Tag Archives: non-fiction

Maps are Lines We Draw by Allison Coffelt

As a blans—not just white, but an outsider—Coffelt does her best to balance her ability to give to a population “there” with an awareness of Haiti’s historical perspective of her “here.” At the risk of symbolizing “the great white hope,” she spends three weeks following Dr. Jean Gardy Marius, founder of OSAPO, Organizasyon Sante Popile (Public Health Organization), plucking gently at the web of (in-)humanity that has created the Haiti of today.

Respectful and enlightening, perhaps filling in details of what the average Westerner knows of Haiti, Coffelt intersperses history and cultural influences with her travels and philosophical insight, even as she refuses to give her watch to a random Haitian woman who demands it. It’s a vivid scene indicative of the distance between “here” and “there.” However, with nary a transitional segue, the disparate parts of this memoir feel cut and pasted instead of interweaving Coffelt’s experience into the story of a country she fell in love with before she visited. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting read and worth it if only for her effort to shine her light upon Haiti. I was fortunate to receive a copy of this book through NetGalley.

How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit

This gorgeous, little book begins with a basic introduction to container gardening: aesthetics, placement, sunlight, tools, soil / topping, plant selection, watering, and maintenance. It’s then divided into16 chapters with succinct, descriptive headings, such as Herb Garden, Edible Petals, Southern Belle, and Rain Forest. Each chapter begins with a photo of the finished product and a quick review box of logistics: location, light, window direction, ease of care, soil / topping, water, and feed. Following is a spread of the individual plants with Latin and layman names. Step-by-step instructions have corresponding pictures. At the end, there’s a short chapter on customizing a box and another listing resources.

For a hobby gardener, anyone who lives in an apartment, or someone who cannot have plants inside due to pets, this book is perfect for a weekend project to make a beautiful arrangement for a window, balcony, or out of pet’s reach inside. Information is laid out for quick and easy understanding. Take it along to the nursery to choose the plants—it’s small enough to throw in a purse or cargo pants pocket.

I was fortunate to receive this wonderful book through Blogging for Books for an honest review. I plan to make the Detox Box to clean the air in my home—the authors shared a bit of trivia that “snake plants were shown in a NASA Clean Air Study to remove benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, and other toxins from their surroundings.”