"Wake Up and Smell the Planet: The Non-Pompous, Non-Preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day" edited by Brangien Davis with Katharine Wroth...

“Wake Up and Smell the Planet: The Non-Pompous, Non-Preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day”

edited by Brangien Davis with Katharine Wroth

Skipstone, $14.95

This is our kind of book. It’s small and nonthreatening. Plus, there’s a guy in his undies on the cover.

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What? You need more?

Well … as it turns out, the guide’s actual guidance is relevant, hip and chockfull of witty word play (which we newspaper types especially dig).

We also dig a simple premise. In this case: How does a “green” wannabe make the eco-friendliest choices throughout a typical day, from shower vs. bath to cremation vs. burial? (OK, maybe that’s not a typical nighttime concern, but try thinking of it metaphorically.)

Using reader input from Seattle-based Grist.org, the eco-site’s editors have pulled together a groovy green heap o’ advice for working, working out, eating, shopping, commuting, raising kids, raising pets — basically, for life.

There are no fancy four-color photo spreads (though there is a special “Consumption Centerfold”), but funky orange accents and fun sidebars add dimension — and even more attitude — to the clever text.

Some of the topics will be familiar (compost=good); some maybe not so (PVC in sex toys?). Which reminds us: Even green people swear.

Yep, it’s a grown-up book. And we grown-ups could learn a lot from it.

“The Artful Home: Using Art & Craft to Create Living Spaces You’ll Love”

by Toni Sikes

Lark Books, $24.95

Even if you don’t live in a tent, your home is your canvas. Think like an artist, then, and your home could become a Monet masterpiece. Or, in our case, Jackson Pollack on a really bad day.

The idea of the artful home, Toni Sikes says, is not to mimic a museum, but to create a space filled with “objects of our lives” — beautiful things that matter to us and reflect who we are. Other than cats.

Sikes suggests we use the basic concepts of interior design — color, composition, form, texture, pattern and materials — to transform our homes.

Then, after a primer on those and a guide to figuring out just what our own style is, she shows us oodles of examples … of someone else’s style.

We get lots of specifics, including small, focused “vignettes” (a grouped chair, painting and rug, for example); display spaces (delicate glass in windowsills); and advice on arranging artwork, styling floors and walls, and using neutral colors, then a room-by-room tour of artfulness in action.

We also get to admire lots of Seattle art among the pages — from Larry Halvorsen Ceramics and Cypiot Designs, for example — which is especially encouraging if you actually need to buy some beautiful objects before you can display them.

It’s a very pretty book, and the entries from her personal art journal are a nice touch, but much of the advice seems familiar. But then, art sometimes does that.

Sandy Dunham,Seattle Times desk editor