Reading: Revolution, Thursday Next, M.C. Beaton, Childbirth, Harriet Bean, Managing Web Projects

Finished reading:

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved by Sandor Katz – One of the food-issue books that Steve got me for Christmas. I’m not sure if my description will do this book justice as it was very information-dense! Each chapter focuses on a different food topic, where you essentially find out how big corporations and government is bad and how different individuals and grassroot movements are dealing with the food issue.

For example: Problem: Big corporation trying to control all seed production; governments not sympathetic to people who want to bring in their native culture’s seeds. By allowing the big corporation(s) to control seeds, you end up with genetically engineered seeds everywhere with unforeseen results and biodiversity is lost. Reaction: Description of groups who pool and trade heirloom seeds. Other food issues addressed that I found interesting were milk production and pasteurization, the problems faced by farmers who want to sell “modified” foods like cheese, butter, etc., humane meat and vegetarianism, and local and seasonal food.

Some of the things in the book definitely tends toward the “crazy activist” side of things which I personally am not so comfortable with and you’re not going to find a “balanced presentation” of both sides of an issue; however, I think this was a good book as it provoked many a reaction from me that led to more research on my own.

Thursday Next in First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde – The latest book in the Thursday Next series; I doubt it will make much sense if you haven’t read the others! Thursday Next is a woman who lives in a very strange world; fictional characters really exist in their own dimension and “act” the storyline as the book gets read in the “outland.” Thursday’s job as a Jurisfiction agent is to make sure that things go smoothly, as sometimes there are ambitious characters who want more than their due and technical difficulties have to be resolved (such as the problem of having only 15 pianos that have to be transported to different books as they are referenced). What makes the plot even more complicated, of course, is that Thursday hasn’t told her husband, Landen, that she’s working for Jurisfiction (he thinks she installs carpets); there’s a nationwide problem of increasing stupidity levels and decreasing attention spans; her son, Friday, is supposed to come up with the concept of time travel in order for the standard timeline history to flow properly or else time will collapse on itself but he’s being a slouchy teenager; and why does she never seem to see her daughter Jenny at dinner?

If I’ve confused you, check out the earlier books in the series (The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, The Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten) and then settle in for an equally crazy ride with this book. It starts out slow but picks up in the middle.

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet, Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener, and Death of a Prankster by M.C. Beaton- Still continuing to read the Hamish Macbeth series (Death of a Prankster) but picked up another series by the same author. Agatha Raisin has retired to a tiny village. She is a very quirky character with lots of flaws and rather annoying when you first meet her, but I’ve found that she’s grown on me and will be reading more Agatha Raisin books in the future!

Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats by Alexander McCall Smith – Children’s book. Okay.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin – Great book if you need convincing and/or reassurance about natural, non-medicated childbirth. The first half of the book has short personal accounts from mothers about their birth experiences. The second half of the book talks about natural childbirth and provides reasons for avoiding medical interventions (inducing labor, drugs, etc.). Ina May is a world-renown midwife (the only midwife to have a medical technique named after her!); on “the Farm” (a community in Tennessee) where she lives, childbirth is a normal, natural experience without negative, fearful connotations attached to it. Lots of people go to the Farm to give birth; they have a ridiculously low rate of women tearing and needing C-sections or other medical interventions. This book definitely has shaped my desired approach to childbirth and, I hope, has shaped my attitude about it as well — that it’s not something to be afraid of, but an experience to embrace.

Managing Web Projects by Katy Whitton – Katy reads my blog (and I read hers) and offered a copy of her ebook for me to review. It was great timing because I was trying to put together my first official proposal for an in-person pitch — up until now, all my jobs have been word-of-mouth and rather informal. I found Managing Web Projects to be a great overview as it provided things to think about and address when making a proposal and pitch as well as a sample contract and technical specification document at the end. There are more things in between regarding hiring or managing a team, invoicing the client, and more. The book doesn’t go into much detail (for example, it provides a bulleted list of what should be included in your “pitch” but it’s up to you to figure out how to shape it), but if you are brand new to freelance web development, you might find the $9.99 worth it to get the overview of things you should be thinking about and doing in order to protect yourself and your client. In any case, take a look at the web site and download a sample chapter to see if you like her style!

With a bookmark: (Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)

  • Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
  • Sacred Attitudes by Erica Ross-Krieger
  • Body, Soul, and Baby by Tracy Gaudet
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway
  • The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

In the library book box:

  • Real Food by Nina Planck
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.
  • So That’s What They’re For! by Janet Tamero

2 thoughts on “Reading: Revolution, Thursday Next, M.C. Beaton, Childbirth, Harriet Bean, Managing Web Projects

  1. Thanks for the write-up Corrie, I’m glad you liked my book 🙂

    Also, thanks for reminding me about the Thursday Next books, I’ve read the first 3 and didn’t realise there were more out, yeay!

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