Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Favorite Green Living Memoirs

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I am a book person – if you are new around here, you may not realize that, but you will soon if you stick around!  One thing that is a little different about me is that I really enjoy re-reading books.  Not every book, mind you, but I have several favorites that I read on an annual basis, depending on the season.


Now that we are much warmer here in Maine, I am thinking about homesteading and green living books.  My favorites are memoirs about a person’s journey back to the land, and the changes that have happened in their lives because of those changes, whether it be for a short period of time, or a complete life change.  However, I also have a lot of reference books that I refer to this time of year as well – hoping that I will somehow be able to read myself into having a better garden!

Because I have been at a loss recently as to what books to read for my knitting and reading posts I decided it was probably time to revisit some of my old favorites.  And I figured I would share them with you (in no particular order)!

Top 4 Memoir/Journey/Back to the Land type books

The first book I absolutely love is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  This is an amazing book of a family that moved to a farm and decided to eat only what they could grow or get locally for a year.  It is sprinkled with essays from Kingsolver’s husband and daughter, and it is incredibly inspiring to see the work they do on their farm.  There are recipes, and anecdotes, and it is an amazing book, definitely read it!


Next up is The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball.  It is the journey of a city girl who follows the man she loves to a farm, and gives up her life in the city to become a farmer.  It is a great story of trials and local food. 

Then we have No Impact Man by Colin Beavan.  There is a documentary to go with this book, which I also highly recommend.  It is the story of a family in New York City who tries to have a net zero impact on the environment over the course of a year.  This includes shutting off electricity, washing clothes by hand, getting rid of chemical cleaners, only using a bike or walking to get around, only buying food that is grown locally.  It is a really interesting experiment, very thought provoking, and fun to experience through reading the book and watching the documentary.


The last book on my list is Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. McKinnon.  This is a book about a couple who decided to eat only what was grown locally to them – the 100 mile diet.  I believed they coined the 100 mile diet, actually.  Anything they could get within 100 miles of their home, they could eat, but anything farther than that they could not have.  It was interesting to see what was available to them, and what wasn’t, and how they made do without foods they were used to eating whenever they wanted.

It was my love of local food blogs that led me to these books about 8 years ago, and reading them annually continues my desire to eat as locally as possible.  To me, they are motivating.  We do not eat 100% local, it would be incredibly challenging to do so, but these books have encouraged me to try to do as much as I can with our small garden and seeking out local farms and stores.


Have you read any of these books?  Do you have a favorite book that you visit year after year?  

19 comments:

  1. Because you've mentioned it before, I'm re-reading the Little House on the Prairie books on my laptop (which has let me learn how to read and knit at the same time, yay!) and it's fantastic and sad all at once - I'm so tired of being in an apartment in the city, ha!
    I'm thinking I will have to read The Dirty Life, it sounds exactly like the kind of thing that would be enough to say that "nah, I don't think I could do that afterall" and be content with where we are (or, so good to be more than ready to pack up and move, ha!).

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  2. I've read both "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and "The Dirty Life," and loved both, so I will definitely need to give "Plenty" a read. Sounds like it would be right up my alley.

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  3. We are soo not green in our house. Like at all. I wouldn't mind checking out one or even a couple of these books to learn more, though :)

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  4. They all sound interesting. I've wanted to read The Dirty Life for a while.

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  5. We're planning to move from an apartment to house this year and I'm excited to get to try a garden again. I love the idea of eating locally and I'm going to add these to my reading list!

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  6. I'm interested in My Dirty Life -- it sounds so interesting! I'm originally from rural PA where farming and agriculture is a way of life. I sometimes miss the simplicity of it all :)

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  7. I like the idea of the 100 mile diet; I'm sure it cuts down on transportation costs and pollution to keep your diet from local sources. It might be hard to do, though, for some things. It gives me a lot to think about.

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  8. I am intrigued that a family in New York City embarked on such a journey considering they lived in an urban environment. It's wonderful to see so many people trying to do their part.

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  9. I am not a reader, which is sad. I don't like re-watching movies either unless it is something I truly enjoy.

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  10. These sound awesome! I love reading from people who have been able to green their life. I really admire them!

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  11. Love this list. I've never read any of them but I want to. Especially No Impact Man

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  12. Thanks for this list--I am definitely going to check some of these out. I think they will inspire me to think about what I'm buying for my family to eat. I try to buy locally, but I know I could do a better job of it. A nearby farm has started offering farm shares, and I'm thinking about starting that. All those vegetables intimidate me, though!

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  13. I don't think I've heard of any of these books! I do enjoy memoirs though and we're on a quest for greener living so these just may have to be added to my summer reading list.

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  14. I love to re-read books that have stayed with me through the years. I often find bits that I missed or had forgotten about. Love these books you read.

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  15. I love re-reading a good book; it's like picking up with a long-lost friend. I spent time in Germany in high school, and my host family stopped speaking English with me or trying to speak German slowly about 2 weeks in, so I perused the "foreign" book section and found a book in English called The Poisonwood Bible, and devoured it. That was my first book for Barbara Kingsolver's I read, and I am a huge fan of her writing style!

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  16. A Dirty Life is calling my name. We are rethinking our city life and I am all in and hubs needs a push...his work is focused around the entertainment business

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  17. The Dirty Life seems like my kind of book! I love hearing others recommendations, and yours are great!

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  18. I actually never read or heard of any these books, but I do enjoy reading about green living. I'll have to check these out at the library for sure!

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  19. I have not read any of these books but they all sound pretty fantastic!!! We are going on a road trip this weekend so maybe I should read one while on the road!

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