who can put exactly the right book in your hands when you need it. We asked our buyers for their tips for the best gifts for Christmas, and they came up with some crackers: a sackful of ideas to suit every taste and budget. There are new books, classic books, magazines, games, puzzles, and even cuddly toys. Here are just a few of their ideas. Follow the links to find more ideas on:
Or, to see all of our gift ideas for 2011, see the other posts!
The sun is here and warm, the soil is no longer a frozen clump or alternately a bloated, soggy mass that you can’t do anything with. It’s officially spring and time, in other words, to dig! Time to plant seeds, clean up winter’s debris and see the miracle that is nature reborn. I love gardening, and surprised myself a few years ago with the fact that seeds planted by me do, indeed, grow into plants. I’m so bitten by the bug I even have an allotment, where I spend far too little time for my liking (although I did get out there these past two days!). Here are my five gardening favorites:
1. Allotment Month by Month – Alan Buckingham
My allotment bible. Lots of pictures (not too surprising, as it’s a Dorling Kindersley publication), and clearly organized. The first section handles each month separately, letting you know what to do when (when to prepare your soil, grow your seeds under glass, when to plant out, when to harvest, what pests and diseases to look out for) and giving you lots of tips on fruits and vegetables that can stand the winter. The second part lists the separate fruits and vegetables, so you can have a quick look at when you need to cover up what specific bed or what that black spot on that leaf might mean. It also has lots sidebars with specific tips on growing better vegetables and storage, for example.
If you don’t like growing vegetables, well, there are quite a few “regular” garden equivalents, too.
2. Soil Mates: Companion Planting for Your Vegetable Garden – Sara Alway
What a brilliant little book this is! Gives you all kinds of tips on how to aid nature in avoiding pests (or attracting the right insects). See, Mother Nature is a clever thing, and has already thought of many ways in which plants influence and encourage each other to grow, and this book lays out what plants to group together to get the best out of all of them. It’s written in a light-hearted style and has some recipes to boot!
3. RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers – Christopher Brickell
Ah yes, a gorgeous brick of plant knowledge. Chock-full of pictures and information and, indeed, plants. More than 8000 of them. Makes you want to run out to the gardening center with an unlimited creditcard…
4. Tabletop Gardens: 40 Stylish Plantscapes for Counters and Shelves, Desktops and Windowsills – Rosemary McCreary and William Holt
I can’t take credit for this title – a customer came a few months ago asking for something like this, and I went a-hunting (see? we do listen to you!). Since most of us live in apartments without gardens, here is an excellent book to bring nature into your home in a stylish way. Not that I don’t like the simple bouquet of flowers in a vase, mind you, but these plantscapes are just a level of cool up.
If you want to grow vegetables in your apartment, well, there are lots of books on growing vegetables in pots too (seriously – just type in vegetables + pots or vegetables + containers, and you get oodles of options).
5. New Holland Concise Garden Wildlife Guide – Sandra Doyle and Stuart Carter
These small, plastic-covered books (there is also one on insects and one on trees) are perfect! Yes, there are bats in the Netherlands, and snakes, even in urban areas. You don’t want to know how many ducks walk through my garden on a sunny afternoon. But what always interests me is when I’m weeding, or with my head right in the middle of a group of tomato plants because I’m harvesting or taking out the shoots, is all the teeny tiny animals buzzing about or scurrying hither and yon because I’m traipsing through their territory. I’m always suprised by the numbers, and the variety – I must have seen about six different types and color variations of lady bugs the past two years, and this rather startlingly big bug(ger) has made our allotment his home. These little books help me figure out what exactly it is I’m seeing.