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My 2013 Book List

Happy New Year!

Every year, I am asked to share my book list. Goodreads has made that easier than ever with the ability to share on my FB page. You can find that here: JaneAnnThompson and see my full list of reads, but I thought I would share with you my favs for the year, out of the 54 read.

I know, I know, you don’t have time to read, but that’s a matter of opinion. Here is how I manage to read at least 52 books a year.

1. I always have some sort of spiritual or inspirational read going. I read from this book every morning. I do not watch television in the morning and I get up thirty minutes earlier than I would have to so I can drink my cup of tea and read. Try it. Your day will be better for it.

2. I take a book to work with me and read during my lunch. This is usually when I read non-fiction either for building my business or about health. I get at least 30 mins in usually. On days I work from home, I do the same, but allow myself an hour.

3. I read every night before bed. We do not have television in our house. We have a monitor on which we watch movies, and do watch something most evenings, but no matter, we still go to bed and read for at least thirty minutes each night. Though some nights I am so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open, most nights I manage to get in at least 30 mins. Studies show that people who watch television in bed or stay on the computer until getting in bed do not fall asleep easily and do not sleep as well. Also, to my couples friends, having a television in the bedroom means that  what should be happening in the bedroom is often times neglected. Move that television out of the bedroom and give it away. Same for your kids. READ!

Still not convinced? Time yourself and see how much time is wasted on Facebook and other social media. I’m as guilty as the next person, but try really hard most days to limit the time. Seth Godin has a really good blog on this today. Check it out! 

So here’s my favs and find the entire list with reviews here.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art is not listed on my Goodreads summary for 2013 because technically I read it on New Year’s Eve, 2012, but I considered it my first read of the year because it was so impactful for my year. A small and concise inspirational read of completing your ART, no matter what that looks like for you. I have reread a couple of times, and because my copy got loaned out, I am ordering an extra to have on hand. 

This is an excellent read. Heartbreaking and frustrating, but so worth it.
Read this on my Kindle when I went backpacking this year. Though she does some pretty stupid things (I suggest not following her lead for backpacking and get some expert help) this is a great read. I loved the adventure and the thought of being out on my own, though I was with a group of nine.
One of my favorite non-fiction reads this year, Moss exposes the food industry and how they have hooked us on unhealthy food.
After reading Wild, I decided to read this book my Strayed also, and just loved it. She has some great advice for everyone. She wrote an anonymous advice column for sometime, and this is the best from the blog.
Diaz is one of my new favorite authors and I will read anything he writes in the future and actually read this year, everything he has written and there was not a bad one in the bunch. Originally from the Dominican, he writes of family and friends like no other.
Need a good laugh? This will do it. One of the funniest books ever, I read this while traveling in England and got strange looks every time I started guffawing (have never used this word before, but truly, there is no better way to describe the laughter this book induces) out loud. Short, sweet and hilarious!
Heard this was a best seller in Europe and decided to check it out. This novel pulls you in like no other and keeps you riveted to the end (well except for maybe a few pages here and there where the author digresses, but no biggie).  It’s a story of the ocean and the men who went to sea and the women who stayed home.
Brilliant. Read it!
Never saw the movie, had no desire to, but my sister told me she read it and liked it, so picked it up to take to the beach with me and could not put it down. Tells what happens as the world comes back from the zombie apocalypse. Great beach read!
I liked this book a lot. A very compelling story. I have read her others books and liked them too, so when a friend sent us an early reader’s copy, we jumped on it.
Really great non-fiction about the men and women who saved the art stolen by the Nazis.
Spooky! A 1984 for our day. Read it!
Another fav non-fiction about how our brains work and why exercise is so important.
Just saw the movie, and though good, the book beats it to pieces. You need to read it to really get his full story. Excellent! And it’s a short fast read.
I am a huge fan of writing about food writers. They were the last of an era and this book gives lots of the details of how their opinions and actions have affected us since the 1970’s. Has some weak points, but I just loved it.
Um, you don’t have to be on drugs. You don’t have to be unhealthy when you die. You could do like generations in the past and just get old and die in your sleep. Finished. Kapoot. The end. Read it. Live healthy till you die.
Who knew shame and perfection were so closely linked? Brene Brown’s research is so eye opening and this book gives you some easy ways to deal with it. Though simplistic in someways, I still enjoyed it and have learned a lot. I will reread again soon.
AND drum roll…..most beneficial book of the year:
Want to be the star in your own life? Want to be indispensable at work, on the job, in your family? Can’t say enough about this book. Will definitely reread and reread and reread….

2012 Reads

(This is the stack of books I received for Christmas this year. I am currently reading Beyond the Beautiful Forevers and can hardly put it down. Incredible story.)
I am a reader. I have been my entire life. I read cereal boxes when I was a child if there was nothing else nearby to read. I always have a book with me incase I get stuck somewhere and find myself waiting in a line or an office. Reading is what makes the difference in who I am today and who I will be tomorrow. Several readers have asked me for my reading list of this last year. Below is that list taken from my Goodreads page. They are in the order of the last book I read this year to the first. You can find me on Goodreads as Jane Hasenmueller if you want to follow my reading for this year. I failed to put the cookbooks I read on this list, but maybe I’ll make that an entry for another day. I did not include much in the way of description for any book, as Amazon provides that if you are interested in reading any one of these. I would love to hear from you in comments what your favorite(s) was/were for 2012. I think mine would be Canada by Richard Ford and East of Eden by Steinbeck. Oh, and The Marriage Plots, and The Art of Fielding and Wuthering Heights and….
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative BattlesInspirational this little book talks about the importance of our life and work as art! I needed this read and am now reading it again a little each day. Short and sweet chapters, I recommend this for anyone who needs a kick in the pants to get activated this year.
The Middlesteins Interesting read of a woman who ate herself to death.
War and Peace Longest book ever, but enjoyed immensely. Second half of book becomes a bit overwhelming at times with Tolstoy’s treatise on war, but well worth the read.
The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions Two perspectives on the meaning of Jesus. I appreciated the diverse opinions.
River Town: Two Years on the YangtzeA Peace Corp memoir. Provides some insight on China I had not known before.
Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your LifeI actually read this twice because understanding the Jewish life of Jesus gives greater insight into the meaning of the Bible. Whether a believer or not, this is an interesting read.
The Three Weissmanns of Westport Just a fun read. Nothing deep or too meaningful, but enjoyed.
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible I found this amusing and insightful.
The Gathering A good read, but nothing I’d highly recommend.
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith The second book, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, is a much better book, but this first book certainly gives an introduction to the concept of understanding Jesus as the Jew he was and the life he led.
The Pleasure Trap: Mastering the Hidden Force That Undermines Health and Happiness An okay book about why we eat what we eat. The middle chapters were the best.
Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard This was one of the most memorable books I read this year. It is the memoir of a young woman who grows up with drug addicted parents and spends much of her time on the streets of New York, but eventually decides she must finish school and go to college to escape the only life she knows. Harvard becomes her goal and miraculously she attains just that. Inspiring read and one I highly recommend.
One Last Thing Before I Go I like Jonathan Tropper, but this one was not as good as This is Where I Leave You, which I read last year.
Call Me Ted Not a book I would typically read, but my husband was going to toss it out when he finished and he had found it interesting, so decided to give it a go. I did like this and found him to be an interesting man. He has led a diverse life that offered him many different opportunities. If you are an entrepreneur and looking for inspiration, this book would be good.
Wuthering Heights I couldn’t believe, as a former English teacher and double degreed in English, that somehow I had never read this book. I loved it as I love all the English women writers of this era. Beautiful description, drama, human emotion, a great read.
Frankenstein Hard to believe I had never read Frankenstein either, but I had not, so made it a must read. Such a good story. Having studied the Shelleys in my grad days, I knew a lot about the way this book came about, but had never actually read the story. I would recommend this for anyone, especially if you missed out in high school or only read the Cliff Notes. (You know who you are!)
Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" If you like Downton Abbey, then read this. A true story. Enough said.
Nocover-blank-111x148 The Life we Prize, by Elton Trueblook. An old book, one I found on my dad’s shelf, it has a lot of truisms for today.

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace Love, love, love this book. Rich in cooking description, the whys and hows of what we cook. This is not a cookbook though, but a cooking guide or meditation. Lots of great tips on preparing things ahead. Highly recommend. Short and swift read.
A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman Though a little poorly written in a few places, overall this book is compelling in that I learned so much about the Congo. This book will make you want to take action and stand up for these women and their fight to be free of violence.
East of Eden East of Eden is one of my all time favorite novels. My husband and I both read it after his daughter told us it was her favorite novel. Steinbeck was such an incredible writer and this story will stay with you for life.
Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit If you eat tomatoes, you should read this. Great investigative writing, though repetitive in a few places, it does not distract too much from the story. The plight of tomato pickers and what happens to our tomatoes makes for a good read.
The Great Divorce Another one I picked up from my dad’s shelf. This is a short fiction written by one of the eminent writers of all times. Interesting, though Mere Christianity is still my favorite.
Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous! In your face, why you need to lose weight and keep it off, and why you should be a vegan to do it. They have compiled the research from the studies that indicate the importance of giving up the typical American diet and put it into a short and sweet, but bitchy format.
A Land More Kind Than Home Really liked this book. The main character is a young boy, faced with evil and tragedy,  and how he perseveres. It stuck with me a long time. I recommend this read for sure.
Cleopatra: A Life History is intriguing to me and the story of Cleopatra kept me fully engaged. She is truly one of the most interesting women of all time and this well written account of her life gives insight into her motivations and intentions.
The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical Having given up on “religion” I have read this book a couple of times because Shane Claiborne writes about true Christianity and what it means to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. He inspires one to think beyond the walls of a building and the constrictions of the names we place on different believers. I highly recommend this book for anyone who thinks outside the box and wants inspiration to live a true Christian life.
Canada One of my favorite books this year, Ford writes an incredible story of innocence lost and growing up too fast. I had a hard time putting this down. Highly recommend.
This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike. Got a case of self pity? Read this! Augusten Burroughs has seen it all and done it all and he has some no nonsense advice for you here. Give it a go.
Stern Men I read this because I like Elizabeth Gilbert. Not a great book, but I enjoyed it, nonetheless.
In a Country of Mothers A.M. Homes is one of my favorite writers. She never disappoints.
The Seven Storey Mountain The autobiography of Thomas Merton, a man who gave up a promising literary career to pursue the life of a monk in Kentucky. A good read.
All But My Life: A Memoir This book of life in a Nazi labor camp, this is a different perspective and experience than many of the other tales of WWII. She lost “all but her life,” and persevered to the end. A very good read.
You Deserve Nothing The story of an American living in Paris teaching high school. As a former teacher, I could relate to much of the story, but then he takes a path I do not understand that leads him to destruction. A good read.
The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris Nothing great, but if you’ve been to Paris or plan to go to Paris, you will like it!
Crime and Punishment  Crime and Punishment, the first Russian novel I read this year. The Russians are such rich writers. A really good read and one I recommend.
The Time Traveler's Wife I wanted to throw this book across the room. Why do people love this book? I hated it, though I will give her kudos that I finished reading it to the bitter end. I do not recommend this stupid story. (Who, in her right mind, would have a baby that more than likely would time travel? I mean really!)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (George Smiley, #5) Complicated spy novel that challenged me, but I loved it. Nothing like a good spy read!
The Weird Sisters Fun book I really enjoyed, probably more so because I’m the middle of three sisters.
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) Didn’t everybody read this series? The first was the best, but liked them all!
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) Second in the series.
Steve Jobs Best biography I’ve ever read. Truly enjoyed this read. He was a genius that didn’t know much about love and human relationships, but gave us the Apple. Enough said.
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) The first in the series and the best. Great concept, good read.
The Art of Fielding The story of a baseball player, but so much more than that, I really think this is well written and was by far one of my favorite books of the year. I highly recommend.
The Marriage Plot Another great book by Eugenides, this one does not disappoint. He is one of the best fiction writers of our time with stories that always keep one engaged. I highly recommend.
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything Did I read this? Oh yes, this is a book about memory and I did read it and found it quite interesting. If you are a nerdy reader like me, interested in how the mind works, you will like this book.
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual Love this little book by Michael Pollan and illustrations by Maira Kallman. Good rules to remember. The first book I read last year after finding in my stocking on Christmas morning.  Great book to give as a gift.
I hope you have a reading year! Turn off the television, put down the iPad, close the computer and turn off the phone, pick up a book and read for your life!
Peace and Joy!
book cover appetite for reduction

Book Review: Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

book cover appetite for reduction

Whether a vegan, vegetarian or just someone looking to add vegetables to the daily menu, Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low~Fat Vegan Recipes, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, is a cook book that fills the bill. It has become a recent favorite in my cookbook collection. Because I am a nutritarian, I am always looking for great recipes composed of nutrient dense ingredients and easy to prepare for weeknight meals. Moskowitz’s book is packed with interesting vegetable dishes which include, salads, sides, beans, tempeh and tofu (though I don’t use these a lot, still nice to have available) pasta, soups and comfort dishes, like chili, stews and curries. She also includes cooking tips throughout. Though, not many pictures, and all located in the center of the book, for the price of $12.36 on Amazon, I will live with it.

I didn’t purchase the book because of the low~fat element, as I tend to already cook low~fat, but I appreciate that aspect of the recipes. One of my favorites is the Unfried refried beans. Refried beans are usually chock-full of fat, but these take the fat out and maintain their moist consistency by using tomatoes. I also love the Bhutanese Pineapple Rice, with a bite of heat and sweet, this delicious dish is a frequent side at our house. Brussels Sprouts Potato hash is fantastic and if eggs are on the menu, a great side. Butternut coconut rice is on my menu tonight.

The recipes are detailed well for the most part, allowing even a beginner to follow along. The indexes that list by ingredient and also break down into categories, helps make a search for certain ingredients or the amount of time I can allot easy. Other cookbooks by Isa Chandra Moskowitz include, Vegan Brunch and Vegan with a Vengeance. If this book is any indicator, I will definitely try out one of her other cookbooks soon.

You can find this and other items in My Favorites. I recommend this book to anyone looking to add some great veggie recipes to their menu. If this cookbook is part of your library, let me know which recipe is your favorite. Enjoy!




An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler

An Everlasting MealAn Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, by Tamar Adler has become one of my favorite cooking books ever. Not a traditional cookbook by any means, though there are recipes scattered throughout, this wonderful read is a “How to…” book on cooking economically, using what is on hand in the kitchen, and making every scrap usable. Beautifully written, the prose flows with description that will have you chomping at the bit to get into the kitchen and put her recommendations to work. Though I am not a meat eater, I enjoyed the information presented on meat and still learned from these chapters. The first chapter is “How to Boil Water,” and though you may think you know all about boiling water, wait until you have read this chapter before patting yourself on the back. I recommend this book for any level of cook.  Interested in purchasing? You can find this book on My Favorites page for quick ordering!

Tomatoland, by Barry Estabrook



Tomatoland, by Barry Estabrook, is an eye opening book about what goes on behind the scenes in the land of tomatoes. He gives a history of the ugly hiring and employment tactics of big tomato agribusiness in Florida, a state so ill suited to growing tomatoes that dangerous pesticides are the norm. Understanding where our food comes from and how it is grown and processed to market, gives us more control and say in what we want to put in our bodies. This book provides just that. Though repetitive in some places, over all it is an interesting and compelling read. Understanding why supermarket tomatoes have no flavor, how flavor has been bred out in place of rock hard solid tomatoes that can make it to market and survive rough handling, helps make the case for growing your own or buying them at a local farmer’s market. It also makes the case for eating fresh tomatoes in season only and using canned the rest of the year if tomatoes are a must. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to know where the food they eat comes from and how it gets to them. This book has made me think twice about what kind of tomatoes I purchase and from where I make the purchase. Overall, an interesting read. Find a copy in My Favorites.

I am currently reading this book

A Thousand Sisters book jacket

I am reading the book, A Thousand Sisters, a memoir about a woman’s efforts to raise money for the women of Congo. In doing research, I ran across this video and thought I would share. Our lives in this country are so easy. Don’t take a single one for granted and find a way to do something for others. Happiness lies within us, but so does unhappiness. Getting outside ourselves and devoting ourselves to a cause is one of the best ways to be happy!

I Am Congo video link

I Am Congo is a groundbreaking video series featuring five amazing people living their lives amid the deadliest war in the world.

Canada by Richard Ford

Canada Book Cover

by Richard Ford

Though not a fan of Independence Day, I have greatly enjoyed his later two books, Lay of the Land, and now Canada. A very compelling read. The story of twins and how their life was blown up by their parents, sending them in different directions, the story is engaging throughout. I highly recommend it!