what I read: reference

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Thursday, January 12, 2012
For me, 2011 was a good year to read. I wanted to highlight some of my favorite books, but the thought of trying to fit them all in one post is a recipe for never doing it so I'm going to divide it up a bit into categories.

Today's category: reference.

The Greek and Roman Myths: A Guide to the Classical Stories by Philip Matyszak -  I found this the way I find so many books these days - it passed through my hands at work. (I work in a library.) I really like how this book is organized - it starts at the beginning of the world and gives a generational overview (lots of murder, deceit, and mayhem, naturally), and then goes on to give overviews and details for every major god and goddess in the Greek and Roman pantheon.

This book lays it all out so beautifully; the relationships between the gods are presented clearly, and I love that he includes the names of major pieces of art depicting whichever god or goddess he's talking about.

I read it straight through because I wanted a general refresher, but it would serve just as well as an encyclopedia to settle Athena/ Artemis/ Aphrodite arguments or other disagreements about who got turned into a tree/ got tricked by Zeus/ gets his liver pecked out by birds/ etc.  This is definitely a book I want to add to my personal collection, so I'm keeping my eyes open for a copy.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - these stories crop up everywhere; this is such a usable guide.

Mike McGrath's Book of Compost:  I know I've mentioned this before, but it fits in the category and it was one of the best reference books I read in 2011. It is a nice big-pocket size book of Plain English explanation of how to convert food waste into beautiful compost.

I'm thrilled to report that yesterday I took my new pitchfork out to turn the compost and found EARTHWORMS! Worms are like winning the compost lottery and I'm very glad. I guess it could be that they're just hanging out amongst the egg shells, lettuce ends, and shriveled citrus as a place to stay warm, but I prefer to think it's because my compost is so delicious they just can't get enough. Anyway! If you're thinking about making compost but all the ratios and aeration requirements seem like too much trouble, do look at this book. I bet it will change your mind. RECOMMENDED, but only if you want to make compost.

A link unrelated to the above:  Ursula Le Guin on adopting a cat. She got her cat at the Oregon Humane Society, which is exactly where Kitten Otis came from. (he is back to his old frisky self after his kitten shots.) OHS is currently holding its $12 Adoption Days, so if you're in the market for an adult cat or a bunny, the price is right!
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