Homekeeping Books

Its not uncommon knowledge that books can be the source of a great deal of information. It helps that I love to read — even just the act of reading. That is, if I’m eating, I want something to read. I’m happy to read the cereal box if that’s all there it. Its very nearly a compulsion. Fortunately, it doesn’t go the other way, wanting something to eat if I’m reading.

Years and years ago, I remember asking a very old friend of my mom’s (as in they had been friends a very long time) how he knew what to read and how did he find so many good books to read. We both had an interest in China and I was amazed at the number of books he’d gathered on that topic (current trends, history, culture). He showed me how he starts with one book, perhaps someone recommended or it was found somewhere, that was good and went to its foot notes/end notes/references. He would look up those books and decide what he wanted to read. Then, from one of those books, he would sort through the references to find other books. I suspect that eventually you’ll have a list of all the books on the subject.
Homekeeping books are much the same; I will sort through and search out any books referenced in a book I enjoyed and found profitable. Unfortunately, most of the books referenced by these books are old, out of print and, possibly, rare. But really, that’s where amazon.com comes in handy. sort of. I like that I can see of those who looked at this item also looked at that item. But that is depending more on the opinion of the masses rather than an educated opinion, I think. I am always open to exploring more books and I’ve always got my eyes open for other homekeeping books that would have good information.
The other down side of the homekeeping topic is that the books all pretty much say the same thing, though the pictures are different, or the context or perspective is a bit different. The trend in the United States these days seems to be personalization, so that if something isn’t speaking to your specific situation, its of no use to you. Poppycock. Its worth developing the reading skill to be able to understand what someone is actually saying because you will find in many topics, everyone is saying the same thing. They are just using different words.
Enough of that soap box, I think.
There are several homekeeping books that I have found very useful. Some I have reviewed in the past, though I plan to run through them again in this project. The old reviews can be found here (https://mamarachael.wordpress.com/book-reviews/).
Of course, now I see the books I haven’t reviewed.
Homekeeping books seem to have two different niches that different books try to fulfill. The first niche is the general reference guide for caring for your home and belongings. Home Comforts and Martha Stewart Homekeeping Handbook fall this niche. The second niche is the ‘how to do it’ sort of guide. These books present a method (of sorts) on how to go about keeping house. Large Family Logistics and Sink Reflections are these sorts of books. There are a lot of ebooks that will fit, for the most part, in this second niche. Finally, there are books that are a subniche, e.g. The Naturally Clean Home. She covers how to make your own cleaning solutions, which fits nicely in the reference guide niche, but doesn’t cover all the topics that the larger reference guides cover. (I want to cover web based sources in a┬áseparate┬ápost.)
If you happen to be roaring and ready to go, check your local library for any of the books I’ve mentioned. I plan to cover the reference guides, their uses and their failings, in the next post. After that, I’ll cover the how-to-go-about-homekeeping books. Then I will cover the various web based resources I’ve come across. I will NOT be exhaustive, as there is SO much out there and, yet, I have so little time.
Until next time, keep on.

Books that get READ

So, some book you just read. And some books you READ. I’m currently working on two books that one must READ.

First up, I’m reading On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen.

Wow, this book is amazing. I started it the summer of 2011, so that means I’ve been reading it for a year, and only the 600s (pages) of 800 some-odd. I have minor in chemistry from undergrad and am unceasingly hungry for knowledge. This book meets both needs (chemistry info and knowledge), plus food. There is history of all types of food, information on the chemical changes that occur as you mix, cook, sear, bake, grill or whatever you might do to the food you are working with. He discusses the traditional ways of doing this, that and the other, and the more common modern or industrial ways. He explains why somethings just aren’t done at home any more. I’m currently in the chapter about sauces, and I suspect I will want to experiment with the next sauce I make. Hubby won’t like that, I don’t think.

I’m also working on Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home. Its different from Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, but I’m still thinking through how they are different. The two books do overlap in some ways, and it seems, intuitively, that Home Comforts is more timeless (and Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook more bound to current times), but I’m not able to articulate exactly what makes me think this. The two books are organized quite differently, and Home Comforts, despite being thinner, is a full 120 some-odd pages longer. Home Comforts has many, many fewer and smaller pictures and smaller text, while the Handbook has some very nice, large black and white pictures. The text is more non-academic-reader friendly (its a bit bigger), but Home Comforts never struck me as “academic”.

So, when I finally finish the Handbook, I plan to write a nice detailed discussion of how the two are different. I suspect that to happen in a month or so.

Anyone else working on books that need to be READ?