I love reading. Typically I prefer non-fiction. Sam’s more of a fiction reader and enjoys classic stuff. We both love books. Especially inspiring books.
On a trip to Portland recently, I got to visit Powell’s books. For those of you who haven’t been there, it’s seriously amazing. It was like a book castle. It was huge HUGE and there were so many options. Literally–reading heaven. If we lived closer I would spend a fortune there.
Fortunately, we have a great library here in Cedarburg, that I love visiting. We can order any book we can think of. They belong to a network where they can get practically anything you want in a matter of days. It’s great!
In the last few years, I’ve picked up some awesome books on green living, plant-based diets, the environment and more. Some I’ve ended up buying, some I’ve just borrowed from the trusty library. If you’re a reader and are looking for some options to give you inspiration and get you started, here are my favorites!
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16 Inspiring Books About Making a Difference
Betty Goes Vegan is a few years old, but it’s one of my absolute favorite cookbooks ever. The Shannons have a blog, Meet the Shannons, where they give tons of vegan recipes and cooking ideas (plus it’s super beautiful). The thing I love about this book is it’s great for those who are just starting out and dabbling in veganism. They take the dishes from the Betty Crocker cookbook and put a vegan spin on them. The food is super satisfying and the instructions are simple, easy and good enough to please omnivores and vegans alike. Plus, everything I’ve made from this book has turned out great!
Yes, THAT Alicia Silverstone (of whom I was a huge fan back in the day). Alicia offers practical tips for cooking, beauty, home and self-care that are totally accessible and easy (basically think of it as the anti-GOOP). The Kind Diet had some great recipes, and I love how encouraging and sweet she is throughout the book. Alicia is never condescending, self-righteous or pushy. In my opinion, this is really important when encouraging readers to explore plant-based diets and living.
Angela Liddon has a beautiful blog, Oh She Glows, and in this great cookbook she shares some of her yummy recipes. Many of her recipes are also gluten-free and made from whole foods. She’s all about clean eating, but the recipes are easy and made with ingredients you can find at the store, even in rural areas. Plus, everything I’ve made out of this book is REALLY yummy. Angela knows her stuff!
Peter Singer is a great philosopher and presents some great ethical arguments in many of his books. He’s known for his books on animal rights, which I also have really enjoyed but The Life You Can Save was a little different. A college professor friend asked me to check out this book for him to see if it would be appropriate for his Community Engagement class. I love how realistic Peter is when presenting the discussion. Basically, if we all gave just 2% of our income away we could resolve poverty and hunger in the world. Simple, yet profound.
I’m a big fan of Farm Sanctuary and honestly, it’s our dream to one day have a rescue/sanctuary like this beautiful farm in upstate New York. We are supporters of this non-profit and I would love to visit there someday. Living the Farm Sanctuary Life is beautiful and offers great resources and tips for living an animal-friendly life. Gene Bauer is a great inspiration.
Okay, so I’ve read many books on veganism and I’m not going to lie–many of them are tough to get through. As someone who’s already doing what I can to avoid animal products, I feel like many vegan resources really belabor the point and bombard you with graphic images and guilt. The Face on Your Plate is gentler, but still urges readers to really think about the cognitive dissonance of eating animals. It was really well-written without being preachy.
This book also explores the ethics and conundrums surrounding our relationship with animals. For example, how can veterinarians and animal rescuers also eat meat? Why is it that we see some animals like cows or chickens as food, while the thought of eating other animals like dog, horrifies us? Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows discusses the dilemmas and incongruencies in our ethical food choices. It’s a great, thought-provoking and fast read.
Elizabeth Cline explores the world of fashion in Overdressed: The Shockingly High Price of Cheap Fashion. How are our fashion choices affecting human rights, the environment and the overall health of the world in general. When clothing used to be higher-priced and carefully created it had less of an impact. You may have worn an article of clothing, like a coat for years. Now with cheap fast fashion you can purchase 20 coats, that may last one-season or less. What sort of waste does this produce and what is the impact of creating all these clothes (too many to wear)?
Speaker, blogger and all around smart lady, Bea Johnson, documents her family’s journey toward drastically reducing their waste and consumption. They cut their living expenses drastically (by almost half) and were able to live more sustainably through simple changes most of us could make today. The Zero Waste Home is a great introduction to living with less waste and garbage.
Mark Bittman is a great author and food writer. His concept of being vegan before 6pm was revolutionary for some readers. He made plant-based diets accessible and doable for people who weren’t ready to go all in. Mark writes with humor and practicality in Food Matters. He discusses many of the moral and ethical questions about our current food system. And, where we’re headed as a planet if we continue on the same path.
Time Warped really spoke to me. Having more time and the perception of time is one of those topics that just fascinates me. If you’ve ever wondered how you could feel like you had more time to do important tasks or wished you could slow time down, this is a great book to check out. Time Warped explains why humans measure time and what we can do to change our view and perception through simple tricks and reframing our thoughts.
The reasons behind WHY people do what they do, is something of great interest to me. Charles Duhigg researches and explains what drives us, how we form habits and why actions, beliefs and perceptions become automatic for many of us. So, if you’re interested in personal change, transformation, goal setting or understanding habits The Power of Habit is a great book to start your exploration.
Do you want to be really good at something? Anders Ericsson explores the path to greatness. Is greatness simply based on practice? Ericsson explains that getting better and becoming great at something requires more than simple practice. It requires sustained, deliberate effort. Peak is another awesome book on transformation and how to become really good at something you’re passionate about.
I picked up Grit because I heard Angela Duckworth on the Freakonomics podcast and was very interested in her talk about grit. Grit comes from the ability to view mistakes and setbacks as growth opportunities. It is deeply tied to our locus of control, the way we perceive fate and if we believe we have the power to change our lives.
NEXT ON MY LIST:
Ultra-marathoner and vegan Scott Jurek just came out with this book, which looks fascinating.
It’s my goal for 2018 to begin exploring meditation. I’m excited to check this book out.
So how about you? What are you reading? Let me know what you thought of these books (and any others we should check out)!