CRRL Picks: Let's Chuck it All and Move to the Country
Annotation:On the day she first visited, a cloud in the shape of a bird hung in the evening sky. Proulx also saw pelicans, bald eagles, golden eagles, great blue herons, ravens, scores of bluebirds, harriers, kestrels, elk, deer and a dozen antelope.
Annotation:The story of (Shah's) family’s move from the gray skies of London to the sun-drenched city of Casablanca, where Islamic tradition and African folklore converge–and nothing is as easy as it seems….
Annotation:Living in a ramshackle Wisconsin farmhouse — faced with thirty-seven acres of fallen fences and overgrown fields, and informed by his pregnant wife that she intends to deliver their baby at home — Michael Perry plumbs his unorthodox childhood for clues to how to proceed as a farmer, a husband, and a father.
Annotation:Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure. But she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed.
Annotation:Betty MacDonald...was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children.
Annotation:Jeanne Marie Laskas had a dream of fleeing her otherwise happy urban life for fresh air and open space — a dream she would discover was about something more than that. But she never expected her fantasy to come true — until a summer afternoon’s drive in the country.
Annotation:"Our house," writes Jackson, "is old, noisy, and full. When we moved into it we had two children and about five thousand books; I expect that when we finally overflow and move out again we will have perhaps twenty children and easily half a million books."
Annotation:An inspiring true story about losing your place, finding your purpose, and building a community one book at a time.
Annotation:Starting off...with a desk job and a city apartment, Woginrich set out to build a more self-sufficient lifestyle by learning homesteading skills. She didn't own land or have much practical experience beyond a few forays into knitting and soap making, but she did have a strong desire to opt out of what she saw as a consumer-driven culture.
Annotation:For seven months, Manny Howard—a lifelong urbanite—woke up every morning and ventured into his eight-hundred-square-foot backyard to maintain the first farm in Flatbush, Brooklyn, in generations. His goal was simple: to subsist on what he could produce on this farm, and only this farm, for at least a month.
Annotation:When Spring Warren told her husband and two teenage boys that she wanted to grow 75 percent of all the food they consumed for one year—and that she wanted to do it in their yard—they told her she was crazy. She did it anyway.
Annotation:Armed with the writings of Thomas Merton and his two faithful Labradors, Katz trades in his suburban carpool-driving and escapes to the mountains of upstate New York. There...he restores a dilapidated cabin, learns self-reliance in a lightning storm, shares a bottle of Glenlivet with unexpected ghosts, and helps a friend prepare for fatherhood.
Annotation:Jessie Knadler was a New York City girl, through and through. Circling the drain both personally and professionally, Jessie definitely wouldn't have described herself as "happy"; more like caustically content. Then one day, she was assigned a story about an annual rodeo in the badlands of Eastern Montana.
Annotation:A literary couple who met as students at Harvard and moved from the fast lane in Los Angeles to take over a family orchard in southwestern Virginia, Simple Living is the story of their decision to put more meaning into their lives while eliminating unnecessary debt and superfluous consumption, as well as lessening their environmental footprint.
Annotation:Gussow lives in a home not unlike the average home in a neighborhood that is, more or less, typically suburban. She is a suburbanite with a green thumb, with a feisty, defiant spirit and a relentlessly positive outlook.
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If you've ever thought about living a simpler life, getting back to nature, maybe raising something living (heirloom tomatoes? chickens? children?), then check out the titles on this list. Whether they are inspiration or cautionary tale is up to you.