Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Personal Book List

When I started this project (avoiding discomfort and death from Peak Oil while helping preserve our future), I was a total novice. Yes, I was interested in environmental issues and had watched my parents garden as a kid. Yes, I had been striving towards financial independence for five years. Other than that, I had never really gardened, never planted a fruit tree, and definitely never heard of permaculture or solar ovens.

Here are some of the books that have helped me the most in making this transition to preparing for a lower-energy lifestyle:


Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

A unified theory of everything :).

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann

The original Peak Oil book, from an environmentalist's perspective.

Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Fascinating to read, she moves to Tennessee and starts gardening and eating locally. A book to give family members who are environmentalists ready to move to the next step.

Reinventing Collapse by Dmitry Orlov

From the man who witnessed the Soviet collapse, commentary on the impending American collapse. Cutting wit and occasional laugh-out-loud funny.

World Made by Hand by James H. Kunstler

A fiction book that helps us visualize future living arrangements and social organization. So it doesn't have any inspiring female characters, nothing's perfect.

Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway

Wonderful book of permaculture possibilities for small landscapes and gardens.

Getting Started

Designing and Maintaining your Edible Landscape Naturally by Robert Kourik

A treasure trove of information on permaculture techniques and edible landscaping.

Gardening when it counts by Steve Solomon

A different take than some of the gardening classics.

Crisis Preparedness Handbook by Jack Spigarelli

Great info on storing food. I'm not sure, he may be a conservative (lol).

Great Gardening Companions by Sally Cunningham

A fun book on planting flowers and herbs with your veggies.

Fruits and Berries for the Home Garden by Lewis Hill

Get some perennials in your garden!

Cooking with Sunshine by Lorraine Anderson

Not strictly necessary if you have a professionally built sun oven, but still interesting and inspiring all the same. Never made a quiche before I got this book.

When Technology Fails by Matthew Stein

Lots of miscellaneous information.


Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

The most useful financial book I've ever read - the original that all the Automatic Millionaire and Dave Ramsey's are based on.

Books that Have Useful Skills that I have not yet learned

The Humanure Handbook by Joseph Jenkins

I know you think it's gross. But in time we will have to deal with what to do with our waste products.

Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel

When I actually have roots to store, I will turn to this book.

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz

Looking forward to starting to use this one! How to / Recipes for every type of fermented product, from kimchi, to yoghurt, to beer and wine.

Seed to Seed

Saving seed. I still think it's complicated.

1 comment:

AK said...

Great book list and thanks for sharing your terrifically practical journey to self-reliance especially the lists. I have read two thirds of these books. I would add The Long Descent by John Michael Greer to balance out Dimitry Orlov's rather rapid descent vision much as I love his wit and sense of irony, while Kunstler I abhore except for his first book Geography of Nowhere. I just got Sharon Astyk's new book and am enjoying her feminist perspective. (She led me to your blog.)

For intensive gardening I like John Jeavons' How To Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine because double digging is still faster than permaculture. In our dry summers Create An Oasis With Greywater by Art Ludwig is useful in a similar nuts and bolts way as well as Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands by Brad Lancaster.

For making your own non-toxic cleaning solutions, body care products and a host of other useful homemade products including paint and caulking, Better Basics For The Home by Annie Berthold-Bond is terrific. I've also enjoyed The Tightwad Gazette series by Amy Dacyczn for great tips on all things frugal.

I also like to use my solar oven (homemade cardboard one) for anything involving melting wax like making firestarters with old candles. It's much safer.