Feb. 17th, 2019

  • 12:57 PM

Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of our own Back Yards, by Sara Stein. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993


‘Noah’s Garden’ was one of the early books advocating using native plants and gardening for the wildlife. Stein relates, in wandering fashion, the long process she and her husband undertook of returning a large site to something sustainable and critter friendly- both macro and micro. She shows the problem with having a lawn instead of a meadow, and with planting exotic (non-native plants) to the exclusion of natives. Not having a landscape that provides food and shelter to native insects, birds, and mammals means that pest species numbers just explode with nothing to keep them in check. And that point is where people end up reaching for the spray gun.


It’s a very interesting book for the most part, although it bogs down near the end and I started skimming for a while. There are sources that go into more detail about meadows, pest species, and gardening for wildlife available now, but it’s a nice starting point. Four stars.

Feb. 16th, 2019

  • 2:56 PM

Daughter of Moloka’I, by Alan Brennert. St. Martin’s Press, 2019


We first meet Ruth in an orphanage on Oahu, the half Japanese, half Hawaiian daughter of occupants of the Moloka’I leper colony. Over the course of 54 years, from 1926 to 1970, we follow her life as she is adopted by a Japanese family who move to California to farm. Of course, come Pearl Harbor, they are put in an internment camp and later have to start over in the aftermath. Ruth is contented with her life; she loves her parents and is starting a family of her own. Then, out of nowhere, a letter arrives from Rachel – her birth mother. Will Ruth want to meet the woman who gave her up when she was one year old? Can she love both her birth mother who she doesn’t remember and her adoptive mother, the only other she’s known? Can she even understand the woman who gave her up- and who lived a significant amount of her life in the leper colony?


The characters are mostly well drawn and three dimensional. The author brings places to life, too- the islands, central California, the internment camps. I think this description of the inhumanity of putting people in internment camps like animals comes at a time when the US is doing the same thing all over again, and I hope it will make some difference in the minds of readers. Five stars.

Ghost in the Seal

  • Feb. 14th, 2019 at 9:58 PM
Ghost in the Seal by Jonathan Moeller

Ghost Exile book 6. Serious spoilers ahead for the earlier books.

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Choose Your Enemies

  • Feb. 13th, 2019 at 9:07 PM
Ciaphas Cain: Choose Your Enemies by Sandy Mitchell

Ciaphas Cain book 10. No major spoilers for the earlier books, I think.

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Ghost in the Inferno

  • Feb. 12th, 2019 at 6:34 PM
Ghost in the Inferno by Jonathan Moeller

Ghost Exile book 5. There are serious spoilers for the earlier books ahead.
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