Best Reads of 2019 – Non Fiction

Most of the books in this category will shock your with their honesty, their rawness, their personal story of struggles and sometimes, their successes. I hope you find something here that will stimulate your mind and tug at your heart.

 

The Little Girl on the Ice Floe

Adélaïde Bon

Maclehose Press

Hachette Australia

 

Imperfect

Lee Kofman

Affirm Press

ISBN: 9781925584813

 

Bowraville

Dan Box

Penguin Random House Australia

Viking

ISBN: 9780143784395

 

 

The Hormone Diaries

The Bloody Truth About Our Periods

Hannah Witton

Wren & Rook

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781526361462

Guest Review: The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

 

The War of Art:

Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Steven Pressfield

Robert McKee (Foreword)

ISBN: 9780446691437

Description:
Internationally bestselling author of Last of the Amazons, Gates of Fire, and Tides of War, Steven Pressfield delivers a guide to inspire and support those who struggle to express their creativity. Pressfield believes that “resistance” is the greatest enemy, and he offers many unique and helpful ways to overcome it.

 

 

The War of Art – A review by Andy Macleod

I’m not only a reader, I’m a writer. I’m an advertising copywriter and that’s how I make my living.

But I’m also a creative writer, and that’s where I get stuck. As a copywriter I write radio commercials, brochures and web page content. These are usually short, bite sized pieces, easily digested. Novels are not, and I have about 5 unfinished, well, barely started ones to prove it.

That’s where The War of Art (2002), by Steven Pressfield comes in.

I read a lot of books about writing, it’s how I procrastinate, and, frustratingly, how I stop myself from writing. Yes, I read books designed to overcome procrastination as a devious way to procrastinate. But not anymore, because Mr Pressman has just given me a huge kick up the bottom.

The War of Art is broken into 3 parts, Resistance, Combating Resistance and Beyond Resistance, and Pressfield pulls no punches, and he punches hard.

As a pragmatist, this is just what I needed. I recognised myself in almost every point he made. His withering description of me hurt to my very core. But he was right. There’s an old saying, ‘If you can’t piss, get off the pot’, and that’s exactly what he’s saying.

If you’re having trouble writing you have two options, stop, or get professional about it, but whatever you do, don’t be an amateur.

The book is easy to read, speaks to rather than down to its readers, and has lots of real-life examples, some of which are outdated, like a reference to Lance Armstrong before his drug taking revelations.

If you’re a writer like me, and have tried everything to get your writing moving, The War of Art might be right up your alley. Its words might be a bitter pill to take, but sometimes that’s exactly what we need.

 

 

 

 

Review: The Hormone Diaries – Hannah Witton

The Hormone Diaries

The Bloody Truth About Our Periods

Hannah Witton

Wren & Rook

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781526361462

 

Description:

An honest, funny and feminist take on living with your period (and hormones!), by the award-winning sex and relationships vlogger, and author of Doing It!, Hannah Witton.

 

When Hannah Witton started documenting her journey coming off the pill and re-getting her period, she wasn’t anticipating the reaction, from people of all ages, that talking about it would bring. It exposed a glaring gap – the resources and the spaces to talk honestly about periods just aren’t there. And with more and more research showing that your period and your hormones can affect literally every area of your life, this is a problem.

 

Inspired by her YouTube series of the same name, The Hormone Diaries draws on Hannah’s own experiences and, through crowdsourcing on her social media platforms, those of her fans too. With her trademark honesty and humour, Hannah explores and demystifies topics surrounding periods, hormones and contraception, to offer readers support, information and advice.

 

The definitive period self-help book 50% of the world has been waiting for!

 

My View:

This is a fabulous read! This is an open, honest, and at times humorous and easy to read exploration of a subject that needs to be talked about and a book that needs to be shared.  I wish it had been available when I was a teenager. It has answers to probably most questions that any young person may have about their periods or lack of them. It is a resource I hope that you will find in libraries and schools and is the perfect gift for those on the cusp of puberty.

 

And I think 100% of the population would benefit from reading this informative book.

Gas Station Charcuterie Plate: You Suck At Cooking – You Suck At Cooking

My View:This book is hilarious and useful 🙂  And possibly will solve your search for “what to get the person who has everything” for Christmas. Check out the authors  Youtube cooking show here:

 

Description:

Do you crave food all the time? Do you think you might want to eat again in the future? Do you suck at cooking? Inspired by the wildly popular YouTube channel, these 60+ recipes will help you suck slightly less

You already know the creator of the YouTube show You Suck at Cooking by his well-manicured hands and mysterious voice, and now you’ll know him for this equally well-manicured and mysterious tome. It contains more than sixty recipes for beginner cooks and noobs alike, in addition to hundreds of paragraphs and sentences, as well as photos and drawings.

You’ll learn to cook with unintimidating ingredients in dishes like Broccoli Cheddar Quiche Cupcake Muffin-Type Things, Eddie’s Roasted Red Pepper Dip (while also learning all about Eddie’s sad, sad life), Jalapeno Chicken, and also other stuff. In addition, there are cooking tips that can be applied not only to the very recipes in this book, but also to recipes outside of this book, and to all other areas of your life (with mixed results).

In the end, you just might suck slightly less at cooking.*

*Results not guaranteed

Extract from You Suck at Cooking, photography by Andrew Thomas Lee,
published by Ebury Australia on 19 November 2019, RRP $29.99

 

GAS STATION CHARCUTERIE PLATE p.88

SERVES HOWEVER MANY PEOPLE ARE COMING OVER
Washer fluid
Gasoline of your choice
Pepperoni sticks
Almonds
Beef jerky
Cheese
Roasted almonds
Salted pistachios
Honey-roasted peanuts
Barbecue peanuts
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Dark chocolate
Any other interesting snacks
you can find at a gas station
1  Pop the hood of your car and locate translucent white tank with a water symbol
cap and close the hood.

2  Fill your gas tank with gas.

3 Go inside the store with actual money like it’s the old fashioned days. Locate any interesting snacks and purchase
them, and don’t forget to pay for,go home and wash the gasoline off your hands.

4  Cut the pepperoni sticks into bite-sized pieces. Cut them on an angle if you’re feeling extra fancy.

5 Arrange all the snacks on a plate, platter, or serving board in a way that makes sense, such as grouping nuts and meats together, or putting nuts and meats as far away as possible from each other. Serve, and never tell your date where the snacks came from.

*The Gas Station Charcuterie Plate is possible because we live in the golden age of mobile snacking. It is also bound to be a hit because of the human tendency to equate variety with quality. Which is not to say the foods at gas stations are of low quality. It’s just easy to take for granted the fact that you can get food, on a whim, at any time of the day or night, at these lonely fossil fuel outposts. In the future, a mobile rest stop subscription service will pull up beside you while you’re driving, refuel your car, give you snacks, and let you use the restroom, all at 105
kilometres per hour. And the fuel will be laser beams.

 

#MeatFreeMonday :Spring Veggie Fritters with Cucumber Yoghurt – Family Food & Feelings – Kate Berry

Family Food and Feelings

Kate Berry

Pan Macmillan

Plum

ISBN: 978176078-180-4

RRP 39.99

 

 Green Fritters 
“Fritters are a bit of a fave for us. I like them because I can cook a ton of them for dinner and then chuck the leftovers in the girls’ lunchboxes the next day. The girls like them because they’re fried and have a dipping sauce. I like them for that reason too, actually.”p202

220 g green beans, quartered
220 g fresh or frozen and thawed peas
220 g podded and peeled broad beans
4 spring onions, green andwhite parts, sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 free-range egg
300 g (2 cups) plain flour
560 ml (2 ¼ cups) sparkling water
sunflower or vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
pinch of sumac
your choice of fresh herbs,

to serve (optional)
For the cucumber yoghurt:
½ Lebanese cucumber, coarsely grated
salt
500 g (2 cups) plain yoghurt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

To make a start on the cucumber yoghurt, pop the grated cucumber in a colander over a bowl. Add a big pinch of salt and rub it into the cucumber, then leave for about an hour to get rid of the excess water.

While that’s happening, make the fritter mixture. Combine the green beans, peas, broad beans, spring onion, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg and flour, then slowly
whisk in the sparkling water. It should be the consistency of thick cream so take it slowly – you may not need all the water. Pour the batter into the bowl with the veggies and mix well.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. You just need it to keep
the fritters warm.

Heat a generous amount of sunflower or vegetable oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat.
It’s ready when you pop a piece of veg in there and it sizzles. Add heaped tablespoons of batter to the oil and be careful not to get spattered.

Fry the fritters for 2–3 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove with
a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining fritters.

To finish off the cucumber yoghurt, give the cucumber a squeeze to remove the last bits of water. Place in a mixing
bowl with the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and mint and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon the cucumber yoghurt onto plates and pop the fritters on top. Sprinkle with sumac and top with
some fresh herbs, if you like.

MAKES 16-18 FRITTERS

 

 

SPRING VEG FRITTERS-

‘Family, Food and Feelings by Kate Berry, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Kate Berry’

Review: Van Gogh in 50 Works – John Cauman

 

Van Gogh in 50 Works

John Cauman

Harper Collins Publishers  Australia

Pavilion

ISBN: 9781911624431

 

Description:

From humble beginnings in Nuenen and Antwerp to his last month in Auvers-sur-Oise, this captivating book on Vincent Van Gogh’s life and works is the perfect introduction for all students and art lovers interested in late nineteenth-century and Post-Impressionist art.

 

Featuring fifty of his finest works, each painting and drawing is described and analyzed in beautiful detail, within the context of the period, so that the reader can really understand what the artist was hoping to achieve with each work. Drawing from the many letters that Van Gogh wrote to his brother, friends and others, curator John Cauman provides an enthralling and accessible narrative about the artist and his work, introducing the milieu, key characters, the themes, and legacy that continues to this day.

 

Among his most famous works, this book includes The Potato Eaters (1885), Père Tanguy (1887), Self-Portrait in front of Easel (1888), Still Life Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers (1888), Cafe Terrace at Night (1888), Bedroom in Arles (1888), Van Gogh’s Chair (1888), Portrait of Joseph Roulin (1889), Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889), Irises (1889), The Starry Night (1889) and Wheat Field with Crows (1890).

 

My View:

This is a stunning collection, beautifully presented- the photography is first class- it looks like you have THE art in your hands…loved this very motivating read.

A must for all art lovers.

 

#MeatFreeMonday Summer Vibes Lasagne – Zucchini, Pea and Pumpkin Lasagne: Family Food and Feelings – Kate Berry

Family Food and Feelings

Kate Berry

Pan Macmillan

Plum

ISBN: 978176078-180-4

RRP 39.99

 

This is a fabulous book  – it is a book where you can feel the joy the inspired the food on these pages.

In the next few weeks I will be sharing with you a sample of the goodies these pages hold, starting with Summer Vibes Lasagne.

‘Family, Food and Feelings by Kate Berry, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Kate Berry’ 

“Sometimes I get a little over-enthusiastic at the fruit and veg store, and by the end of the week I’m left with a fridge full of stuff I’m not quite sure what to do with. Pumpkins are the main culprit in our house – I’m always wooed by their reasonable price per kilo. And there’s ALWAYS a sad half-empty bag of peas lurking in the back of the freezer. This is an excellent way to turn those fridge/freezer nuisances into a tasty meal.” p24

200 g (1 1/3 cups) fresh or frozen peas
500 g (2 cups) fresh ricotta, well drained
200 g (2 cups) finely grated parmesan
large handful of basil leaves, roughly torn
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
salt and pepper
½ butternut pumpkin, seeds removed, halved and peeled
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 baby zucchini (a mix of green and yellow is prettiest)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan-forced).

Blanch the peas in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 1–2 minutes or until just tender. Drain.

Place the ricotta, parmesan, peas, basil, lemon zest and
chilli flakes in a food processor and blitz to roughly combine.
Season with salt and pepper, then cover and pop in the fridge
until needed.

Using a mandoline (be careful!) or a very sharp knife, thinly
slice the pumpkin into 3–5 mm thick slices.

Combine 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of olive
oil in a bowl.

Place a single layer of pumpkin in the bottom of a 22 cm
square (or similar) baking dish and drizzle with about one third
of the honey mixture. Spread with one-third of the ricotta
mixture. Repeat this process twice more, finishing with a layer
of the ricotta mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden. Set aside to
cool slightly.

While the lasagne is cooking, thinly slice the zucchini with a mandoline or sharp knife into 3–5 mm thick ribbons. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, lemon juice and remaining honey and oil.
Top the lasagne with the zucchini, drizzle with the honey dressing and serve.

#MeatFreeMonday : Cashew and Quinoa Stir Fry – Eat Drink and Still Shrink – Michele Chevalley Hedge

Eat, Drink and Still Shrink by Michele Chevalley Hedge,

Published by Plum, RRP $34.99,

Photography by Cath Muscat.

 

C A S H E W & Q U I N O A  S T I R – F R Y  p200

“There’s more to protein than steaks and chicken breasts. This recipe uses high-quality vegetarian forms of protein – cashews and quinoa – but believe me, it’s the kind of meal you can serve to even the most passionate of meat lovers. Don’t skip the coconut milk, or be tempted to use a low-fat version: coconut milk helps strengthen immunity through its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also boosts metabolism, reduces sugar cravings and soothes the digestive system. To protect against cancer, we use turmeric, ginger, onion, bok choy and broccoli; these foods also assist with inflammation. But best of all, this dish is really, really, really tasty. Dig in! A big thanks to Simone on my team at A Healthy View for creating this for hungry vegetarians.

SERVES 4 PREPARATION TIME: 15 MINS C OOKING TIME: 15 MINS
²⁄3cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped sweet potato
¹⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 cups finely chopped broccoli
sea salt
¹⁄2 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons vegetable stock or water
1 tablespoon tamari
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1¹/2 cups roughly chopped bok choy
3 tablespoons roughly chopped basil leaves
freshly ground black pepper

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions (you’ll need 2 cups cooked quinoa for the stir-fry).

Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes or until golden.

Add the sweet potato to the wok and stir-fry for 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in the turmeric, ginger, broccoli and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the coconut milk, stock or water, tamari and cashews and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the bok choy and basil and season with pepper, then stir-fry for another 3 minutes.

Toss through the quinoa, season to taste with salt and pepper if needed, and serve.

SPICE IT UP: Chop a bird’s eye chilli and add before serving.

CHANGE UP THE CARBS: If quinoa’s not for you, try brown
or basmati rice.

GO NUTS: Any kind of nut will work here – use your favourite.
SWAP THE HERBS: Try coriander or lemon thyme in place of basil.