Trying to grow your own? Read these books about gardening

Gardening is a relatively new hobby of mine, in that I’ve been growing plants in my house for about three years and last year moved outdoors and rented an allotment in London. In that time I’ve read more gardening books than I care to think about (some better than others) and I’m constantly talking up the benefits of being outdoors, growing things and the total joy of pulling your own carrots from the ground.

The books featured here should help set you and your family on the road to gardening life. All of them are authored by women, but there seems to be a persistent and niggling lack of people of colour in the annals of gardening books. I can only hope that in time this changes. Plants themselves are culturally resounding and depending on where they come from, can have real tangible worth for the communities that love them.

To read more, visit Book Riot.

5 Books about sex work and feminism

Discussing sex work and feminism in the same sentence can mean inviting controversy, but it’s an issue that’s been playing on my mind a lot for the past few years. Academically, the field of sex work research is growing and is dominated by women’s voices – many of them white women, but that’s an improvement on the overall story of sex work being told by men. In fictional media for many years, sex workers have been mere objects in our stories – damsels in distress, cold corpses in dark sheds, reduced to being just low risk victims for serial killers seeking release.

The story of sex work is often interlaced with that of human trafficking, exploitation and abuse. The people who choose to work in the sex trade rarely have their voices heard and are less visible in the mainstream media. In the past few years, this gap has been addressed with some extremely thought provoking publications on the topic of sex work, some of which are discussed below.

To read more, visit Book Riot.

Read these and be better with your money

I’m not here to bore the pants off you with an article about money, but I’m here to deliver a cold truth: no matter how much you dislike money and no matter how bad you are with it, your decisions about your finances will define your life much more than you’d like.

For the past two years, I’ve been investigating, researching and reading about money. I’ve read self help books, blogs, Facebook groups, investment literature, and the Financial Times (I know). I’ve learned some stuff about saving and spending, passive incomes and minimizing some aspects of my life to make them cost less. I’ve learned that I can be ethical while also making sure my future is secure.

To read more, visit Book Riot.

Gift books for the knitter in your life

Everyone knows a knitter, whether they’re the type to knit their own socks on the bus or whip up miniature toys for their nieces’ birthdays. Knitting has been celebrating a resurgence in the past few years, with more and more people making use of crafts to exercise dexterity, find a little relaxation and build self-sufficiency.

When I was a kid, it was all about garter stitch scarves and purses, but like all crafty undertakings, knitting has become refreshed and renewed with the new millennium and there are some positively genius folks out there making patterns and breathing new life into time-worn crafts.

To read more, visit Book Riot.

On going back to university to be a writer

I left university in 2012 after four years of reading Law, and I never thought I’d go back. I thought I was done with lectures and reading, writing and researching—but it’s funny how you get drawn back into something almost without thinking about it, when the time comes.

I’ve been writing since I was a small child and felt the thrill of publication for the first time when I was 16. As a little kid, nothing made me happier than making up stories and living them in my head, sometimes for months at a time, trying out different plot points and characters, daydreaming the hours away.

To read more, visit Book Riot.

Digging through Japan’s bookshops

Japan has been on my bucket list since I read Across the Nightingale Floor when I was twelve years old. The tale of the boy Tomasu, turned Takeo and adopted into the Otori clan in feudal times captured my heart. My fascination with Japan kicked off then but somehow I never quite made it there- until this year.

I had expected a sense of culture shock, and Japan met that expectation immediately. The difference in language and expression, culture and lifestyle, are a world away from my life in London. The Japanese people were extremely kind, polite and friendly; they were full of heart and helped us constantly when we were a bit lost or confused.

To read more, visit Book Riot.

On the Road: Books about Travellers and Roma

With the booming economy in the 1900s, thousands of people left their rural homes and joined the battering ram of urbanization, setting up new homes in the city and commencing a life of work in the concrete jungles. Economies are boom and bust of course, and the bust that came in the 1920s hit the world hard. Books about “gypsies” tell how, as the 1930s pushed onward, people in Europe returned home to their rural hometowns, casting out the settlers who had moved in to undertake the required work to keep those areas going.

Those cast out found themselves nomadic for the first time in generations – among them the Roma people who had lived in Europe for hundreds of years. Though recognised as a nomadic group, the reality is that Roma people were settled in the towns and villages of Europe for many years. And though talk about genocide in World War II focuses mostly on the impact on the Jewish communities in the Holocaust, the Roma too were targeted for destruction. They call it the Porrajmos, or ‘devouring’. Their records are poor because they have never had an opportunity to collect their own history, but estimates suggest that between 500,000 and 1,500,000 Roma died in the Porrajmos, many of them at Birkenau. Though it’s very hard to locate, And the Violins Stopped Playing by Alexander Ramati tells a true tale of a Roma family who faced the horror of the Porajmos.

To read more, visit Book Riot.

A Bookish Tour of Hawai’i

Hawai’i has been having a hard time lately, between the ongoing eruption of Kilauea and the floods and landslides caused by Hurricane Lane. Last year I spent an amazing fortnight travelling between Oahu and Hawaii (the Big Island) with my boyfriend, meeting some incredibly kind people and experiencing the very best of Hawai’i, both on the beaten track and off.

We started our journey on the island of Oahu, flying from London through Vancouver to Honolulu, which was oh-my-god so long of a journey. On our first day, we went to Pearl Harbour and spent an afternoon in the blistering heat visiting the USS Arizona Memorial and the Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Needless to say, there’s a neat bookshop here chock full of World War II history with a particular focus on the Pacific side of the war. On top of that, we stayed wandering and came upon the Pacific Aviation Museum, which has a really specialised shop showing the immense aviation history that stemmed from this small part of the world.

To read more, visit Book Riot.

Books About Brexit, the European Union and the UK

I admit to you, I’m not even sure where to start with this. I suppose I can start by giving a reader some scale, to understand the true nature of the European Union (EU) in the first place.

Since the end of World War II, the EU has been a daily part of life for most of Europe’s population, whether we realise it or not; its directives and decisions govern over half a billion people, more than 7% of the world’s population.

From small things, big things come. What started as a series of small, trade-based initiatives in the 1950s has boomed into a behemoth political and economic union of 28 member states committed to four fundamental freedoms of movement: people, goods, services, and capital, in an internal market with so much power that the EU is recognised as an emerging superpower.

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Books to help you take the plunge for Zero Waste

I live in London- a city swamped by disposable coffee cups, cute little plastic straws sticking up out of cocktail glasses and offensive amounts of plastic wrapping on every item in the supermarkets. When I first moved here, plastic bags in shops were still the norm, and the disdain in the city for the environment was obvious.

Things have changed in just a few years. Plastic bags are now subject to payment (with the money going back to community groups), sustainable eateries and schemes are popping up left right and centre, commitment to bicycles has gone up even further and, since the recent televising of Planet Earth II, David Attenborough’s series has dominatingly convinced London that plastic straws have to go- as well as a current scheme to prevent plastic bottle use by introducing public use water fountains.

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