Tag Archives: book review

Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines Review

I was sent a copy of the Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines to review a couple weeks ago. If you’re into mythology, it’s a nice resource on the many female characters found in mythology all around the world.

The book is divided by continent and then by region, allowing you to explore goddesses and heroines from a particular region if you so choose. If you prefer, you can also look them up by name in the index, very helpful if you aren’t entirely certain where to look for a particular name.

My oldest daughter was really excited when this book came. She loves mythology. She was a little sad that each goddess or heroine only has a little information, usually a couple of paragraphs, a quick story about her, not a full story, so I explained to her that that’s not how encyclopedias work. It’s a reference for who each one is, not a collection of stories. You do get a bit of the story of each, but not in the way my daughter wants her mythology. But then this isn’t for children; it’s a reference book.

There’s also a bit of information about how each one is celebrated in her region, as appropriate, such as which festivals she may be associated with.

If you enjoy mythology, and want a reference to help you discover more female deities to explore, this may be a good choice for you. If you enjoy celebrating the divine feminine, you may also enjoy it as a resource. You’ll be amazed at how many goddesses there are that you’ve never heard of, even from mythologies you have some familiarity with.

You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap!) Book Review

I was sent a copy of You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel to review on this site. It’s about simplifying your life to a much greater degree than most people, and the satisfaction she found by doing so. She and her husband had a tiny, 128 square foot home built for them after going through various stages of cutting down on the stuff they owned, and really enjoy their new lifestyle.

Obviously, a house that small isn’t for everyone. But going for small houses doesn’t have to mean you choose one of the extremely small ones – you have to consider your family. But even if you want to simplify your life to a lesser degree, this book has some useful ideas. A small house for my family would have to be somewhat larger to accommodate our three kids, but could still be significantly smaller than the place we’re renting now.

Tammy and her husband did all this in stages. She recommends various programs, such as the 100 Thing Challenge, to help you get rid of a lot of the excess in your life. She also points out that getting rid of things and learning to make do with less is a huge help in getting rid of debt.

Tammy and her husband also go without cars. They ride their bikes most places, or use a Zipcar or public transportation for greater distances. This is a part I really enjoyed, even though my family isn’t at a point where going down to even 1 car would work very well. We’ve done the one car thing, and it worked for a number of years, but given the poor public transportation where I live, and other issues, it won’t happen again for a while. Which is a pity, because I really enjoyed it and the money saved was really helpful.

There’s also a reminder to give of your time, not just money and things. Volunteering is a wonderful way to bring some extra meaning to your life and to make you grateful for what you have.

Many readers will also enjoy the personal stories shared in this book, not just by Tammy, but from other people who have simplified their lives.

Perhaps most important, Tammy emphasizes the benefits your personal relationships can gain from a simplified life. In my family, electronics aren’t allowed at the dinner table, but they can certainly get in the way of everyday interaction at other times, yet we have fewer gadgets than a lot of people I know. Going for a more simple life can also include a commitment to spend more time actually paying attention to those around you, not just being physically there.

What’s really wonderful about this book is that simplifying isn’t made out to be some complex process. It’s broken down into steps that you might picture yourself doing if you’re so inclined. Habits can be changed, but it’s not easy to change a bunch of them at once. Changing them over time is far easier. There’s no expectation that you’re going to go straight for a small house, but there are many tips for a variety of ways to simplify your lifestyle.

Stop Throwing Money Away Book Review

I can be a pretty disorganized person. I’m getting better at repurposing things I already have, but it would be nice to do better.

That’s where Stop Throwing Money Away comes in. It’s about organizing, repurposing and shopping in your own home when you need things. And it encourages you to take action, not just read the book and ignore the advice given.

One of the amazing things is how many things you will discover that you can reuse, sell or trade with someone else to get something you need.

“Shopping at home” is what Jaime Novak calls it when you go through the things you already have to find what you need. It’s too true that many people don’t realize how much they already have, and buy a new version of something they already own because they can’t find it.

She also notes how many things people hold onto that they’ll never use but don’t think they can part with for one reason or another. Often these things can be sold for money needed elsewhere. Given how tight times are for many families, this is a great tip.

She’s a great fan of repurposing. The glass jar that gets thrown into the recycle bin is one of her examples as something that can easily be reused. I really get this one, as I already repurpose my glass spaghetti jars, keeping several on hand so that when I need one, it’s there. Organized, not clutter, though. They have a place that’s not in the way of anything else around here.

You’ll learn about the “one in, two out” rule that can really help you decrease clutter. This is a great way to decrease the number of things you own and is a huge help in decluttering.

This book will help you to get organized without telling you to buy new stuff to organize the old stuff. More repurposing comes from figuring out which items can be stored in which containers you already own. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it needs to work.

I have to love how she discourages storing things in a rental unit. If you need something so little that you can store it away from your home is a point I’m very much on board with. Once in a while you’ll wish you could have something back you got rid of for lack of space, but not that often, and the savings on storage fees will make up the expense of replacing most things.

If you’re suffering from clutter, Stop Throwing Money Away is very much worth checking out. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Healthy Child Healthy World Review

I was recently contacted by a publicist for Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home to see if I would like to review the book. What could I say except “yes”? Talk about a pet topic of mine!

They very kindly sent me out a copy to read, and I recently finished it. I very much so enjoyed the read.

The book is separated into sections of related things you can do, such as preparing for baby, natural body care, pet care and so forth. Each section has a range of tips on how you can do these things in a way that is better for your family and the environment.

Of course, some of the things suggested I do already, but there were some good ideas I hadn’t thought of either.

One of the things I really appreciated was the suggestion in the book that you do not need to try to do everything right away. You can work your way through the things you are ready for and make progress at your own pace. I think that’s a very important thing to remember. Going green doesn’t have to be an instant or frustrating solution.

It also got me thinking about things I hadn’t before, such as how lead gets into soil around older homes. We’re renting a home that I believe is of an age to have such a problem, so I know it is potentially relevant. As a renter I don’t know that I can do much about it aside from being aware of the potential for a problem. It’s a topic my husband and I have discussed before, because he didn’t see why kids would chew on paint chips, and now I can explain to him how it really works. See page 164 if you need to know.

The section on food (chapter 3) is one I think I need to bring up with a friend of mine who I had been discussing organic produce with the other day. She wasn’t sure what she needed to buy organic versus conventional to avoid pesticides (page 36). I’ve seen the same list online, but it’s nice to have a physical copy of the list.

There’s a great section at the back of the book on Healthy Resources. You can find out where to learn more on your favorite topics or learn about some of the products they recommend.

Of course, every parent reading this will have their own favorite sections, depending on what they need to learn. I do strongly recommend you get this book. Check your library if it’s not in the budget, but with all the resources it provides, you’re probably going to want to buy your own copy to keep referring back to.