The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life From a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook by Ellen McCarthy

the real thingEllen McCarthy has written a charming set of lessons about living and enjoying love in her book, The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life From a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook. What intrigued me the most about this book was that McCarthy was a skeptic about the whole wedding business and love when she first began reporting about weddings and even after she married. She sometimes is still skeptical, but feels that working as a wedding reporter has allowed her to find a set of resources, whether those resources are married couples, the notes she’s scribbled down, or the books she has read, that she can utilize to keep her marriage strong and alive. This book serves as a collection of the lessons she believes everyone should be aware of regarding love and life.

McCarthy writes throughout this book that she took her job as a wedding reporter because she wanted to write about people. Sure, she would love to have a Saturday night off to go and hangout with her friends, but once she is sitting and waiting for the ceremony begin, she is immediately thrown into a new beautiful love story and the beginning of a new life together. McCarthy tackles the questions of “How do you know this person is the one?”, “Should we live together before marriage?”, and even “Should I call the wedding off?” McCarthy admits to being far from a marriage and love expert and that is why she augments her written beliefs within this book with multiple interviews from experts, as well as interviews and snapshots into the weddings and lives of the people she has interviewed for her job.

McCarthy has gathered together a multitude of information about how people go about finding love and the life they want. This book is eye-opening for people in all stages of relationships, from single to happily married for years to divorced, and provides help for those who may need a little push to understand the life they are living now.

Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Close, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability by David Owen

green metropolis Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability makes a compelling argument against the anti-urban rhetoric of leaving the city and moving to the country to live a more sustainable, environmentally conscious life. The author, David Owen, outlines for readers why the ideas of living smaller, living closer, and driving less will lead to a more energy efficient and a better human/lifestyle environmental footprint than escaping to the country for open space.

To help solidify his argument, Owen discusses in detail how the current thinking of crowded cities, like New York and Chicago, as nightmares from an ecological standpoint actually misses the entire point of an urban setting. Since people who live an urban lifestyle are essentially living on top of and right next to other people, they are forced to live in smaller spaces and actually consume and use far less than the people who move to the country to spread out. Their per-capita greenhouse gas emissions are overall less than a third of the average Americans. Owen argues that the greenest community in the country is Manhattan and I must admit his argument is very compelling. Urban settings encourage people to rely less heavily on automobiles and more on their own feet, bicycles, or public transportation to get from point A to point B or else they are forced to sit through horribly backed up and congested traffic. It becomes simpler to utilize the public transit system and even walk to work. Owen argues that people spreading throughout the countryside are actually having a greater impact on the environment as they are effectively using up more of the world’s resources than people who live in urban settings.

Pick up David Owen’s Green Metropolis and decide for yourself whether or not living in an urban setting vs. living in a rural setting is a more environmentally stable principle. Owen’s clearly thought out and expressively written arguments must be read in full to understand why he believes living in an asphalt jungle is a greener way to live than leaving the city and spreading your life into the countryside.