Tag Archives: nonfiction books

17 Books with Serious Girl Power

I could write every day for the rest of my life about empowering books for women and STILL not touch on everything out there on the market. However, I have read a handful of books that have inspired me and motivated me to make changes in my own life, and I’m here to share them with you today!

Here are 17 books with serious girl power that will give you all the feels!

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17 Books with Serious Girl Power

Why Not Me?
Mindy Kaling

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Mindy’s just a girl who loves eating McDonald’s and is just trying to figure it all out like the rest of us. In the sequel to her first best-selling book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy explores the challenges of her adult life as only she can…with literal laugh-out-loud humor and wit that makes her our #1 BFF.

Yes Please
Amy Poehler

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Get to know the woman behind some of our favorite SNL characters and my personal soul mate, Leslie Knope, in this scrapbook-style autobiography filled with hilarious stories and full-color photos and illustrations.

How to be a Bawse
Lilly Singh

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Get the lowdown on how YouTube star Lilly Singh conquers it all, from exuding confidence to kicking out the haters.

I Am Malala
Malala Yousafzai

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If you read only one book on this list, make it this one. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for pursuing an education, tells her story and discusses her dreams for making the world a better place. This woman…she’s everything.

Wildflower
Drew Barrymore

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Get to know Drew on a personal level with this collection of stories told by the woman herself. From her unbelievable childhood to her challenges growing up in Hollywood, this book is sure to shock and inspire.

Becoming Unbecoming
Una

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A woman tries to come to grips with her abusive past in a collection of illustrations that will break your heart.

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
Susan Jane Gilman

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This is the collection of short stories you’ve been looking for…a coming of age tale that, for once, isn’t about finding the perfect man.

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War
Lynsey Addario

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How has photographing war shaped Lynsey Addario’s life? In this visual essay of her time spent overseas, Addario explores what it takes to find courage and passion amidst a war-torn country.

The Opposite of Loneliness
Marina Keegan

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Published after her tragic death five days after graduating from Yale, The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan is a collection of short stories that showcase a talent lost too soon.

Unbearable Lightness
Portia De Rossi

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Actress Portia De Rossi talks about her years of struggling with weight loss and gain, and how simple life changes ended up changing her life completely. This one’s a tear-jerker.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou’s brilliant autobiography will certainly make you thankful for all the good things in your life. Through all of her struggles and hardships, Angelou somehow still finds the magic within, and this book is a true testament to her inspiration.

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Tina Fey

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With an iron fist and a great sense of humor, Tina Fey has conquered the small screen, the big screen, and every theater in between. Her struggles were real and her challenges were real, but she’s no stranger to strapping up those big girl pants and getting shit done.

Solar Storms
Linda Hogan

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This coming-of-age story about a Native American family of strong and powerful women is on my list of books that changed my life. It is filled with such brilliant and underrated wisdom.

The Nazi Officer’s Wife
Edith Hahn Beer

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A Jewish woman hides her religion from her husband, who happens to be a Nazi officer. A true story of utter heroism and survival, The Nazi Officer’s Wife is up there as one of the best Holocaust books I’ve ever read.

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star
Jenna Jameson

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You certainly know Jenna Jameson, but chances are you don’t know the strong woman behind the star. In her candid autobiography, Jameson talks about her quick rise to fame and how she maintains her image and reputation in a world constantly trying to bring her down.

My Life in France
Julia Child

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Learn about Julia Child’s travels and excursions in France in her adorable tell-all book, My Life in France. A love letter to France and the art of French cooking, this book is best read with a big cup of coffee and a delicious croissant.

A Little Bit Wicked
Kristin Chenoweth

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The little star with the huge voice dishes about life on Broadway and her rise to fame as one of the most powerful singers of our generation. Talking about everything from her start in opera to her somewhat recent run as Glinda in Wicked: The Musical, Chenoweth talks about her life in stages.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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41 Books about Our Nation’s Presidents

As any history lover will tell you…there is an ABUNDANCE of books written about America’s past presidents. Some 15,000 books have been written about Abe Lincoln ALONE! Powering through these biographies is a daunting task for even the most die-hard history fans…but if you want to read the best of the best about our nation’s leaders, stay tuned!

Here lies some of the best biographies about our nation’s presidents. From Washington to Obama (as of 2017, there has not been an official biography written about Donald Trump), this list basically makes up our nation’s history.

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Granted I have not read ALL of these, so I can’t personally vouch for most of them…however, I did my best to gather books with the best reviews, comments, and recommendations from other readers and historians. To add a personal note, I have read Lincoln, which was outstanding, as well as an excerpt from The Accidental President, which was also really interesting…so I can at least vouch for those!

41 Books about Our Nation’s Presidents

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George Washington
His Excellency
Joseph J. Ellis

John Adams
John Adams
David McCullough

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Jon Meacham

James Madison
James Madison
Ralph Ketcham

James Monroe
The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness
Harlow Giles Unger

John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
Harlow Giles Unger

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Andrew Jackson
American Lion
John Meacham

Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren and the Political System
Donald B. Cole

William Harrison
Old Tippecanoe
Freeman Cleaves

John Tyler
John Tyler
Gary May

James Polk
Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America
Walter R. Borneman

Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Jack Bauer

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Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President
Robert J. Rayback

Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire’s Favorite Son
Peter A. Wallner

James Buchanan
President James Buchanan: A Biography
Philip S. Klein

Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln
David Herbert Donald

Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson: A Biography
Hans L. Trefousse

Ulysses S. Grant
Grant
Ron Chernow

Rutherford Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior & President
Ari Hoogenboom

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James Garfield
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of the President
Candice Millard

Chester Arthur
Gentleman Boss: The Life and Times of Chester Alan Arthur
Thomas C. Reeves

Grover Cleveland
An Honest President
Paul Jeffers

Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison
Charles W. Calhoun

William McKinley
In the Days of McKinley
Margaret Leech

Theodore Roosevelt
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Edmund Morris

William Taft
Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers
Jefferson Powell

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Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
John Milton Cooper, Jr.

Warren Harding
Warren G. Harding
John W. Dean

Calvin Coolidge
Coolidge
Amity Shlaes

Herbert Hoover
Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times
Kenneth Whyte

Franklin Roosevelt
Man of Destiny: FDR and the Making of the American Century
Alonzo L. Hamby

Harry Truman
The Accidental President
A.J. Baime

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Dwight Eisenhower
Eisenhower in War and Peace
Jean Edward Smith

John Kennedy
An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy
Robert Dallek

Lyndon Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a President
Robert Dallek

Richard Nixon
A Life in Full: Richard M. Nixon
Conrad Black

Gerald Ford
Gerald R. Ford
Douglas Brinkley

Jimmy Carter
The Unfinished Presidency
Douglas Brinkley

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Ronald Reagan
Reagan: The Life
H. W. Brands

George H. W. Bush
Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
Jon Meacham

William Clinton
The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House
John F. Harris

George W. Bush
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House
Peter Baker

Barack Obama
The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama
David Remnick

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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The Best Books to Give to Everyone on Your List

We all have so many different kinds of people in our lives…and it’s near impossible to find books that best suit every type of friend…BUT, I’m here to offer some help!

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Outside of the usual fiction lovers or top 100 lovers, there are people out there who just want to laugh at their sadness…or read about f*cking amazing food.  There are people who need advice on raising their kids and people who are just kids at heart.  With this list, you’ll be able to find amazing books that you can buy for your single friend, your friend who loves to travel, your friend who secretly loves a good YA novel and even your friend who is there for you during your most embarrassing times.

The Best Books to Give to Everyone on Your List

The Single Friend
Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, Jenni Ferrari-Adler
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A collection of hilarious short stories about cooking for one, this book is a MUST even if you sometimes cook for two or five.

The Traveler
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
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No one can tell a travel tale like Bill Bryson. With hilarious antidotes about hiking the Appalachian Trail, A Walk in the Woods will make you want to pack a backpack (and maybe some toenail clippers) and hit the open road.

For the SAHM
Sh*tty Mom, Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, Mary Ann Zoellner
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Written by four moms who have seen it all, this book is the ultimate parenting guide. Each chapter presents a common parenting scenario with advice on how to get through it in the easiest way possible (like, “How to Sleep Until 9 AM Every Weekend”, for example).

For the Foodie
F*UCK, that’s Delicious, Action Bronson
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This ain’t no cookbook. This ain’t no memoir. This is a devotional book about the overwhelming power of delicious – no, f*cking amazing – food.

The Working Girl
#GIRLBOSS, Sophia Amoruso
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The founder, creative director and CEO of Nasty Gal fills her memoir with advice on how to get hired, stay employed, and how to take care of your own business…all while keeping true to yourself.

For Music Lovers
Your Song Changed My Life, Bob Boilen
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NPR’s music guru asks dozens of artists (Jimmy Page, St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson) about the songs that inspired them.

For Film Buffs
Pictures at a Revolution, Mark Harris
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A look at five films, including The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, that were made during the 1970s. Studios were taking chances and making daring, thought-provoking, original movies that had nothing to do with sequels. By some, it’s thought to have been the true golden age of Hollywood.

The DIY Enthusiast
Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, Amy Sedaris
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Filled with actual great ideas for cheap ways to make gifts and decorate you rhome, Simple Times is bound to be a favorite with crafters and creative minds alike.

The YA Lover
One of Us is Lying, Karen M. McManus
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It’s The Breakfast Club meets Gossip Girl.  Five teens walk into detention, but only four walk out alive.  A threat to release juicy gossip about classmates finds one teen belly up in a classroom.

For Those Who Love a Twist
My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult
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I know it’s an old book, but I LOVED the twist at the end! When Kate is born with a horrible illness, her parents decide to give birth to Anna, a child who was medically altered to be able to be Kate’s sole blood and organ donor. But when Anna fights her family for rights to her body, things start to spiral out of control.

For the Book Lover
My Ideal Bookshelf, Jane Mount
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A large assortment of writers, actors, musicians, and popular leaders in the country share what books would populate their ideal bookshelves.  This book also features amazing illustrations of what those shelves might look like. A coffee table-style book that’s a must for any bibliophile!

For the Fashionista
Women in Clothes, Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton
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The three women behind this book survey more than 600 women about their feelings and perspectives on fashion.

The History Buff
Grant, Ron Chernov
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Often misunderstood and under-appreciated, General Ulysses S. Grant is all too often caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman…but Chernov gives readers a new view of the General, bringing to light how one simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.

For the Soon-to-Be Grown-Up
Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, Kelly Williams Brown
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Based on Brown’s blog, ADULTING, this book makes the scary, confusing “real world” approachable, manageable…and even conquerable.

For the Quirky One
Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse, Alida Nugent
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They say misery loves company…and this book is like that weird friend you just need in your life sometimes…to help pick you up, dust you off, and give you a story so bizarre if not just to make you feel better about wearing your shirt inside out all day.

For the Visual Reader
The Lego Architect, Tom Alphin
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If you’re looking for a book for someone who just loves looking at pictures, take a gander at this book of amazing Lego creations.  There are even instructions on how you can build your own replicas of the models featured in the book.

For Animal Lovers
The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
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This book is about a man and his dog, narrated from the dog’s point of view. Enzo, the dog in the book, is the kind of pet that we all imagine we own…wise, genuine, loving, kind and comical.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Anatomy of a Song Book Review + GIVEAWAY!

WIN A COPY OF Anatomy of a Song BELOW!

Whether it’s Taylor Swift’s “All to Well”, R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”, or Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love”, every great song usually starts with one hell of a backstory.

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In Anatomy of a Song, based on the ongoing Wall Street Journal column, writer and music historian Marc Meyers brings five decades of music to life through his oral histories of 45 songs that have had some impact on rock, R&B, or pop culture. Writers, producers, musicians, and singers talk about the emotional meaning behind their songs, as well as the inspirations and techniques that helped every mistake, every nuance, every one-take recording all the more amazing.

When I first read Anatomy of a Song, it was a full sensory experience. After each chapter, I would take a break to pull up each song on YouTube and listen to it in its entirety. I’d listen for the little instrumental queues in “Shout” by the Isley Brothers…or the nods to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in “Proud Mary” by John Fogerty. Listening to these songs in order of release (they are in order of release in the book, also) really shows how musicians and singers are influenced and motivated by each other. I even put together a YouTube playlist with the songs in order for your listening pleasure!  For anyone with an appreciation for music and writing, this book is a fascinating read.

Check out my Anatomy of a Song playlist on YouTube to listen to all the songs featured in this book!

Filled with interviews by Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, The Clash, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Cyndi Lauper and many more, Anatomy of a Song is a love letter to the music that defined generations of listeners.

GIVEAWAY! 
Want the chance to read this book yourself? Well, you’re in luck because I happen to have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!  All you need to do is write a comment below with your favorite song growing up and what it meant to you.  I’ll pick a random winner from the comments on December 8th!  Good luck!

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality Book Review

Rhett and Link wrote a book.  Let’s talk about that.

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If you’re not familiar with Good Mythical Morning, allow me to educate you.  This is Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal:

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They are the “Internet-tainers” behind YouTube’s most popular daily talk show, Good Mythical Morning.  Every weekday they release a video where they try new things for the good of science.  Want to know if LEGOS make good shoes?  Want to know the hottest hot sauce in America or the best-tasting pumpkin spice item at Trader Joe’s?  Rhett and Link put their taste buds, stomachs, and sanity on the line for us in this highly addicting and amazing YouTube series.

I’ve been a Mythical Beast (GMM fan) for at least four or five years.  I tune in every morning to watch GMM and even crafted my own Rhett and Link poster for my workspace!

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I’m seriously in love with these guys.

When Rhett and Link announced that they were working on a book, I was literally gitty with excitement.  I knew it would be nothing but MYTHICAL in its amazingness and I have to say, it met – nay – EXCEEDED my expectations!

Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality is everything Mythical Beasts would want and more.  Filled with hilarious stories, amazing photographs, and top-notch advice for how to be your mythical best, this book is an intimate look into the lives of Rhett and Link and is a testament to true, unadulterated friendship.

Want to throw a party that will go down in history as one of the best?  Rhett and Link show you how.  Want to know the secret to eating tarantulas, pig’s blood, and other disgusting things for possible post-apocalyptic survival?  Rhett and Link show you how.  What to learn how to tell someone you love them in the most mythical way possible?  Rhett and Link show you how…well, at least their wives do.  Want to know about Rhett’s dog curse, Link’s standards for quality BFF material, and their mutual love for Merle Haggard?  It’s all found in the colorful and hilarious pages of Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality.

Just like the show that inspired its birth, Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality aims to teach readers new things:  how to laugh more often, how to eat things that scare you, how to invent something ridiculous, and how to own your hair style.  Complete the fun activities and prompts along the way, this book is even more fun to read with your BFF…plus you earn Mythical “merit badges” as you make your way through the book!

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For those who don’t know, Rhett and Link have actually been BFF’s since the first grade when their teacher made them miss recess for writing profanity on their desks.  They spent their time drawing and creating mythical beasts and, thankfully for us, it was the start of a beautiful friendship.  After rooming together in college, attempting (and failing) to start a band, and abandoning their degrees in engineering, Rhett and Link decided to take to the Internet as a way to talk about their lives, air their grievances, and just make each other laugh…

Now with more than 12 million subscribers, Good Mythical Morning has spawned several other YouTube channels, including Good Mythical More, which airs after GMM, Rhett & Link which features behind-the-scenes content and other fun videos, This is Mythical, which is a channel devoted to the beloved Mythical crew behind GMM, a YouTube Red series titled Rhett and Link’s Buddy System, and even a pod cast titled Ear Biscuits where Rhett and Link continue their discussions about creativity and tomfoolery.

Here’s the fact of the matter…If you love GMM, you’re going to love Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality.  And if you’ve never seen GMM, allow me to share some of my favorite episodes:

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What I love the most about Rhett and Link is that they are 100% authentic to who they are, something that is ever more apparent in their mythical field guide.  With heartfelt stories that will literally make you laugh out loud, Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality is like the BFF you always wanted: filled with great advice, funny stories, and plenty of heart.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Farm Anatomy Book Review

Call me crazy, but the thought of moving out into the country and owning a farm where I can grow my own produce and have a honey bee farm sounds like pure heaven.  I love the idea of living off the land and (slightly) off the grid, eating food you’ve grown yourself and having a job where you can get down and dirty working with your hands.

Realistic?  Maybe…but I’m not stupid.  I know farm life is hard work.  Your entire livelihood is dependent on the elements you can’t control….and there’s no calling in sick when work has to get done.  It requires expensive equipment, sometimes owning livestock, and apparently learning a whole new vocabulary of words I never even knew existed.

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In her beautifully illustrated book, Farm Anatomy, author Julia Rothman takes readers through various parts and pieces of country life, including layers of the soil, how to rotate your crops, how to make a barn (and what animals might come to occupy it), how to plow a field, how to grow seeds, how to make wine and spin yarn, as well as how to shear a sheep and identify the various cuts of pig, chicken, lamb, beef and rabbit.

The perfect book for budding farmers, Farm Anatomy aims to teach readers the bits and pieces that make a farm run, from reading the clouds to composting your waste.  Illustrated with amazing detail and filled with tons of tidbits about everything you’ve ever wanted to know about keeping bugs off your crops, this book is so fascinating and fun to read that you might even find yourself wanting to build a chicken coop in your own backyard.

Even if you’re not ready to go full Charlotte’s Web and start butchering pigs and collecting eggs, Farm Anatomy is a great resource for just living a simpler, more homemade lifestyle.  There are amazing recipes for carrot cake, buckwheat pancakes, and dill pickles, as well as helpful guides for how to can tomatoes, make bread and cheese, and how to cut a full chicken.

A colorful, fun, and entertaining coffee table book you’ll actually WANT to read, Farm Anatomy breaks down farming into manageable pieces, dissecting everything from the parts of a milking machine to the anatomy of a pig.  With witty illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions, this book is bound to turn city dwellers into country mice, one seed at a time.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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Devil in the White City Book Review

Chicago, 1893.  The city was still rebuilding after the fire that left 100,000 homeless and destroyed most of the wooden buildings that peppered the downtown area.  In an attempt to draw more people and revenue to the city, Chicago grew as a national retail center and produced a crop of brand-name business tycoons, including Marshall Field, Philip Armour, and George Pullman.  People began coming to the city to shop the best in (affordable) fashion and see the birth of a new type of architecture that would come to define and reinvent Chicago.

At the age of 26, a young man named Daniel Burnham joined the offices of Carter, Drake, and Wright, an architectural firm behind the Manierre Building, Lennox Building, Mercantile Library, New York Academy of Design, and Grant Park.  While there, he met a man named John Wellborn Root and, together, the two designed one of the first American skyscrapers: the Masonic Temple Building in Chicago.  Measuring 21 stories and 302 feet, the temple held claim as the tallest building of its time (but was ultimately torn down in 1939).

Right in the midst of their 15 minutes of fame for the Temple Building, Burnham and Root were asked to oversee design and construction of The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, named so to celebrate the 400-year anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ famous voyage.  The duo accepted the challenge, but when Root passed away suddenly, Burnham was left to create a new team, bringing on such visionaries as Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, and Louis Sullivan to help him turn then-desolate Jackson Park into an amazing world’s fairground.

It was a feat.  A HUGE feat.  Financial panic and an extremely tight timeframe caused major stress on the architects, not to mention the fact that Chicago had to compete with the most recent release of the Paris World’s Fair: The Eiffel Tower.  And brewing under all the commotion surrounding the fair, tucked away in a small area away from the hustle and bustle, a murderer by the name of H.H. Holmes was plotting a most gruesome rouge to take advantage of the fair’s most delicate and feminine fair-goers…

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And so begins Erik Larson’s book, Devil in the White City.  The true story of the fair that changed America, this book is a captivating account of the trials and tribulations that came with designing the World’s Columbian Exposition.

Besides being about the building of the fair, this book also explores the life of H.H. Holmes, a charming murderer masquerading as a doctor to woo and attract young women, then ultimately torturing and killing them.

The two storylines exist independent of each other until the opening of the World’s Fair.  The massive draw of the exposition was all the motivation Holmes needed to construct his own hotel on the fairgrounds, for women only of course, where he could set up his own murderous torture dungeon, brimming right under the hype of the Columbian Exposition.

Told with amazing detail and captivating language, Devil in the White City brings the Chicago World’s Fair to life.  It puts you right in the heat of the action, takes you into the brainstorming room with Burnham’s team…into the hotel with H.H. Holmes, and into the streets of the fair that, from then on, defined architectural design.

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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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