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May 22, 2017 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ May 22nd

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 

Happy Monday! Despite the return of cool weather, it’s definitely springtime in my backyard.

Yesterday morning I noticed a lot of activity at one of my nest boxes. The baby sparrows were ready to go out on their own — one was out and hiding in the grass, and another had its head sticking out of the box, afraid to jump out. They can’t fly very well for the first few days and mostly hop around on the ground keeping the parents quite busy! Meanwhile, a robin was building a nest somewhere in the back of the yard.

Two new books this week, one audio and one print.

New Arrivals

The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen from Harper.
An enthralling odyssey and a gripping, expansive drama, The Destroyers is a vivid and suspenseful story of identity, power and fate, fathers and sons, and self-invention and self-deception, from a writer at the very height of his powers.

The Sixth Victim by Tessa Harris from Blackstone Audio.
London’s East End, 1888: When darkness falls, terror begins…
The foggy streets of London’s Whitechapel district have become a nocturnal hunting ground for Jack the Ripper, and no woman is safe.

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© 2017 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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May 20, 2017 / Leslie

Grocery by Michael Ruhlman

Grocery by Michael RuhlmanA Rapid Review

The Buying and Selling of Food in America

Publisher: Abrams Press | Random House Audio | May 2017
Format: Audio 11 hours | 320 Pages | Rating: 4 stars
Audio Listening Level: Easy

What’s it about . . .

Grocery examines how rapidly supermarkets—and our food and culture—have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer. But rather than waxing nostalgic for the age of mom-and-pop shops, Ruhlman seeks to understand how our food needs have shifted since the mid-twentieth century, and how these needs mirror our cultural ones.

What did I think . . .
This is much more than a history of the grocery store; it is also a behind-the-scenes look at how a modern grocery store is operated and managed, and the industry’s continuous evolution.

Through interviews with the owners of Heinens, a Midwestern grocery chain, we learn about the workings of different departments and even learn the real reason why the dairy and freezer cases are at the rear of the store. (I always thought it was to make me walk past the snack aisle!) There is an entire section on avoiding the center aisles of the store and why you should shop the perimeter. I found it amazing that we are headed towards a society where almost no one cooks anymore. Entire prepared Thanksgiving dinners can be purchased from the local grocery store, something almost unheard of a decade ago.

The author’s personal stories and memories combined with his extensive research of the grocery industry make this an interesting and absorbing read. His description of the grocery store in the 1960s brought back my own childhood memories of grocery shopping as a Saturday morning family outing.

Audio production . . .
The narration was performed by Jonathan Todd Ross in a pleasant, clear voice with smooth pacing. This was an easy-to-follow narrative and a good selection for audio. Non-fiction is a good choice for new audio listeners or for listening in the car as there is no complex plot or characters to remember.

I read both print and audio and found my time listening to be a perfect choice for multitasking.

Audio Sample . . .

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
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Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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May 17, 2017 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Spirea

Almost wordless: The Spirea burst into bloom earlier this week. I grew this one from a cutting off another shrub in the backyard – it is now 20 years old!

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May 13, 2017 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: International Migratory Bird Day

Celebrate Birds

Today is International Migratory Bird Day, an annual event that highlights and celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Environment for the Americas invites us to join their celebration of the importance of stopover sites and their habitats:

Whether you learn about a stopover site near your home, visit one far away, or create a safe place for birds in your backyard, your support can mean a safe journey for a migratory bird. Join the celebration!

Focal Species

This year’s banner features several focal species that could use our help. I have had the pleasure of seeing most of these birds and have featured several of them on Weekend Birding.

One of the most fascinating is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Despite their size, they migrate from the Eastern US to Central America, and to get there they must fly across the Gulf of Mexico; an amazing feat for this tiny bird.

Make Your Yard A Stopover Site

Migrating birds need shelter, food, water, and a safe haven. Make your yard a place where they can have these needs met, and you will be richly rewarded with their presence.

  • Plant native vegetation for cover and as a source of insects, seeds and fruits, and provide fresh water. Encourage your neighbors to do the same.
  • If feeders are put out for migrating hummingbirds, make sure the feeders are kept clean and the sugar water is changed regularly. Hummingbirds will continue their migration when they need to, so don’t worry about how long to leave the feeders out.
  • Your yard will become part of a network of sites that help support these amazing migrants as they travel between their breeding and wintering grounds.

If you build it, they will come!
 


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May 10, 2017 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Virginia Bluebells

VirginiaBluebells

Almost wordless: So happy to see spring wildflowers popping up in the woods.

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May 8, 2017 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ May 8th

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
Nothing in my physical mailbox last week, but I did receive a few new audio books.

With nicer weather and more time outdoors, I can listen while I garden. I’m hoping to finally get some veggies planted next week. We had another frost warning last night, so all planting has been on hold.

Audio Downloads

You Were Here by Gian Sardar from Penguin Audio.
Readers of Kate Atkinson will delight in this suspenseful and romantic debut novel about a woman haunted by nightmares and her grandmother’s role in a doomed love triangle almost seventy years before.

Chemistry by Weike Wang from Random House Audio.
A luminous coming-of-age novel about a young female scientist who must recalibrate her life when her academic career goes off track.

The Physics of Everyday Things by James Kakalios from Random House Audio.
Physics professor, bestselling author, and dynamic storyteller James Kakalios reveals the mind-bending science behind the seemingly basic things that keep our daily lives running, from our smart phones and digital clouds to x-ray machines and hybrid vehicles.

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May 6, 2017 / Leslie

The Thing with Feathers by Noah Strycker

A Rapid Review

The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal about Being Human

Publisher: Tantor Audio | January 2017
Format: Audio CD: 8½ hours | Rating: 4 stars
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate

Drawing deep from personal experience, cutting-edge science, and colorful history, Noah Strycker spins captivating stories about the birds in our midst and shares the startlingly intimate coexistence of birds and humans.

What’s it about . . .
The book is divided into 3 Parts – Body, Mind, Spirit – and contains essays on thirteen different species of birds. For each bird, the author highlights a feature that is similar between avian and human behavior: Parrots that can dance, self-awareness in Magpies, cooperative nesting in Fairy Wrens, and pecking orders in chickens to name a few.

What did I think . . .
I love birds and have been watching and observing them in the wild for many years. Just the ability to fly makes them amazing creatures, but they have many other attributes. Some species can navigate their way across water or continents, you can take them far from home and they can find their way back, some are self-aware, and many are highly intelligent.

As a longtime birder, I was already aware of many amazing bird qualities, but there was still much to learn. In addition to facts and information on bird behavior, the author included his own experiences and short stories from a lifetime of observing birds.

This book will appeal to birders old and new, and even those remotely interested in birds.

Audio production . . .
The audio production was narrated by Paul Boehmer. His pleasant voice and good pacing made for easy listening.

This is the type of book that is made for audio. I often recommend non-fiction to new listeners, and this is no exception. With thirteen separate, engaging essays, the listener can find convenient points to stop and start, or listen in the car over a period of time.

Audio Sample . . .
Audio sample on the publisher’s site.
An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
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Source: Review copy provided by Tantor Audio.
© 2017 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
Advertisements appearing on this site are placed by WordPress and are not endorsed or approved by me.

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