Sunday, December 29, 2013

Barry Lopez - A literature of hope

If I were asked what I want to accomplish as a writer, I would say it's to contribute to a literature of hope


I had been aware of Barry Lopez's work for some time. However, it was the publication of Home Ground: Language of American Landscape (Lopez and Gwartney) that finally got me launched into reading his work. 



Last night I finished About this Life and found it rewarding. There are many aspects I admire, but most notably is the inclusive sweep of his vision, curiosity and respect. In reading this is struck me that he is a multimedia artist. He might disagree (in this book he specifically addresses his reasons for ending his work as a photographer), but what I mean is that his writing - for he is indeed a writer, his media is words - is somehow deeply infused with photography, ceramics, the physicality of being outside. The full sensual experience evoked by his writing is quite rare to find in writing.

[Non-european cultures] did not separate humanity and nature. They recognized the immanence of the divine in both. And they regarded landscape as a component as integral to the development of personality and social order as we take the Oedipus complex and codified law to be. (p.12)


I've found that the most dependable way to preserve these possibilities [the human "desire to love and be loved, to experience the full fierceness of human emotion, and to make a measure of the sacred part of one's life."] is to be reminded of them in stories. Stories...offer...patterns of sound and association, of event and image. Suspended as listeners and readers in these patterns, we might reimagine our lives. It is through story that we embrace the great breadth of memory, that we can distinguish what is true, and that we may glimpse, at least occasionally, how to live without despair...." (p.13)


If I were asked what I want to accomplish as a writer, I would say it's to contribute to a literature of hope...I want to help create a body of stories in which men and women can discover trustworthy patterns. (p.15)


If I were to now visit another country, I would ask my local companion, before I saw any museum or library, any factory of fabled town, to walk me in the country of his or her youth, to tell me the names of things and how, traditionally, they have been fitted together in a community. I would ask for the stories, the voice of memory over the land. I would ask to taste the wild nuts and fruits, to see their fishing lures, their bouquets, their fences. I would ask about the history of storms there, the age of the trees, and the winter color of the hills. Only then would I ask to see the museums. I would want first the sense of the real, to know that I was not inhabiting an idea. I would want to know the lay of the land first, the real geography, and take some measure of the love of it in my companion before I stood before the paintings or read works of scholarship. I would want to have something real and remembered against which I might hope to measure their truth. (p. 143)


I've long been attracted to the way visual artists like Robert Adams imagine the world. The emotional impact of theri composition of space and light is as clarifying for me as immersion in a beautifully made story. As with the work of a small group of poets I read regularly--Robert Hass, Pattiann Rogers, Garrett Hongo--I find healing in ther expressions. I find reasons not to give up. (p.225)


Barry Lopez gives me this gift as well - the gift of not giving up. He helps me find ways to stay open and aware in the midst of neglect and destruction. His writing is indeed a literature of hope.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Surviving the Ivory Tower



Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González and Angela P. Harris examines the intersecting roles of race, gender, and class in the working lives of women in academia. Through personal narratives and qualitative studies, the contributors expose the challenges they face as they navigate the often hostile terrain of higher education, including hiring, promotion, tenure, and relations with students, colleagues, and administrators. The narratives are filled with wit, wisdom, and concrete recommendations, and provide a window into the struggles of professional women in a racially stratified but increasingly multicultural America. Presumed Incompetent encourages a continued discussion of race, class, and gender by presenting the cultural and structural challenges experienced as well as concrete and constructive strategies for fostering healthier campus climates for all.


“It is important to remember that the mere admission of some women to most institutions has not mean the elimination of subtle forms of exclusion or mistreatment of them. Indeed, typically, when any form of prejudice (such as sexism or racism) is labelled as unacceptable, it does not simply vanish; rather, it tends to take increasingly subtler forms, thus protecting the prejudiced person from both social and legal accusation of prejudice.” 

This book offers big picture context and data as well as advice on practical techniques of how to handle job interviews, how to apply for promotions and tenure, etc. A final chapter gives suggestions for ways individual women, and women in groups, can work to improve the situation at their own institutions.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

How to succeed in graduate school? Know yourself


I've always been fascinated by how people choose to live and think about their lives. No surprise then that memoirs, autobiographies and biographies are favorite genres. Growing up, I poured over the life stories of Mary McLeod Bethune and Jane Addams. Later is was Memoir of a Race Traitor and YellowBlack




Recently I've come across research showing that developing an identity as a scientist - someone with value to add to the field - is a key factor in the retention and career success of underrepresented minorities (URM) and women in STEM fields. So, now I'm seeking stories by and about underrepresented minority and women scientists so I can learn and share them with emerging scientists. 

To that end, I just finished Carl Hart's High Price in which he examines his education and career in order to understand how he succeeded in school and was able to become a neuroscientist. 



As I find more books like this, I'll add them to this posting. I wonder if students would find it helpful to take the time to write down a portrait of/pathway to becoming a scientist. This narrative wouldn't be shown to anyone. The goal instead is an inner one - to see oneself as a unique and capable scientist.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Art notes: watercolors, a deep way of seeing


Watercolors are one of my favorite artistic media. I used to think of watercolor painting as weak and washed out. Then I encountered the work of Gail Gage, Winslow Homer, Vivian Swift, Mary Whyte, Andrew Wyeth and nature journalists and changed my mind.


I enjoy memoirs about the creative process and so I'm looking forwarding to reading Whyte's Down Bowhicket Road: An Artist's Journey and Workings South.


And, of course, any time I can look at watercolors by Homer...


or sleeping dogs....


I'm happy.

How to succeed on the job? Cultivate skills & "craftsperson mindset"


Rules/strategies proposed:
  • 1: "Follow your passion" = bad advice (100) instead:
  • 2: Build career capital (rare/valuable skills) more helpful (100-1)
    • Craftsperson mindset - focus on what you offer/craft-centric vs. productivity-centric (215), e-mail 90mins/day (73)/value impt over urgent
    • Deliberate practice - stretch your abilities/invite feedback
      • Stretch to just beyond current competence (99) via practice-inducing tasks (214)
      • Invite and use feedback
      • Seek "open gates = opportunities already open to build capital (94)
  • 3: Invest career capital (142-3)
    • Control - need capital to back it up, be ready to encounter resistance
    • Resistance - To know when resistance is trying to limit you (vs. warning that you're not yet ready for more control) use the Law of Financial Viability (are people willing to pay for what you offer) (139)
  • 4: Develop/refine mission (196-7)
    • Develop = innovation found in the "adjacent possible" of your field (161, 223)
      • Adjacent possible = just beyond the cutting edge (159)
      • Note: to get to cutting edge, must develop expertise/career capital
    • Refine = To narrow/identify focus of the mission use:
      • "Little bets" (small steps to calibrate way forward) - info from small significant wins allows discovery of unexpected avenues/extraordinary outcomes (179)
        • Small enough to be completed in less than a month (225)
        • Forces you to create new value (new skills, new resources)
        • Produces concrete results that can be used to gather concrete feedback and allows you to explore promising ideas
      • Law of Remarkability: 1) people remark on it and 2) launched in a venue that supports such remarking (193)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Book notes: Growing up outside of the norm


These feelings of not-belonging were positive for me, not negative....I was given such a sense of confidence by my family, in my family [that I] experienced the sense of difference as an honor...  - Denise Levertov



Children are marked by their parents' beliefs and choices. Perhaps nowhere more so than when the parents are at odds with the government, the mainstream, etc. I recall reading that Nelson Mandel felt great sadness at the toll his activism had taken on his children and the children of his colleagues. As someone who grew up proud of the convictions and actions of my parents and aware of the toll it exacted on everyone in the family, I've always been alert to others with similar childhoods.

Just this week I've noticed this echoed by several, now adult, children who grew up amidst their parents' activism and/or their parents being branded the enemy and the repercussions that followed. It includes Nadine Gordimer (anti-Apartheid activism/South Africa), Kati Marton (journalists/Hungary), Alexandra Fuller (white supremacism/Rhodesia) and Tony Kahn (McCarthy Blacklists/USA). And, of course, I know it's true for the children of King, Jr., Evers, Union activists, AIM members and so many throughout the world who pay a price along with their parents. As someone emerging from that experience as well as a therapist, I'm interested in how these children (as youth and adults) perceive and integrate these experiences into who they are and who they wish to become. This interest includes the children of economic immigrants - those who come to the USA without the required papers, women who rarely see their children because they must nurse/nanny in other countries, etc.


Today I came across writer Beverly Naidoo who turned her attention to this topic in her in The Other Side of Truth which explores the impact of a Nigerian's journalist's anti-goivernment writing on his children. Also of interest is her Journey to Jo-burg set in her homeland of South Africa from which she was exiled for many years. Not surprisingly, the book was banned from the country until the collapse of Apartheid. When I retire from having to make money, I'd considering working with children (youth and/or adult) who have had these experiences. Often I find them to be insightful and inspiring people - with a more nuanced experience of belonging, home and family.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Snapshot: Definition of "story"

The story...is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind...There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories. 

- Ursula K. LeGuin

Notebook: Notes & quotes


Go into yourself - Rilke

Only when I am quiet for a long time and do not speak do the objects of my life draw near. - Jane Hirshfield

I wanted to be curious, interested, interesting, hopful - and a little bit odd was okay too. [knew what she wanted to be, but not who/how] - Naomi Shihab Nye, A Maze Me

Walk around feeling like a leaf./Know you could tumble any second./Then decide what to do with your time. - Naomi Shihab Nye

Live to the point - Montaigne

It is not down in any map; true places never are. - Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

...how is it possible to love [the troubled landscapes] in the present but also acknowledge their troubled histories?...[the wilderness of the island of Raasay was] partly a consequence of loss: its spaciousness declared an absence, and its solitude a calamity. -Robert MacFarlane, The Wild Places (p.123)

Poet in New York [by Federico García Lorca] is the book which taught me that the most honest way to travel and to write is not to escape where you come from but to see it in a new light. - Monique Truong

These feelings of not-belonging were positive for me, not negative....I was given such a sense of confidence by my family, in my family [I] experienced the sense of difference as an honor... - Denise Levertov

I could never have been happy in any profession which did not involve the highest intellectual strain and yet kept me in good warm contact with my neighbors. - George Eliot, Middlemarch

To live in the world of creation-to get into it and stay in it-to frequent and haunt it-to think intensely and fruitfully-to woo combinations and inspirations into being by a depth and continuity of attention and meditation-this is the only thing. - Henry James

Somehow, I knew what a poem was. I liked the comfortable, portable shape of poems...and especially the way they took you to a deeper, quicker place, almost immediately. - Naomi Shihab Nye

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. -Chinese proverb

Take fuller possession of the reality of your life. - Ted Hughes on writing

Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness. - Galway Kinnell

Let me
Keep my mind on what matters,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
- Mary Oliver

That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you to a third book. It's geometrically progressive-all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment. - Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

Iran = a polyfocal/syncretic/cosmopolitan culture - Hamid Dabashi
Persian prose & poetry has roots in Arabic & Indian lit - Hamid Dabashi

I went in through the doors of the treasury of wisdom. And I drew for myself the waters of understanding. - Makeda, Queen of Sheba (10th century BCE)
                 
One can imagine Jesus and Mohammed glumly comparing notes in paradise, scratching their heads and bemoaning their vain expense of effort and suffering, which resulted only in the construction of two monumental whited sepulchers.
- Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings (p.143)

All war is fratricide, and there is therefore an infinite chain of blame that winds its circuitous route back and forth across the path and under the feet of every people and every nation, so that a people who are the victims of one time become the victimizers a generation later, and newly liberated nations resort immediately to the means of their former oppressors. The triple contagions of nationalism, utopianism and religious absolutism effervesce together into an acid that corrodes the moral metal of a race, and it shamelessly and even proudly performs deeds that it would deem vile if they were done to any other. - Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings (p.257)

Every beginning is only sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through. - Wislawa Szymborska

The mother goddess is the invisible counter-player of western culture. - Leo Frobenius

The bright day is done, and we are for the dark. - Shakespeare

A neat lie satisfies more than a sloppy truth. - Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings (p.287)

Now, when the apples she might have picked against winter/are falling, let us recall her...Let us summon her here that she be present/among us, because the true burden is absence,/because joy, O my neighbors,/can be grafted to loss & bring fruit everbearing,/so that/though there is grieving,/there is never true separation, never a leaving. - Sam Green, "Miserere..." from The Grace of Necessity

The pterrifying pterosaurs
Flew ptours the ptime of dinosaurs.
With widespread wings and pteeth pto ptear,
They pterrorized the pteeming air.
They were not ptame.
They were ptenacious-
From the Ptriassic
Pto the Cretaceous.

- Douglas Florian

Good TED talks: Dance/Story-Mallika Sarabhai; Synthesizing Happiness-Dan Gilbert; Memes/Temes-Susan Blackmore; Intrinsic Motivation-Daniel Pink; Post-conflict aid-Paul Collier

Happy New Year = Aid-e shoma mobarak (in Iran) or Nowruz mobarak (used more in Afghanistan)

Notebook: Cultivating the richness of words


Keep alert for dense, rich words, and don't hesitate to fling them around. How about 'fox,' 'dirt,' 'leather,' 'squirt,' 'chafe,' 'warp,' 'vortex,' and 'crinkle'...'crispest endive sprayings'.
- from Keeping a Nature Journal

GENERAL
  • Quiddity (essence of a thing; evasion of argument by raising irrelevant pts/distinctions)
  • Sunshine house (house the length of house so it always has sunshine), Perduring (last permanently; endure)
  • Epiphenomena (secondary phenomenon that occurs alongside or in parallel to a primary phenomenon)
  • Epicene (of/pertaining to both sexes)
  • Phatic (performs a social task, as opposed to conveying info)
  • Kalpak (hat)
  • Senescence (aging),
  • Oneiric: Of, relating to, or suggestive of dreams. [Greek oneiros, dream + -ic.] oneiric [əʊˈnaɪərɪk]. adj. of or relating to dreams
  • Caravansaries
  • Medew netcher: sacred word (hieroglyphs were called this in Ancient Egypt)
  • Phoenicopteros: feathers of fire; flamingo in Greek
  • faire du lèche-vitrine - to go window shopping

NATURE
  • Nature: serac (ice in a glacier)
  • Quahag (hard clam; from Narragansett for "poquahock")

ART
  • Fugitive pigments
  • Craquelure
  • Blooms
  • Scrapes
  • Abrasions
  • Inpainting
  • Ekphrasis (poetry inspired by object of art)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Notebook: Recently read books



  • The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks - Theoharis
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts - Cain
  • The Secret Life of Pronouns - Pennebaker
  • American Bloomsbury - Cheever
  • Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth - Spurling
  • Destiny of the Republic - Millard (re: President Garfield)
  • Shakespeare after All - Burdett
  • Dreaming in French - Kaplan
  • The Zookeeper's Wife - Ackerman
  • The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins her Life Work at 72 - Peacock
  • A Small Furry Prayer - Kotler (re: Rancho de Chihuahua)


FICTION

  • Swallow and A Bit of Difference - Atta
  • Three Strong Women - Ndiaye
  • The Bookshop - Penelope Fitzgerald
  • My Life and Hard Times - Thurber
  • South of Superior - Airgood (set on the shores of Lake Superior)
  • Delta Girls - Brandeis (story structure)


MEMOIR

  • Create Dangerously - Danticat (also: Brother, I'm Dying)
  • YellowBlack: The First Twenty-One Year's of a Poet's Life - Madhubuti
  • Little Things in A Big Country: An Artist and Her Dog - Hinchman
  • Waist-high in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled - Mairs
  • One Man's Meat - White
  • The Feast Nearby - Mather
  • Still Life with Chickens - Goldhammer
  • The Egg and I - MacDonald
  • Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness - Fuller


GARDEN

  • A Naturalist Buys An Old Farm - Teale
  • In Search of Paradise: Great Gardens of the World - Hobhouse
  • The New Low-maintenance Garden - Easton
  • McGee & Stuckley's the Bountiful Container - McGee
  • Small-space Container Gardens - Richardson
  • Big Gardens in Small Spaces - Cox
  • Grow Great Grub - Trail
  • Farm City - Carpenter
  • Urban Farms - Rich
  • Quarter Acre Farm - Warren
  • Into the Garden with Charles - Wachsberger


ART/DESIGN

  • Information Graphics - Rendgen
  • Botany for the Artist - Simblet
  • Matisse: A Way of Life in the South of France - Naudin
  • The Art of Botanical Painting - Stevens
  • A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin - Bryant
  • Raoul Duffy - Werner
  • Pissarro, His Life and Work - Shikes
  • Gustave Caillebotte - Varnedoe
  • Gwen Johns - info pending
  • William H. Johnson: An American Modern - Johnson
  • Watercolors by Winslow Homer - Homer
  • The Red Rose Girls: An Uncommon Story of Art and Love - Carter
  • Drawing from Memory - Say
  • Generation T: 120 New Ways to Transform A T-shirt - Nicolay
  • The Perfect English Cottage - Byam
  • Cottages in the Sun - Bach
  • Simply Scandinavian - Norrman
  • Living With Light: Decorating the Scandinavian Way - Abbott


YOUTH LIT

  • Happy Nowruz: Cooking to Celebrate the Persian New Year - Batmanglij
  • Count Your Way Through Iran - Haskins
  • The Year of the Book - Cheng
  • Becoming Naomi Leon - Munoz
  • Hilda and The Midnight Giant
  • Giants Beware! - Aguirre
  • Junonia - Henkes
  • Wonderstruck - Selznick
  • The Arrival, The Lost Thing, Tales from Outer Suburbia - Shaun Tan
  • The Search for Wondla - DiTerlizzi
  • Thirteenth Child,  Across the Great Barrier and The Far West - Wrede
  • Graceling and Fire (but not Bitterblue) - Cashore
  • Seraphina - Hartman
  • The Little Broomstick - Mary Stewart
  • Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story - Khan


FILM

  • Brooklyn Bridge, Prohibition, Jazz - Ken Burns
  • Every Little Step
  • Gotta Dance (recent documentary)
  • Mad Hot Ballroom
  • The Full Monty
  • Wordplay
  • Shakespeare Retold (Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado)


---And more!---

  • When Wanderers Cease to Roam - Vivian Swift
  • Le Road Trip - Vivian Swift
  • The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare
  • Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master - Donegan & Ishibashi
  • African History: A Very Short Introduction - Parker & Rathbone
  • Edith Wharton - Hermione Lee
  • A Writer's Diary - Virginia Woolf
  • Howard's End is On the Landing - Susan Hill
  • Democracy Matters - Cornel West
  • Seven Arrows - Hyemeyohsts Storm
  • Native Roots - Jack Weatherford
  • The Turquoise Ledge - Leslie Marmon Silko
  • The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - Ripley
  • The Story of the World - Wise Bauer
  • Iran: A People Interrupted - Hamid Dabashi
  • The Crescent & Star - Stephan Kinzer (Note: Turkish villages have no main square/area for public discourse; Istikal=Independence Blvd vs. devlet=state; that to which Turks owe allegiance)
  • Write On - Elizabeth George
  • The First Five Pages - Noah Lukeman
  • Art History: A Very Short Introduction - Dana Arnold
  • Art & Upheaval: Artists on the World's Frontlines - Cleveland
  • The Gift: Creativity & the Artist in the Modern World - Hyde
  • Investing in Creativity - the Urban Institute
  • Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History - Strickland
  • Japanese Art - J. Stanley-Baker
  • Saar: Extending the Frozen Moment
  • Art & Physics - Leonard Schlain
  • A Gentle Plea for Chaos: The Enchantment of Gardens - Osler
  • Plant Dreaming Deep - May Sarton
  • A Pacific Northwest Nature Sketchbook - Jude Siegel
  • Home Ground - Lopez & Gwartney
  • Wild Places - Robert MacFarlane (burren of western Ireland)
  • Oxford - Jan Morris
  • A Year in Japan - Kate T. Williamson
  • Japan - W. Scott Morton
  • Highland Journey: A Sketching Tour of Scotland - Hedderwick
  • Provence Sketchbook - Fabrice Moireau
  • As They Were, Long Ago In France, Two Towns in Provence - MFK Fisher
  • The Names of Things - Susan Brind Morrow
  • Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny - Zainab Salbi
  • Lost In Translation - Eva Hoffman
  • Hungry Monkey - Matthew Amster-Burton
  • A Homemade Life - Wizenberg
  • My Life in France - Julia Child & Alex Prud'Homme
  • Paris to the Moon - Adam Gopnik
  • The Piano Shop on the Left Bank - Thad Carhart
  • Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris - Sarah Turnbull
  • Self-Portrait, Trina Schart Hyman - Trina Schart Hyman
  • Beatrix Potter: A Journal
  • Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature - Linda Lear
  • Wesley the Owl - Stacey O'Brien
  • The Daily Coyote - Shreve Stockton
  • To Bless the Space Between Us - John O'Donohue
  • Selected Poems - Gwendolyn Brooks
  • "An Ancient Gesture" - Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Opened Ground - Seamus Heaney
  • Equivocation - play by Bill Cain
  • Yellowman - play by Dael Orlandersmith
  • In the Continuum - play by Danai Guira & Nikkole Salter
  • Malinche - Laura Esquival
  • What Alice Knew - Paula Marantz (Alice James & brothers)
  • A Far Cry from Kensington - Muriel Spark
  • Brooklyn: A Novel - Colm Toibin
  • Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson
  • Excellent Women - Barbara Pym
  • Camus, a Romance - Elizabeth Hawe
  • Le Silence de la Mer - Jean Bruller Vercors
  • Country Of Pointed Firs & A Country Doctor - Orne Jewett
  • The Mrs. Pollifax series - Dorothy Gilman
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford
  • Worlds of Fiction - eds: Roberta Rubenstein & Charles Larson
  • Bee-bim-bop! - Linda Sue Park
  • Filmmaking for Teens - Lanier & Nichols
  • Inside Out & Back Again - Thanhha Lai
  • Understood Betsy - Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • Nicole, a little French schoolgirl - Maud Frère
  • Nanette, a French goat - Mireille Marokvia
  • The Good Master - Kate Seredy
  • The Fortune-Tellers - Lloyd Alexander (Schart Hyman)
  • Hershel & the Hanukkah Goblins - (Schart Hyman)
  • Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don't) - Barbara Bottner
  • Pacific Crossing - Gary Soto
  • Incredibly True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Alexie
  • Looking for Bapu - Anjali Banerjee
  • Gods of Manhattan - Scott Mebus
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick
  • Seven Sisters & Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin

---


The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather - back to the land on $40/day (in SW Michigan)
Still Life w/Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer - rebuilding a life, this time w/chickens

Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted by Justin Martin
In Search of Paradise Great Gardens of the the World by Penelope Hobhouse
Matisse: A Way of Life in the South of France by Jean-Bernard Naudin
Pocket Neighborhoods: Small-scale Community in A Large-scale World by Ross Chapin

Open Studios with Lotta Jansdotter by Lotta Jansdotter
Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking by Najmieh Batmanglij

Apartment Gardening by Amy Pennington
Small-space Container Gardens by Fern Richardson

---Online---
Seattle Seedling blog by Stacy Brewer, "city-dwelling teacher by day, organic urban farmer by night/any spare minute, trying to grow as much food as possible on my modest 4,000 square foot Seattle lot in the Maple Leaf neighborhood."