Favorite Books of 2013: Non-Fiction – Eating and Sewing

**I forgot to add one book to my parenting book post so I just added it (Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys).  If that interests you, you should head back there to read about it!

Although not my most productive reading year ever, I did manage to read over 100 books in 2013!  I track my reading on Goodreads.  So if we’re not friends there, you should join me!

Here are my favorite eating and sewing (although not at the same time) non-fiction books of 2013.
(with apologies for the repetitiveness to my Goodreads friends as these are my edited reviews from what I posted there through the year)


Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration: 20 New Designs with Historic Roots by Denyse Schmidt: The quilts in this book are truly gorgeous. I loved reading the history behind each quilt pattern and seeing how Denyse Schmidt re-imagined them for a modern sensibility. I especially loved the Irish Chain, Courthouse Steps, and Shoeman’s Puzzle.

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth L. Cline: Fair warning, if you read this book you won’t be able to buy clothes at the mall anymore without feeling guilty.  That’s the problem with knowledge – once you know, it’s hard to go back to spending without a conscience.

Here are a few of my takeaways from this book:

  1. I don’t need nearly the amount of clothing that I have right now.
  2.  I should be willing to pay local designers/producers for pieces of clothing that I will wear long-term. “Buy way less clothes, spend more on what I do buy,” is my new mantra.
  3. Americans are crazy.  The way we dress ourselves is incredibly unsustainable and terrible for the environment and for all who are in the supply chain to get it to us.

This isn’t a book about sewing per se but has prompted me to think more about sewing our own clothes, buying used, and/or buying ethically-sourced clothing.

I also enjoyed:

  • We Love Color: 16 Iconic Quilt Designers Create with Kona Solids by Susanne Woods
  • Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe published by Martingale
  • Brave New Quilts: 12 Projects Inspired by 20th-Century Art from Art Nouveau to Punk & Pop by Kathreen Ricketson


Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss:  This book has solidified into steel my resolve to keep processed food out of our house. I also feel less guilty for thinking longingly about eating Cheetos even 4+ years after I gave up eating them. It’s not just poor self-control on my part; food scientists designed them to be as addictive as possible so that I would want to buy more and more!  Don’t read this if you don’t want to have to change your shopping habits (but I do hope you read it). (Ironically, I started reading this the day that I made us Thai curry for dinner. The sauce’s main ingredients? Coconut milk (fat), fish sauce (salt), and palm sugar (sugar). No wonder it tasted so good!)

The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan: This was a different book about food than many I’ve read. In particular, she deals with the “how can we all eat well” question the best that I’ve read so far. By all of us, she means everyone – different in race, gender, ethnicity, class, and geographic location. Not surprising, she argues that we need better education, better access, and better government policies (particularly related to the food that our tax dollars subsidize) if we want to change the dismal state of food in America. I also enjoyed her writing style and particularly appreciated her accounts of the amazingly kind and generous people she encountered while doing her undercover reporting.

I also enjoyed:

  • An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler
  • It’s Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It: Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter Gather by Bill Heavey
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