Book Review |Salt: A World History

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

I got what I asked for in, Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. This book is exactly what it says it is. A World History. Much of it bland and boring, but it had its moments.

I downloaded this audio book from my local library. My wife fractured her wrist and she is my usual carpool buddy. We have an hour commute each way. This book was downloaded to fill some of that time. It was on my list of books to read.

I added this book to my to read list, because salt is such an everyday mundane object/food for us, that it is often overlooked. This book embodies the difficulties of being a modern reader of history. If it is not written in an exciting way, then the book is kinda boring. Salt, has some pieces of it’s history that is fascinating, but it is not enough to make the book a page turner.

If I had been reading a paperback of this book, I would not have finished. The fact that I listened to this book on my commutes is the only thing that saved it. However, it did take me a month to listen to this 3.5 hour book.

GoodReads Ratings

My GoodReads peers disagreed with me on this book. On the whole they really liked it. 4 stars is what most people gave this book. It just wasn’t from me. I only gave this book 2 stars.

Seed Libraries

San José Public Library - Seed Library
San José Public Library – Seed Library

Read a great article today on seed libraries and why they are so popular at libraries today.  The article is from the great folks at Atlas Obscura.  They also have a book!  The article points out the fact that all our vegetables are coming from factory farms now.  Because of this, there are no local varieties available anymore.  They want to do what they can to help make these rarer varieties more available.

As plant species reproduce, new generations develop unique adaptations to different environmental conditions, resulting in diverse heirloom varieties. But when large companies control most food production and seed distribution, and work to hybridize and streamline agriculture, those regional differences can disappear.

“I don’t see us as competing against large industrial seed producers, we just want to make sure that biodiversity is still available to people,” Hought says. She also notes that, as climate change alters the environment, she hopes access to more varieties of seeds will prepare food growers to cope with extreme conditions.

I’m sharing this for a couple of reasons.  I think it is very sad and in the long term detrimental the human race that we are depending on so few varieties of vegetables.  Those that are chosen by the factory farms because they are the most resistant to disease and easiest to grow on a huge scale.  Also, I share this because there are very few people out there that really understand that libraries are not just about books.  Libraries are changing.  Much more is available there than you think.  ebooks, emagazines, audiobooks (even available on your smartphone), educational resources like Lynda for free.  There is so much more about your local library than books.  Not that books are not amazing after all that is the purpose of this blog!

“[Seeds are] cultural documents of what we have saved and found valuable in terms of taste and community,” Newburn says. “When we take the seeds home and plant them and return them we’re actually adding another chapter.”

Book Review | Wheat Belly

Wheat Belly
Wheat Belly

My first audiobook of 2018.  And I read/listened to this book mostly while at the gym!  What a great way to get through your TBR!  In Wheat Belly Dr. Davis convinces us all that wheat is not what it used to be and the new altered commercially created wheat is not good for a waistband.  I enjoyed reading this book.  I have been very focused on my fitness lately.  I’ve gone vegetarian, since September of last year.  I tried vegan, but I missed breakfast with eggs.  So I compromised and I am eating egg whites.

Dr. Davis succeeded in convincing me that I need to reduce the amount of wheat that I am eating.  I have eaten far too much.  He argues that in fact, it can be addictive.  This I very much agree with.  I find myself craving a muffin, English muffin or just a slice of bread.  Even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be very nice.  Bread is “ingrained” in us!  It is in every meal we have.

My family loves eggs in a basket, many people love to have a bagel or just some toast.  Lunch is often a sandwich or a burger with a big fat yummy bun!  Dinner always comes with a dinner roll.  Its everywhere!

This book and Grain Brain have taught me about the glycemic index and many other ways that wheat negatively impacts our health.  Grain Brains extends what I learned in Wheat Belly and speaks about how wheat negatively impacts our cognitive ability.

I liked Wheat Belly and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about eating healthy and being healthy.  It is a great listen.