Lifestyles: Backyard activist
“At a time when our fellow inhabitants of the earth increasingly depend on our mercy and ingenuity to survive, our default has instead been to kill and destroy,” writes naturalist Nancy Lawson. In The Humane Gardener, Lawson does the important work of speaking for the trees—and the bees, butterflies and other living creatures that need healthy ecosystems. It’s telling that Lawson opts to use gendered pronouns when referencing animals: Her goal is to show us the wisdom of living in harmony with, and dissolving boundaries between, our habitations and the diverse wildlife that surrounds us. Chapter titles echo her low-impact, gentle-living message: “A New Kind of Dream Home: Plant Native Plants,” “The Beauty of Letting Go: Letting Nature Guide Your Garden” and “Safety Zones: Creating Sanctuary in a Treacherous World,” for example. Between chapters, profiles of humane gardeners offer real-world examples. With luxe, matte pages and plentiful full-color photographs, this book is as much a beautiful object as a passionate and well-researched rallying cry.
Not going to lie: I cast a wary eye on this one. How could I thrill to a book on cleaning? But maybe I was missing the point. If the point is to have a sparkling, organized home, Simply Clean can get you there. Becky Rapinchuk’s secret is a reasonable, “every day a little something” routine: a schedule of basic 10-minute tasks for each day and one hour-long job for each week. “Sometimes we want someone to tell us what to do,” she writes. “Set it and forget it.” Easing us into her routinized approach to cleanliness, Rapinchuk starts simple with daily tasks (making the bed, wiping down counters, de-cluttering), and then suggests how to build a “cute cleaning caddy,” which feels like a fun prize for mastering the basics. A seven-day quick start and 28-day challenge follow, plus tips for specific rooms, hard-to-clean spaces and DIY cleaners.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
I picked up Jessamyn Stanley’s Every Body Yoga at the end of a long day, wearied by the state of my country. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. But Stanley soon had me in stitches, ready to take on yoga, the world, you name it. The Instagram-famous yogi is the polar opposite of the slender-and-serene type you know all too well—and this is one of her greatest strengths. Fat? Yes, she owns it. “I wrote this book for every person who is self-conscious about their body,” she says, her tone throughout that of the most irreverent, motivational BFF you could hope to meet on the mat. Stanley sprinkles funny, candid personal narratives—“A Chick-Fil-A Bandit Walks Into Weight Watchers”—between chapters that teach her favorite poses and provide an introduction to the theory and practice of yoga. I feel ready to “prop that ass up,” and when you consider how many others might be, too, Stanley’s teachings feel downright revolutionary.
This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.