Good fluffy history.
Still looking for a book that grabs me.

A useful little cleaning book.

I'm still reading various chapters in Leslie Carroll's fun Notorious Royal Marriages, so not much new to report today.

Cleaning However, I did want to mention a neat little book I looked at over the weekend, titled Household Cleaning Self-Sufficiency, by Rachelle Strauss. Now, I hate cleaning, but I don't mind reading about it, primarily because I am a very inefficient cleaner, and I have always had this idea that if I just figured out HOW to clean, it would go a lot better. Because I always leave cleaning too long, I have also always relied on typical and harshly chemical cleaning products, which is a habit I'd like to break.

So I've looked at a lot of "green cleaning" books, and photocopied some recipes for cleaning solutions out of them (like mixes using borax or vinegar to address bathroom mildew spots), but I've never really found one that I thought it would be useful to own. But Strauss's book is the exception. It offers very logically laid out chapters, and succinctly lists what chemicals are in regular cleaning products that you should avoid (and why), what natural ingredients you can buy and use, and then a few chapters of specific ways you can clean various areas in your house. It's only 125 pages long, so it's not overwhelming, and it's pragmatic more than it is "earth mother." (Some of these books are so intimidating it's ridiculous; with recipes saying things like "slaughter your own hog. Then drip its tallow through charcoals to make lye, which you can then use as soap..."*) And, it's only $12.95. If you're looking for one household manual to pick up, or maybe even a useful gift for a change to give at a bridal shower or wedding, consider this one.

*I'm making this example up. Please do not try and make your own lye.