I've read three really good books lately that are worth passing along!
1.) The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather. I stumbled onto this collection of recipes and essays almost by accident. I serve on the board of the Millsaps Arts & Lecture Series, and one of our final programs of the year was a discussion by Mather and local gardening expert Felder Rushing. The two were discussing the importance of eating local, the ease of backyard vegetable gardening, and the like. After the program, I bought a copy of Mather's book. She was kind enough to sign it for me!
I sat down and read it cover to cover like a novel. Very satisfying. Mather understands the emotional connection we have to food. She illustrates how, when one knows who produces that food, the connection is richer, more magnified. After reading this book, I was inspired to start visiting the Mississippi Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. In addition to produce, vendors there sell dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.). You can even order chickens and shares of beef and lamb! This book is a great read, and it has really influenced me to make some changes in our family's food supply.
2.) Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. I've read nearly everything Sedaris has published, and he's hilarious! A friend and I had gone to hear him speak when he visited Jackson a few months ago, and I was interested to see what essays had made it into his latest book.
The book is what you'd expect from him - funny, quirky, smart. And our favorite story from his speaking tour - one about his experience getting his first colonoscopy - is in there, and it's just as funny as it was when he read it aloud!
3.) Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I picked up this book after reading about it a while back in an issue of O Magazine. This is an amazing true story of a young woman who decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. She'd had a tumultuous childhood, and after her mother (who was really her only present parent) died, she felt lost. After some misfires in her personal and professional life, she decided to take on this mammoth hike.
Strayed wasn't exactly prepared for her journey, but that ends up kind of being the point. She re-grounds herself out on the trail, and she comes to terms with the loss of her mother. She is so unflinchingly honest that you find yourself nodding, over and over. ("Yes, that's what it's like when someone you love is in the hospital. It's just like that." "I remember feeling this exact same way when . . . ") It's rare that I encounter that in a writer. Highly recommended.