Jessica’s Library Haul

God, I love the library!

I’m reading Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves for the online African American Read-In (hosted by Ari of Reading in Color, Doret of HappyNappyBookseller, and Edi of Crazy Quilts). It’s going to be on February 20th so I had to get my act together and get a hold of the book! I’m super excited, though. I’ve heard such good things about it and just needed the excuse!

From the inside cover: “Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pill, and a closet stuffed with frilly violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas, in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. As this crazy girl meets and even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.”


The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Brand new to my library! *faints from being TOTALLY THRILLED TO PIECES*

This book hits so many of my book fetishes. Orphans, secret societies, secret societies WITH FEMALE AGENTS, historical setting (Victorian), INTRIGUE, MYSTERY, a mysterious house, people with SECRETS.

*faints again*

Seriously, guys, this book was freaking written for me. I think.



Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier

And, of course, my (first) obligatory gardening book and, like all of them, fairly useless since I don’t have my own garden. This one is pretty awesome, though. I love growing some of my own food and not having to replant every year is a huge draw for someone as lazy as me!

For the non-gardeners out there, annuals are plants that you plant every year and die every year. A lot of flowers and vegetables are annuals. Biennials are a bit longer-lived – their life cycle takes two years to go through. Perennials live anywhere from three years to, well, as long as any plant can live. Trees are a great example of perennials. Oftentimes, perennials will take two years to get a real harvest.

The book is split into three parts: Gardening with Perennial Vegetables, Species Profiles, and Resources. As you would expect, the largest part of the book are the profiles. I’ve already read through the first part and can’t wait to start making a wishlist of plants I will someday grow!


Farm City by Novella Carpenter

Do I really need to read yet another memoir sort of book detailing some twenty- or thirty-something’s adventures in urban farming?

Yes, yes, I do.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked this up (like I said, I’ve read a few of these books already), BUT Carpenter’s tale takes place near me, in Oakland, California. The street she describes living on sounds eerily familiar to my brother’s street.

I love living here in the Bay Area. I love its life, its diversity, its wonderful weather… I love to read about other people loving the Bay Area. So when you combine that with urban farming, well, I found it pretty irresistible!



So what have ya’ll gotten from the library recently? And if you liked the sound of Bleeding Violet, join in on the Read-In!


Library Haul – Urban Homesteading

I went to the library today and got three books on something that I desperately want to try as soon as I’m not moving every year: urban homesteading. We’re talking a vegetable garden, a couple of hens and a bee hive, all in my (nonexistent) backyard. And that’s just the beginning – you can keep pigs and goats and rabbits, oh my! But what I really want is a vegetable garden, a couple of hens, and a beehive. It’s the American dream, no?

I’m most familiar with gardening, as relatives on both sides of the family are way into it, so I didn’t pick any books that focus on it. I’ve already got that background. I can make things grow – it’s one of those things I know I can do. I’d want all of the normal things: potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, peas… Ooo, and some sort of squash and corn! I could do that magic trio thing! But I also want, oh so much, an artichoke plant. They’re one of my favorite foods and my aunts have a couple of plants and I’m just so jealous! I’d also a fruit tree, but which kind? Not avocadoes – I love them, but it would be too much for me. I need something I can preserve. Not apples or lemons, either. Maybe plums or pears?

I’m digressing. My dream is just so captivating! But let me tell you about the books I got:

Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich is the one I’ve already started. Woginrich spends most of each chapter with narratives about her own journey and ends them with some basic information about getting started on your own, so I thought it would be a good primer.

The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen is completely a guide – no narrative – and is more focused on the urban lifestyle. (Woginrich eventually would like to be completely self-sustaining, quitting her day job and everything. Her idea of paradise is getting away from it all in the country; I don’t share that dream.) I’m excited for the book, except for one huge drawback – there are NO page numbers! … Yeah, I have no idea who made that decision.

The last book I got isn’t about urban homesteading, but is instead “an intimate history of bees, honey, and humankind”. At least according to the subtitle. The book is Letters from the Hive by Stephen Buchanan. I figure that if I’m going to keep bees (someday), I should know a bit of their history!

One last book I really wanted, but was checked out: The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan. It looks totally awesome.