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Life-Changing Books for Wiser Living

Readers share life-changing books in the quest for wiser living. From homesteading books to natural health books, check out their nominations for the best books for wiser living.

| April/May 2008

  • Books
    From homemade cleaners to financial stability, our readers provided a solid collection of useful, interesting reading suggestions.
    Photo courtesy Getty Images
  • The Encyclopedia of Country Living
    Carla Emery’s The Encyclopedia of Country Living. 
    Photo courtesy Sasquatch Books
  • The Humanure Handbook
    The Humanure Handbook, a guide to composting human waste by Joseph Jenkins.
    Photo courtesy Jenkins Publishing
  • The Four Agreements
    The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
    Photo courtesy Amber-Allen Publishing

  • Books
  • The Encyclopedia of Country Living
  • The Humanure Handbook
  • The Four Agreements

Last winter, we asked you to tell us about your favorite books, the works that have changed your life. You responded enthusiastically, offering up a veritable library of tomes and topics. Here are the winners, the most useful and inspiring life-changing books to consider for your wiser living bookshelf. Happy reading! — MOTHER

The Encyclopedia for Successful Homesteading 

While living in suburban Virginia, my husband and I read all we could about farms, gardens and livestock. The Nearings, “Brother” Salatin and other writers spoke to us. We amazed our friends and neighbors with successes in gardening, canning, goats and chickens on our “backyard” farm.

“Were you raised on a farm?” we were often asked. “No, but we do a lot of reading.”

We ultimately took the plunge and left Virginia for 80 acres of farmland in Missouri. Since April 2006, our goat herd has increased, and we have added a guard llama and Dexter calves. Our farmstead library has also grown accordingly.

The one book that I hold above all others is Carla Emery’s The Encyclopedia of Country Living. I have yet to find a piece of information in it that has steered me wrong. My only regret is that I never wrote to Carla to thank her for such dedicated work, but I feel that every time I open the book a part of her lives on.

Mary Jane Phifer
Mansfield, Missouri 

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