Memoirs of people who completed yearlong projects

Yearlong projects that have changed the course of lives
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Year of No Sugar: A Memoir

by Eve Schaub

About the book:  For fans of the New York Times bestseller I Quit Sugar or Katie Couric's controversial food industry documentary Fed Up, A Year of No Sugar is a "delightfully readable account of how [one family] survived a yearlong sugar-free diet and lived to tell the tale...A funny, intelligent, and informative memoir." ―Kirkus It's dinnertime. Do you know where your sugar is coming from? Most likely everywhere. Sure, it's in ice cream and cookies, but what scared Eve O. Schaub was the secret world of sugar―hidden in bacon, crackers, salad dressing, pasta sauce, chicken broth, and baby food. With her eyes opened by the work of obesity expert Dr. Robert Lustig and others, Eve challenged her husband and two school-age daughters to join her on a quest to quit sugar for an entire year. Along the way, Eve uncovered the real costs of our sugar-heavy American diet―including diabetes, obesity, and increased incidences of health problems such as heart disease and cancer. The stories, tips, and recipes she shares throw fresh light on questionable nutritional advice we've been following for years and show that it is possible to eat at restaurants and go grocery shopping―with less and even no added sugar. Year of No Sugar is what the conversation about "kicking the sugar addiction" looks like for a real American family―a roller coaster of unexpected discoveries and challenges. "As an outspoken advocate for healthy eating, I found Schaub's book to shine a much-needed spotlight on an aspect of American culture that is making us sick, fat, and unhappy, and it does so with wit and warmth."―Suvir Sara, author of Indian Home Cooking "Delicious and compelling, her book is just about the best sugar substitute I've ever encountered."―Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Powers


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A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration and Encouragement

by Barbara Abercrombie

About the book:  In this collection of anecdotes, lessons, quotes, and prompts, author and writing teacher Barbara Abercrombie provides a delightfully varied cornucopia of inspiration — nuts-and-bolts solutions, hand-holding commiseration, and epiphany-fueling insights from fellow writers, including Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners and Abercrombie’s students who have gone from paralyzed to published.


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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

by Julie Powell

About the book:  Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.


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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

by Barbara Kingsolver,Camille Kingsolver,Steven L. Hopp

About the book:  Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.


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The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World

by Carl Safina

About the book:  THE VIEW FROM LAZY POINT named winner of the 2012 Orion Book Award! THE VIEW FROM LAZY POINT; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World (Picador, January 2012) has been named winner of the 2012 Orion Book Award. View the announcement here. orionmagazine.org/index.php/article/6197/ Hailed MacArthur Fellow Carl Safina takes us on a tour of the natural world in the course of a year spent divided between his home on the shore of eastern Long Island and on his travels to the four points of the compass. As he witnesses a natural year in an unnatural world he shows how the problems of the environment are linked to questions of social justice and the politics of greed, and in asking difficult questions about our finite world, his answers provide hope.  


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My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir

by Noelle Hancock

About the book:  “I honestly loved this book.”—Jim Norton, New York Times bestselling author of I Hate Your Guts“Eleanor taught Noelle that, first and foremost, Courage Takes Practice. Her yearlong quest to face her terrors, great and small, is moving, enriching, and hilarious—we readers are lucky to be along for the ride.”—Julie Powell, bestselling author of Julie & JuliaIn the tradition of My Year of Living Biblically and Eat Pray Love comes My Year with Eleanor, Noelle Hancock’s hilarious tale of her decision to heed the advice of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and do one thing a day that scares her in the year before her 30th birthday. Fans of Sloane Crosley and Chelsea Handler will absolutely adore Hancock’s charming and outrageous chronicle of her courageous endeavor and delight in her poignant and inspiring personal growth.


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The Year of Magical Thinking

by Joan Didion

About the book:  From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.


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Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting

by Michael Perry

About the book:  In over his head with two pigs, a dozen chickens, and a baby due any minute, the acclaimed author of Population: 485 gives us a humorous, heartfelt memoir of a new life in the country.Living in a ramshackle Wisconsin farmhouse—faced with thirty-seven acres of fallen fences and overgrown fields, and informed by his pregnant wife that she intends to deliver their baby at home—Michael Perry plumbs his unorthodox childhood for clues to how to proceed as a farmer, a husband, and a father.Whether he’s remembering his younger days—when his city-bred parents took in sixty or so foster children while running a sheep and dairy farm—or describing what it’s like to be bitten in the butt while wrestling a pig, Perry flourishes in his trademark humor. But he also writes from the quieter corners of his heart, chronicling experiences as joyful as the birth of his child and as devastating as the death of a dear friend.


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Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris

by Ann Mah

About the book:  The memoir of a young diplomat’s wife who must reinvent her dream of living in Paris—one dish at a timeWhen journalist Ann Mah’s diplomat husband is given a three-year assignment in Paris, Ann is overjoyed. A lifelong foodie and Francophile, she immediately begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a year-long post—alone. Suddenly, Ann’s vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Light is turned upside down.So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Ann must find a life for herself in a new city.  Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths.Like Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French and Julie Powell’s New York Times bestseller Julie and Julia, Mastering the Art of French Eating is interwoven with the lively characters Ann meets and the traditional recipes she samples. Both funny and intelligent, this is a story about love—of food, family, and France.


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The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature

by David George Haskell

About the book:  Winner of 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies.Finalist for 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.Winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award. Winner of the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature.Runner-up for 2013 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Biologist David George Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Beginning with simple observations--a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter, the first blossom of spring wildflowers--Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology, ecology, and poetry, explaining the science binding together ecosystems that have cycled for thousands--sometimes millions--of years.


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Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting Dangerously

by Adrienne Martini

About the book:  "I knit so I don’t kill people" —bumper sticker spotted at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival For Adrienne Martini, and countless others, knitting is the linchpin of sanity. As a working mother of two, Martini wanted a challenge that would make her feel in charge. So she decided to make the Holy Grail of sweaters—her own Mary Tudor, whose mind-numbingly gorgeous pattern is so complicated to knit that its mere mention can hush a roomful of experienced knitters. Created by reclusive designer Alice Starmore, the Mary Tudor can be found only in a rare, out-of-print book of Fair Isle–style patterns, Tudor Roses, and requires a discontinued, irreplaceable yarn. The sweater, Martini explains, "is a knitter’s Mount Everest, our curse, and our compulsion. I want one more than I can begin to tell you." And so she took on the challenge: one year, two needles, and countless knits and purls to conquer Mary Tudor while also taking care of her two kids, two cats, two jobs, and (thankfully) one husband—without unraveling in the process. Along the way, Adrienne investigates the tangled origins of the coveted pattern, inquires into the nature of artistic creation, and details her quest to buy supplies on the knitting black market. As she tries not to pull out her hair along with rows gone wrong, Martini gets guidance from some knitterati, who offer invaluable inspiration as she conquers her fear of Fair Isle. A wooly Julie and Julia, this epic yarn celebrates the profound joys of creating—and aspiring to—remarkable achievements.


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