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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Eco book roundup

Since I posted this last Saturday, I wanted to bump it up to make sure people got a chance to add their own recommendations and read the ones already submitted...

I've got books coming out of my ears. They are literally piling up on most surfaces of the house: end tables, in the bedroom, pretty much everywhere there's a flat surface. I'm so behind on my reading that it's not even funny. These are all books that I'm either actively reading or mean to read in the short-term.

And then I keep getting more, like the book that I got in the mail today, Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered, which I'm very excited to read (I heard the author on a local NPR show). These are all books sent by publishers and authors, so I am in no way complaining - I totally love it. I am an unabashed book whore extraordinaire.

Anyway, just like the eco cleaner roundup, I wanted to get your input about your favorite environmentally related books (purchased or borrowed from the library or elsewhere). You can give one or more answers if you like in any of the following categories:

1. Organic gardening/permaculture
2. Food or cooking related (slow food, eating local, etc.)
3. Green lifestyle
4. Climate change
5. Peak oil/transition
6. Homemade/homesteading/self-sufficient
7. Frugal living/finances
8. Green economy/politics
9. Simple living
10. Green parenting

Feel free to add what you liked about the book, if you have time, for others to get an idea if this is something they would like to add to their reading list. These roundups are turning into great resources thanks to your input!

26 comments:

Robj98168 said...

I don't read too much into peak oil and the world is coming to an end type books- I prefer to be a Polly Anna or Scarlet O'Hara type on those topics- But I do read: here is what I have read latetly:Organic gardening/permaculture: Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R.J. Rupenthal- I won this in a giveaway on some Eco-Chick's site and wrote areview. I like that it is an easy reading book, is full of great information.

Squarefoot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew- THE BIBLE FOR SPACE INTENSIVE GARDENING. Am on my third edition of this great book for growing food.

Food or cooking related (slow food, eating local, etc.)
The New McDougall Diet Cookbook- I won this from some Vegan-Chile Eatin Chick's McDougal Blog great recipes, great inspiration for cookin meatless and healthy
Green lifestyle: Living Like Ed!- love the man.. love his book. Has great tips on "gathering the low hanging fruit" I did a review on this one also

Presto said...

I would say that the book that has influenced me the most both politically and environmentally is Human Scale by Kirkpatrick Sale. Another good one is A New Covenant with Nature by Richard Heinberg.

My favorite gardening book is The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman.

Eco Yogini said...

Green Lifestyle:
Ecoholic- Adria Vasil. She is funny, informative and a great starter book for anyone who is a skeptic. She also gives the info, with solutions and it's Canadian :)

Eco-Spiritual: The Earth Path- Starhawk. She's just phenomenal.

Bucky said...

In the Peok oil/transition category, the one that got me started was Richard Heinberg's The Party's Over: Oil, War and The Fate of Industrial Societies.

If you want to understand issues surrounding energy, and the reasons why renewables won't be able to replace fossil fuels, this is the place to start.

Alison Kerr said...

Of the permaculture/sustainable agriculture category I have two favorites:
Getting Started in Permaculture, Ross and Jenny Mars I recommend for some great, practical, little projects to get out and do.

Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Molllison I recommend if you want to really start understanding the design aspect of permaculture.

For just plain fun, and interest my favorite recent read is The Earth Moved - on the remarkable achievements of earthworms, Amy Stewart.

Amber said...

I'm afraid my faves aren't very original, but I'll contribute them all the same.

2. Food / cooking - "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Pollan is great, and accessible for those who know nothing about this stuff, as is "The 100 Mile Diet" (called "Plenty" in the US) by Smith and MacKinnon.

7. Frugal living / finances - "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" by Dacyzyn is a wealth of ideas, and "Your Money or Your Life" changed the way I view work and money.

Kelli - Our Local Life said...

Thank you for asking! It's really helpful to hear what's been formative for others. Several of mine have been mentioned, but here are my favorites that haven't been yet:

GARDENING: Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon

FOOD: The Organic Foods Source Book by Elaine Lipson

GREEN LIFESTYLE/GREEN PARENTING/PEAK OIL TRANSITION: Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk

HOMEMADE/SIMPLE LIVING: More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre

GREEN ECONOMY/POLITICS: The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry, Home Economics by Wendell Berry (really, anything by Wendell Berry); Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher

FRUGAL LIVING/FINANCE: Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

Lisa said...

FRUGAL: I second the shout-out (and do it loudly, atop tall things) for Dacyzyn's The Complete Tightwad Gazette which revolutionized the way I think about a lot of stuff. Plus Dacyzyn was eco-conscious back when "green" still just referred to an option in the Crayola box.

EVERYTHING ABOVE & THEN SOME: I can't put down Emery's The Encyclopedia of Country Living which astonishes me because she's packed 'pert near everything into that book that you almost won't believe it.

JessTrev said...

Recently I've read (and really liked): Bottomfeeder and Kitchen Literacy. I love Nourishing Traditions for a take on grassfed meat/milk and a different look at fats. On the list to read: Mary Enig's book on fats, and the Bill McKibben reader.

Bucky said...

JessTrev, McKibben is a great resource.

Thanks to everyone for all the recommendations. There are some new titles and authors that I'm looking forward to reading.

I've been adding books to my library reservations list. Sadly, Houston doesn't carry all the titles. But I'll enjoy what I can get.

Another great post, Crunchabriarian.

TheNormalMiddle said...

Hands down, Animal Vegetable Miracle inspired me to the point of growing my own and doing the CSA. Before that, I was a walmart grocery shopper extroidinaire!

Pollan's books are great too. I figure most your readers already know about these since they are so mainstream but well....I'm just relating my experience!

Green Resolutions said...

I really like Serve God, Save the Planet for inspiration and a look at how all things are interconnected. Not a nuts & bolts type book, though.

thanks for this post. I look forward to reading some of the other books mentioned here.

rachel / no.hunting said...

the new american diet by robbins is an oldie but goodie..

the ethics of what we eat by singer is along the same lines but has more recent info.

wake up and smell the planet by the folks at grist is amusing.

worldchanging by steffen has some interesting bits...

i can't remember the one book that really convinced me that we're all screwed, but when i do, i'll let ya know :)

Kiashu said...

I've long enjoyed The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency.

It's subtitled, "the classic guide for realists and dreamers". That is, it's good for people who actually want to do stuff like grow tomatoes, repair their shoes, or start a smallholding - but it's also good for people just dreaming of that stuff.

Carrick said...

I haven't read too many books on this topic, actually (have been getting everything from awesome blogs like this one :D ), but for #3, there's the classic and my favorite as a kid, 100 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, which really is the first thing that introduced me to saving water and electricity and whatnot.

As for #5, although this isn't about peak oil in particular, I found The Prize, which is basically a history of oil, totally fascinating. I've just read the first chapter or so, but it's just really interesting to learn how this whole debacle we're in right now started. You know, gives you some understanding and perspective.

For frugal living, although I have read books on the topic, my favorite source has been a blog called The Simple Dollar. :)

Chili said...

Peak Oil: Hands downs, Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk. She opened our eyes to SO many routine daily "wastes" that I can't begin to describe how it changed our lives. My hubby and I are more energy conscious, food-spending conscious, spending-conscious, (and saving-conscious),resourcefulness-conscious, and generally aware of the use of petrolum/carbon in products/shipping/etc. Thank you Sharon.

googooww said...

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is what opened up my eyes to this whole situation we're in as a country. It didn't supply much information, howevever, on what changes one could personally make in their home, so I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and In Defense of Food, the sequel by Pollan. These last two books led me to a whole new "slow food" lifestyle.

Rosa said...

One book that I really love is Wild Earth, edited by Tom Butler. It's a collection of articles from my favorite magazine ever, the Earth First!/Wildlands Project's Wild Earth Magazine. I used to give my issues to random nonenvironmentalists when I was done with them, including sullen high school kids at the bus stop (one of whom tracked me down later and thanked me and showed me her rattlesnake tattoo). It's just astonishing and beautiful and imaginative and wonderful.

For everyday use, I love Lorna Sass's book Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. Six days this week our dinner was a Sass recipe.

ruchi said...

Breakthrough by Shellenberger & Nordhaus. Commonwealth by Jeffrey Sachs is probably worth reading as well, though it's important to retain some critical awareness of his ideas if you want to do development. The End of Food by Paul Roberts was good.

A House Called Nut said...

Peter Singer's classic text Animal Liberation finally motivated me to stop eating meat after many years of half-hearted, unsuccessful attempts. It's not strictly an environmental book, but it's so worth reading and does deal with the environmental implications of meat consumption.

And I definitely agree that Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a great all-rounder. It's funny and moving at times, but also has a lot valuable information and recipes too!

When it comes to cookbooks, I adore the folks at Moosewood and couldn't recommend their books (all of them!) enough.

TinTex said...

I'll add to the food book category: Food Matters, a new book by Mark Bittman, a regular in the New York Times Dining section. Not only a good read, but there are a bunch of recipes, many of which translate into really thrifty eating!

Cave-Woman said...

1. The Power of Positive Parenting.

Not necessarily a "green" book, but nonetheless a fabulous resource for anyone who lives with or works with children.

2. The Complete Tightwad Gazette, Amy Dacyczyn. Frugality at its conservation best!
The index in invaluable.

3. Lasagna Gardening.
I'm all for low effort gardening since I have a bad back and this is AWESOME in that arena.

4. The Better World Handbook.
More than just a handbook on responsible green living----this is a lovely little handbook on building community, and truly making the world kinder and better.

5. The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices, by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Some of the information in this book suprised me. I don't agree with everything, but it was eyeopening.

6. It's Easy Being Green.
Cute, charming, easy to follow---a fun primer for someone who wants to take a few baby steps toward greeness, and a challenge to those who want to go a step further into the emerald homestead. (:

7. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

8. Seed Sowing and Saving. This covers every basic thing you'll want to know about vegetable and native plant seed conservation.

9. Simply in Season. A cookbook based around seasonal cooking. Nice. From the same line of thought as the "Less is More" mennonite cookbook.

10. Mother Earth News, of course. (: Not a book, but so worth a look.

11. imaginechildhood.com Also, not a book, but so worth a mention. They have some of the most wonderful children's toys I have ever seen. All natural, play-based, creative and investigative kits, toys, books and games. WONDERFUL.

Angela said...

the ones i was going to mention have already been mentioned, so i'm going to graze the comments for suggestions for ones i haven't read yet!

The Simpleton said...

Lots of my favorites here, but a shout-out to Tony Hemenway's Gaia's Garden for inspiration & homescale permaculture.

Nature Deva said...

I see lots of books I like listed here already but the first book I ever read for learning how to live a sustainable life like the early Americans is Reader's Digest's Back To Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills.

I bought this book in the early 90's and it changed my life, set me on my path and I still have it and refer to it even now. We just got 4 baby chicks 2 weeks ago for a small backyard flock and this was the first place I looked for more info.

It has chapters on everything for living a simple, self-sustainable life incl. growing food, preserving, keeping livestock, skills & crafts (i.e. soapmaking), building a home and even wind, water and solar power.

lexi said...

I'd recommend "The Long Descent" by John Michael Greer for a discussion of Peak Oil and its repercussions. It's very heavy stuff, but he phrases it in a way that's fairly accessible, and talks about skills and strategies that will help us cope with the changes ahead.

For food-related books:
I would second the endorsement of "Plenty" a.k.a. "The Hundred Mile Diet." (I recently had a conversation with a Canadian friend about it... we didn't realize we were talking about the same book!) It's a good read.

Also "The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements" by Sandor Ellix Katz.

And a practical guide: "Food Security for the Faint of Heart" by Robin Wheeler (a basic primer on "keeping your larder full in lean times"- includes tips on gardening, foraging wild foods, preserving foods, disaster preparedness, etc- but told with an irreverent sense of humor which makes it a lot more palatable- pun intended- than most such guides.)

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