Plastics are everywhere, even in places we might not imagine. I had no idea the inside of my organic soy milk carton was lined with plastic, or that plastic is what makes glossy book jackets so slick. Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too is full of such examples of plastic’s presence around us—and what’s worse, even inside us. The surprise is how thoroughly the author gives us the bad news without losing her sense of humor or destroying our sense of hope. In a book that’s part personal story, part tutorial, blogger Beth Terry defines plastics; explains why they’re problematic; describes why recycling is not the easy solution it seems; then lists ingenious alternatives for nearly every place we’ve plugged plastic into our lives. From the obvious (water bottles) to the ubiquitous (food packaging) to the gross (pet waste bags), she proves our personal actions can make a difference to the community and, if enough of us act, to the planet. By the way, the book jacket is brown paper, and not even slightly slick.

MOD PODGE MANIA
Mod Podge was the craft craze of the 1970s; I know because I was there. Now clocking in at nearly half a century and still sporting its groovy graphics of yore, Mod Podge is as cool as ever. Mod Podge, to the few uninitiated, is a one-step decoupage medium: It glues, seals and finishes just about anything onto just about anything. In Mod Podge Rocks! Decoupage Your World, author Amy Anderson and a crew of craft bloggers share more than 40 projects to bring Mod Podge up to date. Shoes? Sure. They’re in the Wearables section, along with jewelry and a bike helmet. Home Decor includes a fabric lampshade, Moroccan end table, media tower, and “Super Girly Wall Cubes.” Check out the “Geek Plates,” outdoor planter and “Glowing Mummy Hand Candy Bowl.” The best part is that any of the projects can be easily personalized to fit your skill level, your materials and your aesthetic.

TOP PICK FOR LIFESTYLES
Any new book on wild edibles is exciting, but Foraged Flavor: Finding Fabulous Ingredients in Your Backyard or Farmer’s Market is groundbreaking. Author Tama Matsuoka Wong presents 71 plants that aren’t just edible, but are altogether delicious. She teamed with Eddy Leroux, the chef de cuisine of the renowned restaurant Daniel, to find “a way of working with these ingredients that would truly showcase them in a classic and balanced seasonal dish.” The result: 88 recipes—good enough for a gourmet crowd, but easy enough for a home kitchen—to take readers through the year. Anyone for sumac-ade?  How about nettle and asparagus pizza? Imagine turning chickweed, a common yard pest, into a topper for crostini, or infusing invasive honeysuckle in honey for fragrant, icy granitas. Foraged Flavor includes a section on plant identification and information about foraging sustainably and safely, and it is peppered with excerpts from the author’s meticulous and personable “Forager’s Journal.”

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