In nasty weather like what we're currently experiencing, there is little I like to do more than read. I thought now would be a good time to share some books that have been extremely influential in my life and have, to some degree, made me who I am. While none of these books expressly deal with living a simple or thrifty life, the end result, for me at least, of reading them all did that very thing. I think so highly of these books, that if I had the authority to create a "must read" list for everyone, this would be it. I'm presenting them here in the order I read them.
Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn: This book made me look at "civilization" a whole new way and opened the door for me to start questioning everything "Mother Culture" had taught me my own life. After reading this, I started to feel more free to do things the way I thought was right, regardless of whether society deemed it the norm. Other books along a similar vein also worth the read are the sequels to this, The Story of B and My Ishmael, and Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan.
Betty Crocker Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Cook Today: It was actually an earlier edition for me, but Betty Crocker's big red cookbook is how I learned to cook. The terms used were all described, so I could stumble through a recipe, even before I knew what I was doing. Since then, I've learned so much about what works and what doesn't and what flavors mesh well, that I can make my own recipes. I still turn to Big Red quite a bit though, anytime I have something new I haven't dealt with, or need some fresh inspiration.
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by William and Martha Sears: This book helped me trust my instincts. When my first child was born, I listened to people that I thought new better that said things like "put that baby down" or "you can't sleep with your baby" and I feel that my relationship suffered irreparably because of it. I read this around the time my second child was born and used it to fight off attacks on my parenting. As a result, I have a much stronger relationship with my kids born after I read this book...plus, I learned I didn't need so much baby stuff!
Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work by Mel Bartholomew: This book (and its sequel All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!) got me to quit stalling on starting to produce my own food. Even though I lived in a trailer park, I learned that was no excuse not to grow at least a small garden, since I would be able to grow quite a bit using this technique!
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver: This book strengthened my resolve and gave me the idea that I could do it. I can produce a lot of my own food, even though I don't have a nice set up in Appalachia like she does. And it helped me see the importance of doing what I could to do just that.
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood: I love me a good dystopian novel for some fun, light reading. That's not so much the case with this one though. This book scares me to death! To me, it is so close to the direction that our society is moving, that I fear for our future. To a large part, I see what I'm doing as a rebellion against such a future. I actually enjoyed the sequel, The Year of the Flood, even more, since that was focused on some of the "God's Gardeners" and that's kind of what I see myself as at times.
Speaking of books, don't forget today is the last day to enter to win the books I'm giving away!