46 eBooks For Keeping Busy at Home: Cooking, Self Care, Crafting and More
Since library branches are closed, and we're all staying home as much as we can, we want to make sure that you're stocked up with a wide variety of things to read. My colleague Wendy wrote a great blog recently on 38 Ways to Use the Library from Home and this is just a riff on her excellent work. I'm generally trying to only share ebooks with available copies and no long holds lists right now so that you can dive right in. Some of these titles may have a bit of a wait, though, but I thought they're still worth recommending.
With time on your hands you might either go more complex or want to go Quick and Easy. Depending on the state of your pantry and supplies, we have you covered. This may also be the time to unpack that crock pot, pressure cooker and instant pot and work on those frozen cuts of meat you have on the bottom/back of your freezer. There's also a lot of material on making baby toddler foods.
"With its 6-in-1 capabilities, the Instant Pot® saves time and space in the kitchen--and once you try it you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. It can pressure cook, slow cook, make rice and yogurt, double as a sauté pan, and keep your food warm so you'll put a delicious dinner on the table quickly and easily. Who better than Good Housekeeping to explain exactly how to use this miracle machine? In addition to a primer filled with all the basics you'll need to know and Test Kitchen tips, it features 60 family-pleasing dishes that range from Quick Coq au Vin and Carnitas Tacos to Pulled BBQ Beef and Weeknight Tuscan Ragu. Every recipe is triple-tested in the Test Kitchen, using the pressure-cooking and slow-cooking functions."
I also want to give a shout out to their Good Housekeeping Soups: 70+ Nourishing Recipes.
"Dinner Illustrated is a modern approach to weeknight meals, with a revolutionary layout that makes it easy to open to any page and jump right into making one of our simple, globally inspired dinners. Each recipe appears as a fully illustrated roadmap to producing fantastic, fresh meals (salad and sides included) in an hour or less. No advance prep required; just gather your ingredients, pick up your knife, and follow along with the step-by-step photos until dinner is on the table. Side dishes are built right into the recipes. Along the way you'll pick up a helpful technique or two and learn about new ingredients to expand your culinary imagination. You'll become a faster cook, too, since we show you exactly when to prep each ingredient during the cooking process in order to get the work done efficiently (and without burning anything). And a simple approach doesn't mean simple flavors; there are options for all tastes and diets."
" In The Great Vegan Bean Book, author Kathy Hester primes you on everything you need to know about the best way to cook--and eat!--every bean you've ever seen (and a few you probably haven't). From soaking times, to cooking times, to what to pure, to what to saut, you'll be dancing delicious circles around those legumes in no time."
"There is a perfect cookie for every occasion and Betty Crocker Cookies has them all. This foundational book of cookies covers tips and tricks for making, storing, and gifting cookies of all kinds. With chapters organized by baking circumstances, bakers can quickly find a cookie recipe right for them--whether it's No-Bake Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies when it's too hot to turn on the oven, the Caramel-Filled Snickerdoodle Blondies that are easy to take on the go, or the Festive White Velvet Star Stacks that will light up any celebration."
And if you're looking for something a bit more classic, here are some books by Julia Child.
"Julia Child presents several cooking techniques and example recipes; all are arranged by food type and cross-referenced. Covers soups and sauces, salads and dressings, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, egg cookery, breads, crepes, tarts, cakes, and cookies."
There are also specialized cookbooks on a huge variety of subjects. These are just a sample from over 5000 ebook cookbooks you can download from the library.
Obviously we're looking for home-based practice like stretching and other types of activities, since gyms, yoga studios and etc. are closed. Why not try some of these?
"In Everyday Yoga, certified coach and registered yoga teacher Sage Rountree shares the yoga positions and exercises she has developed in her own yoga studio, at Kripalu, and working with active people during her popular yoga clinics around the country. She guides experienced yoga practitioners and yoga beginners on the best ways to design and develop their own at-home yoga routines. Everyday Yoga provides endless opportunities to explore and practice yoga in your own home."
"From celebrity yoga instructor Kristin McGee comes this fun, accessible guide to 100 yoga poses and exercises that can be done in your chair and take just minutes a day."
"Moving Stretch is an effective, powerful, and enjoyable type of resistance stretching that not only strengthens and frees the body, but reconditions the body's fascia, rejuvenates the tissue, releases adhesions, relieves pain, and increases flexibility. This accessible guide gives step-by-step instructions for people who feel tight or older than they should, people with poor posture, athletes who want to boost their performance, and those who want something more than conventional stretching. This book provides you with many different stretches for the whole body including the hands and feet, as well as routines for specific goals such as improving posture, helping office workers stay healthy, stretching the back, and more. Even those with sedentary lives will see and feel a difference, with just 10-20 minutes of stretching yielding benefits that may last the whole day."
"Just ten minutes a day of these modified stretches is guaranteed to help you improve your mobility without pain or injury. Stretching for 50+ is filled with safe, easy routines for any age. Learn warm-ups and cool-downs, use tools like a strap, therapy balls and foam rollers, and discover plenty of other fitness tips to keep you moving."
I wanted to add in a breathing book as it's something you can do at home. Many books about breathing exercises have holds lists, but here's one that's available.
"A simple yet revolutionary approach to improving your body's oxygen use, increasing your health, weight loss, and sports performance--whether you're a recovering couch potato or an Ironman triathlon champion."
And if you want to get outside while practicing safe physical distancing, here are a few books on walking.
"Walking is the most popular physical activity in North America, and for good reason: it can be done by people of all ages and all levels of physical ability, the risk of injury is low, and it doesn’t require a carload of expensive equipment. Best of all, brisk walking for just 30 minutes four times a week reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and other health problems. This comprehensive guide helps readers make the most of their walking. It offers two step-by-step programs developed by fitness professionals; advice on shoes, clothing, nutrition, and routes; tips on staying motivated and avoiding injury."
You may also enjoy Born To Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act.
I heard a reference to Todrick Hall on Saturday Night Live a while back so I'm sharing this "clean edit" version of Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels and challenge you not to dance or tap your foot while listening to it.
Organizing and Decluttering:
Is spending time at home making you want to tackle the clutter, reorganize, redecorate? Here are a few suggested ebooks to help you out.
"Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you'll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo's clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list)."
"In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, dö meaning "death" and städning meaning "cleaning." This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming."
"You don't have to live overwhelmed by stuff--you can get rid of clutter for good! While the world seems to be in love with the idea of tiny houses and minimalism, real women with real families who are constantly growing and changing simply can't purge it all and start from nothing. Yet a home with too much stuff is a home that is difficult to maintain, so where do we begin? Add in paralyzing emotional attachments and constant life challenges, and it can feel almost impossible to make real decluttering progress."
For a somewhat less drastic approach than the above books there's lots of material on organizing your home.
"Bestselling author Emilie Barnes teams up with fellow home-management expert and author Sheri Torelli to provide readers with an all-in-one collection of ideas, shortcuts, and inspiration to bring beauty and order to every aspect of their lives and homes."
Self Help / Mindfulness / Psychology:
"In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness--being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness."
"Stress. It can sap our energy, undermine our health if we let it, even shorten our lives. It makes us more vulnerable to anxiety and depression, disconnection and disease. Based on Jon Kabat-Zinn's renowned mindfulness-based stress reduction program, this classic, groundbreaking work--which gave rise to a whole new field in medicine and psychology--shows you how to use medically proven mind-body approaches derived from meditation and yoga to counteract stress, establish greater balance of body and mind, and stimulate well-being and healing. By engaging in these mindfulness practices and integrating them into your life from moment to moment and from day to day, you can learn to manage chronic pain, promote optimal healing, reduce anxiety and feelings of panic, and improve the overall quality of your life, relationships, and social networks."
"If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may try to avoid situations that cause you to feel worry, fear, or panic. You may even believe that terrible things will happen to you if you face the things that make you anxious. But avoidance isn't a long-term solution, and in the end it may result in more anxiety. This book shows you how the simple belief that you can endure your worries and fears--both mentally and physically--can be an extremely powerful treatment. Using a breakthrough approach combining proven-effective CBT and exposure therapy, this workbook helps you understand how worry and rumination drive anxiety, and offers practical exercises to help you adopt new habits of observing your thoughts, rather than accepting them as the "ultimate truth." You'll also develop mindfulness and self-soothing coping skills to help you manage anxiety in the moment, rather than avoid it. Over time these practices will show you that you are more powerful than your anxiety."
"Based on a revolutionary approach to psychological health and wellness called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), this fully revised and updated second edition offers compelling new exercises to help you create the conditions for your own genuine happiness and peace of mind. You'll learn how your mind can trap you, keeping you stuck and struggling in anxiety and fear. You'll also discover ways to nurture your capacity for acceptance, mindfulness, kindness, and compassion, and use these qualities to weaken the power of anxiety and fear so that you can gain the space do what truly matters to you. Now is the time."
"Chronicles the author's year spent testing the edicts of conventional wisdom to assess their potential for improving life, describing various activities ranging from getting more sleep and singing to her children to starting a blog and imitating a spiritual master."
Try also her book on good habits Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives.
"What's the formula for a happy life? In THE HAPPINESS EQUATION, Neil illustrates how to want nothing, do anything, and have everything."
"In Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, Harris and Jeff Warren, a masterful teacher and "Meditation MacGyver," embark on a gonzo cross-country quest to tackle the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that keep people from meditating. It is filled with game-changing and deeply practical meditation instructions--all of which are also available (for free) on the 10% Happier app. This book is a trip worth taking."
"Many avoid meditation because of its religious trappings. But as bestselling atheist Sam Harris has recently written (in Waking Up), meditation is an age-old secular practice with numerous scientifically verified physical and psychological benefits. As longtime meditation teacher Rick Heller here shows, meditation's benefits extend beyond the personal to enrich relationship with others, with community, and with the world. Step-by-step instructions, personal stories, and provocative questions teach empathy for others, stress reduction and inner peace, and the kind of in-the-moment living that fosters appreciation for life and resilience in the face of adversity."
See also these books on prayer:
- C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters or Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer
- 30 days to Becoming a Woman of Prayer
- Change Me Prayers: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Surrender
- When Will Things Start Looking Up for Me? My Beginner's Guide to Hope and Prayer
"Drawing on her own research with thousands of people, psychologist Lyubomirsky has pioneered a detailed yet easy-to-follow plan to increase happiness in our day-to-day lives--in the short and long term. This book that offers a guide to understanding what happiness is, and isn't, and what can be done to bring us all closer to the happy life we envision. Using more than a dozen happiness-increasing strategies, it offers a new way to understand our innate potential for joy and happiness as well as our ability to sustain it in our lives. Lyubomirsky's "happiness strategies" introduce readers to the concept of intentional activities that they can use to achieve a happier life, including exercises in optimism and how best to savor life's pleasures in the here and now."
I'd also suggest The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
"Author Thomas Kida identifies "the six-pack of problems" that leads many of us unconsciously to accept false ideas. Kida vividly illustrates these tendencies with numerous examples that demonstrate how easily we can be fooled into believing something that isn't true. In a complex society where success--in all facets of life--often requires the ability to evaluate the validity of many conflicting claims, the critical-thinking skills examined in this informative and engaging book will prove invaluable."
Fun Ways to Spend Your Time:
I'm thinking of Kelly Ripa and the roots challenge here so ....
"A stunning visual collection of more than fifty different braided hair styles, with detailed instructions and helpful photographs that show how to create them. From the big screen to the runway to the red carpet, braided hairstyles have never been more popular than they are today. Whether you want to sport gorgeous, complex twists, pull back your hair for workouts or the big game, or dress up for a wedding or formal event, The Big Book of Braiding has all the looks and instructions to inspire and show you how."
"Gone are the days of the classic French manicure--today it's all about nail art. In Nails, Nails, Nails!, Los Angeles-based stylist Madeline Poole presents 25 nail art projects in a range of fabulous looks: leopard print, plaid, stripes, stained glass, lace, glitter, and more! For budding fashionistas and beauty experts alike, this super-fun book presents professional nail-art techniques and all the important tools, plus simple instructions, step-by-step photos, and fabulous shots of the finished nails make it easy for readers to replicate the designs. Packed with inspiration, Nails, Nails, Nails! holds the secrets to dazzling nails that will make heads turn."
"Stitch up super-stylish handmade goodies with So Pretty! Crochet. Here, editor and craft expert Amy Palanjian presents twenty-four irresistible projects--from craft stars around the world. You'll find patterns for delicate necklaces, a soft and cozy hat and gloves, chic headbands, a darling garland, sweet nesting bowls, and much more. With detailed instructions, helpful charts, crafty anecdotes, and stunning color photographs showcasing the oh-so-pretty projects, this vibrant collection elevates the classic craft of crochet and makes it perfectly stylish for today!"
"Contains 35 designs with comprehensive step-by-step instructions. Origami for Children is the perfect introduction to origami, the fun Japanese papercraft for parents and children of all ages. Divided into six sections, the projects cover a range of themes, from classic origami designs such as animals to party decorations and modern vehicles. There is even a project showing how to create the classic Japanese arcade character Pacman. You will be amazed at how much you can create with a few simple folds. Every stage is described in a series of clear step-by-step photographs."
We also have many more origami books for adults and as well as kids.
"Scrapbooking For Dummies is perfect for you if you're a new scrapbooker who wants to create your own personal scrapbook (or who would like to make a special scrapbook for a friend or loved one) or if you're already an avid scrapbooker who's looking for helpful tips and new ideas. This friendly guide takes the guesswork out of creating well-designed albums."
"40 popular card games, with clear instructions and guidance on how to master each one. Easy to follow helpful advice on learning more than 40 of the most popular card games. This beautifully presented edition will offer all the help and guidance you need to learn how to play these ever-popular games. Illustrated throughout with colour diagrams."
Bill's (Quirky) Picks:
"In this work, a Viennese psychiatrist tells his grim experiences in a German concentration camp which led him to logotherapy, an existential method of psychiatry. This work has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 the author, a psychiatrist labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the stories of his many patients, he argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. His theory, known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (meaning), holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful."
"Through his lyrical translations, Coleman Barks has been instrumental in bringing this exquisite literature to a remarkably wide range of readers, making the ecstatic, spiritual poetry of thirteenth-century Sufi Mystic Rumi more popular than ever."
"Everyone wants to be happy. Here in this profound volume is a road map for discovering a life filled with happiness, joy, and a sense of purpose. The Dalai Lama's basic premise is that each of us is responsible for our own health and happiness and for the health of society. He further asserts that health and happiness are within our reach--both individually and collectively. How a person thinks, behaves, and feels ultimately impacts not only their own lives, but also the society in which they live. If you desire to attain happiness, you must understand that the journey begins with you. It is only then that you can reach out and touch the lives of others and change society."
"Gathered here are the gems of William Carlos Williams's astonishing achievements in poetry. Dramatic, energetic, beautiful, and true, this slim selection will delight any reader--The Red Wheelbarrow & Other Poems is a book to be treasured."
"Michael A. Singer explores the question of human identity . He shows how the development of consciousness can enable listeners all to dwell in the present moment and achieve happiness and self-realization."
"A classic of modern fiction. Set in the 1860s, THE LEOPARD is the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution."
"'Purporting to be an eye-witness account, the Journal of the Plague Year is a record of the devastation wrought by the Great Plague of 1665 on the city of London. Defoe's fictional narrator, known only as 'H. F.', recounts in vivid detail the progress of the disease and the desperate attempts tocontain it. He catalogues the rising death toll and the transformation of the city as its citizens flee and those who remain live in fear and despair. Above all it is the stories of appalling human suffering and grief that give Defoe's extraordinary fiction its compelling historical veracity."
The haunting account of the young Anne Frank and her tragically short life as a hidden Jewish fugitive during the Holocaust continues to deeply move and inspire readers, decades after she wrote what became The Diary of a Young Girl. This title, geared toward an upper-elementary-level readership, follows her early life before the outbreak of World War II, with an emphasis on her writings and experiences in hiding. Anne Frank's attempt to live and document a normal life in the face of great danger and adversity makes this an especially compelling title for young readers."
This is a children's biography of Anne Frank with unlimited copies. I had originally wanted an ebook of her Diary of a Young Girl autobiography but the waiting lists are pretty long.
"In early nineteenth century England, a spirited young woman copes with the suit of a snobbish gentleman as well as the romantic entanglements of her four sisters."
"In an emergency, would you know how to survive--to purify water, jump-start a car, escape a flood or fire, forage for firewood, protect your family? Whether the threat is low or the risk is apocalyptic, Popular Mechanics can help you handle it with lifesaving advice for dangerous situations. Crucial information on how to handle the critical decisions you might face both immediately and in the long term will help you not only survive, but thrive in the aftermath of any disaster. Also includes expert tips on must-have equipment to keep on hand as well as many dramatic survival stories"
"'Do not act as if you had ten thousand years to live ... while you have life in you, while you still can, make yourself good.'The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) is a private notebook of philosophical reflections, written by a Roman emperor probably on military campaign in Germany. In short, highly charged comments, Marcus draws on Stoic philosophy to confront challenges that he felt acutely, but whichare also shared by all human beings - the looming presence of death, making sense of one's social role and projects, the moral significance of the universe."
"The Little Prince" was published in 1943 by Antoine de Saint-Exupry. It is a poetic tale in which a pilot is stranded in the desert and meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world. While it looks like a children's book, it targets adult relationships with deep thoughts on how adults perceive life and each other."
Stay safe and healthy!