Monday, May 17, 2021

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Book Review

Book Reviews


By Barbara Pleasant Storey Publishing 05/02/17 $22.95 328 pp

By Barbara Pleasant
Storey Publishing
328 pp

‘Home Grown Pantry’

Barbara Pleasant has written several bestselling books on organic gardening and self-sufficient living, along with regular articles for Mother Earth News and Mother Earth Living. Her new book is a comprehensive, beautifully illustrated and well-organized reference for the beginning and more experienced gardener alike.

In five chapters, she provides essential information for the home organic gardener. The first chapter, “Why Grow Your Own Food,” provides ways gardens “can be managed to produce great food as efficiently as possible.” Chapter two gives step-by-step instructions for basic food preservation methods. The final three chapters give details on a wide variety of suggested vegetables, fruits and herbs. For each type of plant, she gives precise information on the best varieties, how much to grow, how to grow them, and the best ways to preserve your harvest.

This book is an excellent resource for how to successfully garden and preserve what you grow, and it also champions and supports the wholesome, well-rounded lifestyle that home gardening can provide. As a true bonus, Pleasant states: “Growing and preserving at least some of your own food will…make you feel more secure in a wild and ever-changing world.” — Review by Fay Jones


Prep Iowa
By Dan Chaon Ballantine Books 03/07/17 $28 480 pp

By Dan Chaon
Ballantine Books
480 pp

‘Ill Will’

In his unnerving, haunting new literary thriller, Chaon delivers a masterful suspense story. His novel focuses on Dustin Tillman, a psychologist in his 40s in Cleveland. A damaged person to say the least, Dustin not only experienced abuse as a child but also underwent the murder of his parents, aunt and uncle. Decades later, his wife dying of cancer and his sons distant, he is distracted, “murky with circling, unfocused dread.” As his family unravels, he befriends a patient who is obsessed with the unsolved drowning deaths of young men in the region, and the two set out to investigate on their own.

Dustin hears that his older cousin Rusty is let out of prison after 30 years, exonerated after being convicted of killing Dustin’s family, partially based on Dustin’s testimony as a young boy. As hazy memories resurface, Dustin cannot exactly recall what happened when he was a child, and he questions what he knows. As his malaise persists and his world collapses, the frenetic, chaotic pace of the story accelerates, exacerbated by Chaon’s shifts in narration and time and his fragmented, urgent chapters. The disorienting, frightening effect skillfully leads us down a dark hallway to a grim, disturbing finish. — Review by Fay Jones


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