Online Book Reviews - the Hottest Reads!

Why online book reviews?

How to get the information you need for a greener lifestyle?

A web site such as Greenfootsteps can only do so much. You may well want to have handy reference books to take your understanding a bit deeper.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out what's good and what's not.

I won't waste your time by presenting you with books which I think are bad! All the books reviewed here are ones which should be worth spending money on, or borrowing from friends, or the library.

So here are some reviews of books I have found helpful.

The online book reviews are in three sections: Green Living and Ecology, Gardening and Growing Guides and Health and Nutrition

online book reviews:

Green Living and Ecology

A Good Life - The Guide to Ethical Living

by Leo Hickman Eden Project Books 2005

This is a well-researched and informative work. Although the primary focus is ethics, it is clear that Leo Hickman is a dyed-in-the-wool green! Almost every topic is given a deep green hue.

There are well organised and readable sections on food, transport, fuels, eco-tourism, the family, health and employment - everything you would imagine in a green primer.

The book is mainly written with a British readership in view; however, many of the points made and the information given will be highly relevant almost anywhere.

He also considers the ethical implications of our shopping habits so far as they affect developing nations' economies. There is an excellent section on the issue of "conflict diamonds", for example (diamonds which, when traded, help fund rogue regimes and wars in Africa).

My only reservation about this book is that the cumulative effect is a bit doom and gloom inspiring. Well, perhaps he's right - we need a good dose of doom-saying to get us moving on some of these issues. There is quite a lot of political information on such issues as farming and subsidies.

There are lots of fabulous, arty and entertaining illustrations and it is printed on 100% recycled paper, using vegetable inks, so he is putting his money where his mouth is, so to speak.

online book reviews:

Organic Gardening and Growing Guides

The Salad Garden

by Joy Larkcom

This is my salad growing bible!

Joy Larkcom presents a solid but adventurous approach to salad growing. Most of the methods are either organic or nearly so. The book is beautifully illustrated with clear and elegant photographs by Roger Phillips and some excellent drawings.

Ms Larkcom deals with every aspect of salads and salad growing - from preparing seed beds to arranging a bed of leaves on a plate. There is an extensive section on salad preparation with interesting historical snippets and bags of inventive ideas.

There are cultivation details for lots of common salad ingredients and lots more for exotic and unusual plants to try. She includes some very usable Japanese plants which grow well in cool climates.

There is also an excellent selection of salad herbs and even salad flowers to grow.

This book is such a useful compendium and garden companion that I left my first copy out in the rain!

online book reviews:

Grow Your Own Organic Fruit and Vegetables

by Christine and Michael Lavelle Anness Publishing 2005

This is at terrific book on organic gardening.

It is practically worth having just for the illustrations which are many and lavish full-colour photographs.

There are good clear explanations of the basics of organic gardening and plenty of detail for the more experienced gardener.

It is written in a directory style; every major topic has a double page spread devoted to it. The cultivation notes are pretty comprehensive for the commoner vegetables. There is a useful section on common herbs and a calendar of what to do when throughout the gardening year.

My only (slight) criticism is that there are not more of the less common vegetable included.

This would be an excellent guide to organic gardening for the beginner and more established gardener alike.

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online book reviews:

Nutrition, Vitamins and Healthy Eating

Nutritional Medicine - The drug-free guide to better family health

By Dr Stephen Davies and Dr Alan Stewart

This is a good introduction to nutritional medicine - the modern approach to health based on sound nutrition. There are extensive details about the role of different nutrients and the conditions which they may cure and also many case studies.

This is probably not a book for the casual reader but more a reference work for health professionals and members of the public who are seriously interested in nutrition.

Time was, in Britain, that the doctor's approach to nutrition was largely limited to knowledge of the macro-nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibre and water. This book is one more piece of evidence that that situation may be changing.

If you want a good grounding in nutrition this book could well provide a lot of the information you need.

online book reviews:

Encyclopaedia of Herbal Medicine

by Thomas Bartram Grace Publishers (UK)

An authorative reference work for the serious student of medical herbalism. This book also contains a wealth of information that will be of interest to the general reader who has a keen interest in herbalism and herbs. In fact there are a good many entries dealing with nutritional questions, too.

There are hundreds of medical conditions detailed with the appropriate herbal remedies suggested. All the common medical herbs and many obscure ones are described with their therapeutic properties. There are details on how to prepare herbs for use and interesting biographical facts on prominent herbalists, past and present.

I always find something of use or interest in this work.

It's definitely not for beginners or people with only a passing interest though!