Reading List

Save for some gaps in my memory, the books I’ve read since October, 2010:

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, Edward Abbey
A celebration of the beauty of living in a harsh and hostile land.
The first book I read of Abbey’s ten years ago and one of his best. A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us–like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness–that “out there” is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men and sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone s marvelous then all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, able to see and touch and hear in the midst of tangible and mysterious things-in-themselves, is the most strange and daring of adventures. (9/2012)

The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Like a band-aid, it’s best to just get it done with. I read it in three days–chilling, beautiful, encapsulating and terrifying. (9/2012)

Sailing Alone Around the World, Joshua Slocum
Joshua Slocum’s telling of how he single-handedly sailed around the world in three years, two months and two days on his hand-built sloop the spray. Truly excellent and a must read for anyone who loves to sail. (9/2012)

The Loving Spirit, Daphne Du Marnier
A work of fiction which first tells the story of Janet Combes, a woman raised in a small Cornish town on the seaside in the 1800’s who wishes she were born a man so that she could sail the seas of the world instead of settle down as a homemaker and then the story of the three generations that follow her.

The Golden Spruce, John Vaillant
A true story combining the chronology of logging in British Columbia, the history of the Haida peoples indigenous to the Charlotte Islands and one man, Grant Hadwin’s, transformation from a logger into a man passionately fighting against logging and civilization as we know it today. “Perhaps a truer indication of mental illness can be found in the far more common tendency to passively accept the abuse of the very systems the keep us alive.” The author’s opinion after one psychologist diagnosis Hadwin with “very overvalued ideas about the environment and fighting the establishment.” A good read and much recommended. (8/2012)

The End of the Line, Charles Clover
Charled Clover and Derick Jensen ought to be friends–they can bond over their obsession with fish and share a much needed editor. That said, I did learn quite a bit about commercial fishing and fish farming though, my advice if you pick up this book–skip to the final chapter, it’s all you really need to know. (8/2012)

My Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Diddion
I was expecting something more seeing as there’s considerable hype around this book, but it is what it is–one privileged woman’s timeline of how she coped the year after her husband died. (7/2012)

The Edible Woman, Margarette Atwood
While almost done, I stopped reading it. Margarette Atwood is just not for me. (7/2012)

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelters, Lloyd Kahn
Simply the best at prompting hours of daydreaming about the tiny little house I’m going to grow old in. Perhaps a tugboat, treehouse, tiny little cabin in the woods with lofted bed or houseboat with floating garden rigged with a pulley system. (6/2012)

Gaia’s Garden, Tony Hemenway
Great book on permaculture for your home garden. (5/2012)

The Garden Book for Wisconsin, Melinda Myers

Month by Month Gardening in Wisconsin, Melinda Myers

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century, Dick & James Strawbridge

The Garden Book, John Brooks

The Dawn, Octavia Butler
The first sci-fi I’ve read. A quick, entertaining read but also really simple which made me set aside the thought of reading the rest of the trilogy. (5/2012)

Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins
One week, all three books. So good. The movie, however, not so much. (4/2012)

Lighthousekeeping, Jeanette Winterson
Such a magical little gem of a book–my favorite in fact! It’s about this odd orphan girl and the even odder lighthousekeeper that is charged with looking after her and their ponderings over the depth of friendship and life. (4/2012)

The Warriors of the Rainbow, Robert Hunter
Written by one of the founders of Greenpeace, it’s a real thriller while also inspiring and really interesting. (4/2012)

Art & Lies, Jeanette Winterson
The book that got me into Jeanette Winterson. The perspective of a girl told through various philosophers’ lenses. (3/2012)

Best American Short Stories 2001, edited by Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver makes an interesting observation in the introduction that Americans ought to really love short stories given our short attention spans. It often takes me awhile to get into a story and as a result, short stories are just not for me. (3/2012)

A Cabin in the Woods
An auto-biography of a woman who gets divorced, quits her job, moves to the Adirondack mountains and builds herself a one room cabin on the shore of a small lake. (12/2011)

Life in the Treetops: Adventures of a Woman in Field Biology, Meg Lowman
Meg Lowman not only describes the work she does researching the canopy of rainforests throughout the world but also various techniques she developed to ascend into trees and what it has been like for her being a woman in her field. (12/2011)

Freedom, Jonathan Franzen
Despite hating this book, I did manage to finish it. After trying to read The Robber Bride by Margarette Atwood and also hating it (though this time I stopped reading it), I’ve learned that I have no desire to read books about lives I have no interest in leading myself–or at least about pitiful, depressed, jealous types. (12/2011)

The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Simple amazing. On par with John Steinbeck’s East of Eden! (11/2011)

Blue Highways, William Heat Moon
It was okay though I know people who go on better adventures and are better writers. The plus was that this book was read out loud to me and there are few better past times than reading out loud. (11/2011)

Flaming Arrows, Rod Coranado
Totally inspiring book with each chapter outlining a different action Rob helped with throughout the years. (10/2011)

Payne Hollow, Harlan Hubbard
I want to live the lives of Harlan and Anne Hubbard–first float down the rivers on a shanty boat and then build a small little cabin in the woods to grow old with my partern in. Dreamy. (10/2011)

What We Leave Behind, Derick Jensen
The last Derick Jensen book I will attempt to read. He fooled me into thinking this one would be difference, but alas all of his books are the same. (8/2011)

Zapatista Spring, Ramor Ryan
Really great book about a working in solidarity building water systems with Zapatista communities. (7/2012)

Farm Together Now
Really great book with brilliant pictures and lots of good stories taken from across the spectrum of people growing their own food and helping to encourage local food economies. (6/2011)

Belonging: A Culture of Place, bell hooks
I struggled to read this one, perhaps because I was so much yearning to get out from Milwaukee and have an adventure. I’ll have give it a second go one of these days. (5/2012)

Putting Up: A Year-Round Guide to Canning in the Southern Tradition, Steve Dowdney
An interesting read but I’m not so fond of the recipes–a lot more sugar and vinegar than I’d like but he does have really good step-by-step instructions for the beginning canner. The strawberry preserves I made were awesome (and sweet!). (5/2012)

We Sure Can, Sarah B Hood
A classy little book with lots of beautiful pictures and unique canning recipes (with less sugar!) about how jams and pickles are reviving the lure and lore of local food. (5/2012)

All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
The first Cormac McCarthy book I’ve read and I absolutely loved it! Can’t wait to read The Road next. (3/2011)

Healing with Whole Foods
One of the best reference books on nutrition and nutritional healing there is. I pretty much read the whole thing like a text book when I got it and continue to reference often. (2/2011)

Papillion, Henry Charrière
Best adventure book ever! It’s about a man convicted of heinous crimes who’s sentenced to prison on various French islands and his incredible escapes. (1/2011)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver
Shortly after reading this book I made a New Years resolution to incorporate something that I grew into each meal I made at home and was successful until the fall when I started sailing to Florida. (12/2010)

Wild Fermentation, Jonathan Katz
Raw sauerkraut and kimchi. Yes!!! (12/2010)

Sex At Dawn, Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jethá
To sum it up, the book makes the case that to live a longer, healthier life one should eat less, sleep more and have sex more often and with more partners. When I finished reading it, I wrote about it here: The Order to Get Meat. (11/2010)

Abbey’s Road, Edward Abbey
My favorite Edward Abbey book to date. In his introduction to the book he writes a passage that has resonated volumes with me since: “We write in order to share, for one thing–to share ideas, discoveries, emotions. Alone, we are close to nothing. In prolonged solitude, as I’ve discovered, we come very close to nothingness. Too close for comfort. Through the art of language, most inevitable of the arts–for what is more basic to our humanity than language?–we communicate to others what would be intolerable to bear alone.”  (11/2010)


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