Hobbies and pastimes come in all shapes and sizes from soap making, and living a self-sufficient lifestyle to improving your brain function. These books show you how.
1/ 399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young by Nancy Linde (Workman, $23.95)
Keeping fit and young doesn’t just mean doing endless push-ups. Working your brain is important too. With puzzles, trivia, and games, this book helps boost cognitive functions such as long-term memory and attention to detail. Although some trivia skews toward an older crowd (What is the 1960s anti-war musical question?), with largely American references, the book is ideal for parties, family-game nights or just as a solitary leisure activity.
2/ Pure Soapmaking by Anne-Marie Faiola (Storey, $29.95)
This is a fun, beautifully photographed book that will inspire anyone who wants to turn to soap making for environmental, health or recreational reasons. Not only is the soap making process broken down into easy-to-follow steps, but the primary ingredients are given due consideration. Playful soap recipes containing everything from champagne and alkanet root to potato and spirulina and fun techniques to make your soap even more eye-catching round out this delightful book.
3/ Step-By-Step Projects for Self-Sufficiency: Grow Edibles, Raise Animals, Live Off The Grid, Do It Yourself by the Editors of Cool Springs Press (Quarto, $39)
Perhaps you want a greater connection to Mother Nature, or you’re looking for a new hobby, or want to try something new around the house. This book is not just for back-to-the-land environmentalists. Instead, it provides solid, step-by-step guides, photos and measurements for build-it-yourself projects. Great for those with a penchant and the tools for hands-on wood working, novices may struggle with the more complicated projects like the cider press, pole barn and manual laundry washer. The truly committed will find lots of practical information on realizing the self-sufficiency dream.
This original book article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.