Must Read Books

Reader Contribution by Kyle Chandler-Isacksen

Our little urban homestead has been buzzing with activity over the last several weeks and finding time to write has been challenging. We welcomed a new young “French Silver” rabbit buck and a young “American Blue” doe from some new friends to improve our stock, three more piglets from a great local family, three ducks (a friend dropped them off somewhat unexpectedly), and one short-term “intern” who is looking to learn more about what we do so he can create a similar project in his hometown of nearby Carson City. We have also been busy helping our neighbors and fellow community members with several projects as they prepare for colder weather. To thoughtfully rehabilitate our dilapidated houses, what they’re in the thick of right now and what we spent much of our first year on, takes time and lots of creative thinking. We are also welcoming another friend with mad Permaculture skills into our home this week. He’ll be a boon to the ‘hood’ for sure but with him comes some more cleaning, organizing, and preparing. Alas, the writing must wait. So, I will postpone “Urban Meat, Part III” to a later date and share some books that have been influential in shaping our lives and that we highly recommend to anyone looking to change theirs.

Radical Simplicity by Jim Merkel

He brings it all together with great tools, a compelling personal story, and the rationale behind it all.

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

Powerfully changed our relationship to money and therefore to how we spend our time

Ishmael or “The Story of B” by Daniel Quinn

Quinn has the rare ability to see the dominant cultural paradigm from afar thus enabling us to critically evaluate what the heck we’re doing on a broad scale. 

The Hand-Sculpted House by Ianto Evans, Michael Smith, and Linda Smiley

The “Bible” of natural building. Ianto’s section is packed with so much common-sense building philosophy and appropriate design principles that it will have you yearning to live in a cob hut halfway through. 

Walden Two by B.F. Skinner

Intriguing ideas for intentional living from the famous Behavioral Psychologist. I don’t agree with all he says but his take on a Utopian village is thought provoking  It was also published just after the atomic bombs were dropped. 

The Story of my Experiments with Truth Gandhi’s Autobiography

It’s all an experiment!  It’s OK to fail and try again!  Full effort is full victory!

The Catholic Radical newsletter from the St. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker in Boston

In addition to living their truth with a hospitality house dedicated to serving the needy, being social and political activists for decades, and raising their children, these folks put out an insightful newsletter that connects current events with timeless wisdom six times a year. 

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander et al

He has taken our hardwiring for what feels right in villages and cities, homes and spaces, and put it into words. I read about the ideal width for outdoor tile spacing, bed nooks, small view windows and so on and nod my head in agreement as my soul shouts “Yes!”

Photo by Fotolia/Maglara

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