Monday, October 24, 2011

Seattle Authors

The last two books I've read were both written by Seattle authors.  Since they were both quite enjoyable and are related to the idea of homesteading and urban living, I'm going to review them both!

Crow Planet
by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Some of you are aware of my fascination with crows.  They are totally wicked cool.  They're super intelligent, they have really complex relationships with their fellow corvid mates, and they can be really fun to watch.  I've loved them for a while now despite a lot of anti-crow remarks that you hear all the time. (Rats with wings, they're really mean, etc.)  This book is about naturalizing.  Naturalizing is beasically what it sounds like; studying nature in depth.  Naturalizing generally happens in really "natural" surroundings, forests, meadows, beaches, etc.  But this book talks about naturalizing in urban spaces... Seattle to be exact.

Haupt mentions that not a day goes by without at least one encounter with a crow.  Whether there's actually interaction or not, crows are there to be seen every day.  They are a constant reminder of the natural world, though we have begun to count them apart from nature due to their constant presence.  She talks about how the population growth of crows has mirrored the population growth of humans over the centuries and that we are the reason there are so many.  They can adapt to our habitats, whereas many other creatures cannot, ergo, more crows.  The book is a good reminder of our relationship with nature and how responsible we are of the changes we see to our surroundings.  Three out of four eggs for this one. 

Farm City
by Novella Carpenter

Oh boy did I love this book.  Shawn couldn't even put it down and that's saying a lot because he is a serial book non-finisher.  This is a book about a lady with some serious balls who moved from Seattle to Oakland (the armpit of the west coast) and created an urban farm in an abandoned lot next to her apartment.  The characters in this book are hilarious, from Bobby, the homeless man that lives in cars on their street, to Lana, her art-loving neighbor, to Cornrows Boy who comes by to adopt a rabbit, and Chris, the fancy chef who she meets while dumpster diving in his restaurant, who teaches her how to make salami with her pigs.

She started with a garden and box of bees, moved on to chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, then eventually, pigs.  She's a serious homesteader and serious DIY'er.  She is just like me, except times ten.  I think I enjoyed the book so much because everything she did, I would totally do... if I had the guts.  She likes to make stuff out of junk and dumpster-dived regularly for food for her livestock.  She went through the terrors and eventual pride of butchering her own food (all except the pigs) and the stress of living in Oakland, surrounded by prostitutes, gangs, bums, and several instances of dogs coming in to kill her livestock.  I wish I could be just like her.  I probably won't, but this book inspires me to do more and not be afraid of things.  She is why I want to write a book myself.  Four out of four eggs... it's that good.

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