Submitted by kpiccoli@norths... on Fri, 05/10/2013 - 6:19pm
I saw Victoria Moran speak at Farm Sanctuary’s Annual Thanksgiving celebration for
the Turkeys last year. As I enjoyed my tasty vegan Thanksgiving
dinner, she talked about her years of vegan experience and of helping
others go vegan. She is an amazing and positive person that one can’t
help but immediately take a liking to and gravitate toward. She
explained that before going vegan she was overweight and miserable.
You’d never know it from seeing her now. She is vibrant, fit, and
radiating happiness. She talked a little about her book and I made a
mental note to order it the next day at work. My boyfriend was also
impressed by her and said he would like to read the book when I was done
the first few chapters, which were the basic how-tos, I found myself
getting sucked deeper and deeper into the book. Moran offers new
insights to long-time vegans as well as great advice for beginners.
There’s great information about nutrition, explaining the best ways to
get all of the important nutrients we all need (yes, she explains where
to get protein, please don’t ask that question ever again). She even
inspired me to take up homemade smoothies for breakfast, which have
instantly become a huge hit (hello endless energy in the morning!).
chapter includes fantastic recipes at the end, usually related to the
topic of the chapter. There’s some comfort food in there, as well as
some interesting new tastes to try. I’ve made several of the recipes
from that book, most of them are simple, but still amazing. For a fast
and easy treat I highly recommend Gena Hamshaw’s Collard Wraps (I used
Swiss chard instead of collards because I like it better). When I make
them for dinner we can never get enough. I’m going to refrain from
listing all of the yummy recipes I tried from this book and just assure
you that they’re delightful and easy to throw together at the end of a
brings me to my next point: this book is written for average people.
Veganism isn’t just for people with private chefs (as Oprah may have us
believing), or people who can drop $500 on the weekly trip to the
grocery store. Veganism is for average people (like me!). It helps if
you have some knowledge of how to operate your kitchen, which Moran does
point out. On the bright side, cooking most of your meals from scratch
won’t take as long as you think and will save you buckets of money,
which is great for those of us on a budget. She also includes great
shopping resources for non-food items and explains why it’s important to
take your shoes, as well your dinner, into account when making the
switch to veganism.
lays out the transition to veganism as an easy and gradual path. She
includes the usual information about why the meat and dairy industry are
the most horrible things on the planet, but she also understands that
most people can’t just drop all of their vices at once. She explains
that doing less harm, on your path to doing no harm, is perfectly
acceptable and understandable. For some people this transition may take
a while, but that’s ok. I dabbled in veganism for years before
actually doing it. However, once I jumped in, I stayed in. I’ve never
been happier. And neither has Victoria Moran.
Submitted by JSessions on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 1:59pm
recently found a first time novelist that is a little different from my usual
reads. Her name is R. R. Russell. I have had the pleasure of emailing her a few
times and while talking about her novel, Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist, I
have gotten to know a very interesting person; a person who is as thoughtful
and youthful as her novel.
is sent to a pony ranch for troubled girls. It is housed on an island that
looks and feels haunted. Her first day has Twig seeing an otherworldly bird and
what she assumes is a ghost boy! Little
does Twig know how real the boy is or the amazing secret he is charged with
keeping: the island houses the last wild unicorn herd!
night, Twig is drawn to the barn. Here she finds a unicorn in distress. She is
getting ready to give birth. Twig helps the unicorn, but she is unable to save
the mother. Now, asked to help keep the baby safe from the rouge leader of the
unicorn heard, Twig is drawn into an amazing adventure; one that will take her
literally out of this world and into another. With the help of new and wonderful friends,
Twig must find the strength within herself to overcome not only the troubles on
the island, but her personal ones, too.
combines the seemingly magical and realistic with a spiritualism that allows
the reader to enter a very enchanting world. (For ages 9 to 13).
to learn more? Just ask one of our unicorn riders….booksellers….at the
Northshire Bookstore if you want this or other books on unicorns, horses, or
spunky characters! They will gladly assist you in finding books (and more) to
put in your lonely shopping cart!
“Follow your footsteps long enough and they will turn into those of the beast.” -- Philipp Meyer, The Son
I’m sure adjectives like Epic, Sprawling, Brawling, Lusty, Bloody, and, yes, even Romantic will be piled upon Philipp Meyer’s new novel, The Son, when it is published by Harper/Collins in June. Unlike a lot of hype, this book lives up to all of them. It is a multi-generational, centuries-spanning saga of a Texas family, whose history coincides with the evolution of Texas itself, from a wild territory torn by conflict and savagery to a modern state dominated by a different sort of ruthlessness.
There are a lot of vivid characters in The Son, but the narrative centers around one member of three different generations of the McCullough family, starting at the midpoint of the 19th century with 13-year-old Eli McCullough. Eli and his brother are taken captive by a Comanche raiding party that brutally rapes and kills his mother and sister. He learns to adapt to -- and even thrive in -- a world where only the strong survive and where weakness is winnowed out as if it was a pestilence. Eli evolves in time and legend into an almost mythic, uniquely Texan character simply called (what else?) “The Colonel.”
Peter McCullough is Eli’s son. His ability to adapt to the unforgiving nature of his surroundings is not as boundless as his father’s had been. He is burdened with a conscience in a land that needs regrets like it needs more dust.
Jeanne Anne McCullough has a spirit that matches her great grandfather’s; transplanted to a different era and applied to a Texas that Eli only sensed (with trepidation) was coming. J.A. has escaped the prison of a “suitable” marriage that trapped Peter, but she balks at being confined by the limitations imposed on women in what has always been a man’s world.
It has become a literary cliche that vast and violent frontiers demand larger-than-life characters to tame them, and they are certainly present in Mr. Meyer’s novel. But there is also another side to the story, one that humanizes these rugged, stubborn, and occasionally infuriating people and places them into a perspective that the reader can identify with. Behind the doors of their mansions and on the top floors of the glass towers, where they make decisions that will impact millions of lives, they worry about lost loves and troubled children and the real price tag that comes attached to the big house and the executive suites.
As Texas evolved, it moved away from an agrarian economy to an industrial one -- despite a fierce resistance from the old-guard families -- the ability of the people who shaped the state’s destiny narrowed. In many ways, J.A. is as trapped by her heritage as Eli was free to determine his legacy.
The inevitable comparisons will be to Lonesome Dove’s tremendous scope and to Blood Meridian’s shocking violence, but the book is also reminiscent of Edna Ferber’s more sedate story of the trials and tribulations of a wealthy Texas family in Giant. Ms. Ferber even turns up briefly as a not entirely welcome guest of the McCulloughs.
This is a big book in every sense of the word, a cautionary tale about wealth and family ties that moves with the speed of a cattle stampede. It is also a meticulously researched historical examination of a changing, expanding land and the people who must change with it or be buried beneath it. To adequately encompass all of its sweeping ambition, The Son simply had to be a big book to pay proper homage to its vast and violent subject.