Check out my new book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You, available from Amazon.

2012 Silver winner in the Health/Medicine/Nutrition Category of the Independent Publishers Book Awards

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Better Off Book Club

I know I keep yammering on about the book, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, by Eric Brende but I really can't help myself. I truly enjoyed this book and it's one of those that makes you want to start reading it all over again right after you've finished it. And, let me tell you, that rarely happens with me. I have a shitton of books piled up waiting to be read so I generally don't have the time or desire to re-read something.

But, this one is different. It makes me want to share it with people who are of like mind. I'm not talking about people I know in my 'real life' because they'll think I'm a kook. No, I'm talking about you, the readers of this blog. My kooky friends. Because I know the content is up your alley and it hits all the right nerves regarding self-sufficiency, local resilience and community - basically all the things many of us are striving for. In other words, trying to find meaning in a crazy technological and product driven world.

So, I want to propose to you guys a new book club and gauge your interest. Since I've already read the book, doing the posts for me will be a breeze, so I'm prepared to get this going and wrap it up during the month of April. It's a quick read, been out long enough for your local library to have copies of it and, if you don't want to buy a physical copy of it, you can read it on your Mac or PC in the Kindle format.

What the heck is the book about, you ask?
It's about a couple who decides to move to an Amish-like community and live technology-free for 18 months. The community is kind of a cross between the Amish and Mennonites. The author calls them Minimites because they really are much more strict than modern day Amish, using as little technology as possible. The author lives in a house with no running water, electricity (so no fridge) and relies on a wood stove, oil lamps and grows all their own food. They also grow sorghum for making molasses they can sell as well as pumpkins for sale to earn a little money for buying necessities.

Along the way, the wife gets pregnant and delivers their baby using a local midwife (who doesn't own a phone), they sell their car in exchange for a horse and buggy and, generally, they end up living the lifestyle while gaining a greater appreciation for living modestly. I won't completely spill all the beans, but that's the gist of it. What's interesting is how they chose to live after the 18 months are over.

If you are interested in joining the Better Off Book Club, let me know!

41 comments:

koolchicken said...

The Amish are Mennonites.

Crunchy Chicken said...

The author made a distinction between the two. Here's what I've read:

The Amish and Mennonite churches still share the same beliefs concerning baptism, non-resistance, and basic Bible doctrines. They differ in matters of dress, technology, language, form of worship, and interpretation of the Bible.

a Thrifty Mama said...

I'm pretty sure I've checked that book out from the library before, but didn't get a chance to read it before it had to go back. I'm in. Already requested it from the library again!

owlfan said...

I'll go request it from the library now.

Annie Jones said...

Just placed my library request for this book!

Sandy said...

Just ordered my copy! I'm in!

adventuresindinner said...

I'm going to order it right now!

Greenpa said...

Our Amish neighbors and friends call us "AlmostAmish"; since we, hm, let's see... live without running water, off the grid, no fridge, heat 100% with the wood cookstove...

oh, yeah, and speak enough German that they don't feel safe making wise-cracks in "süsse-Dütch", which is what they call their every-day language here.

We do, on the other hand, have cars, solar power, diesel machinery, and DSL...

So when, Crunchy, are you going to finally come and visit? :-)

Jonalynn said...

After seeing this on your blog a few days ago, I immediately requested it from the library and read it in less than 2 days! I only wish they had a blog!! I want to keep up with them now. Great story, well written. I wish I could get my husband to just read it because I keep rambling on about it and he doesn't get it. ;) A book club would be a great place to vent my enthusiasm amoungst people that "get it".

Crunchy Chicken said...

Jonalynn - Exactly! I even managed to entice my husband enough to want to read it, which is very unusual to say the least.

Greenpa - When's a good time to visit and do we need to bring a tent :)

35 people so far... This is going to be a big one!

Josefine said...

I've ordered a copy of the book now!

Adrienne said...

Ooh hey, the library where I work actually has this and it's not checked out! Going to get it off the shelf right now.

lazyhomsteader.com said...

Picked it up at the library today. I was surprised our tiny branch had it - they never have anything I want!

For people ordering the book, check out betterworldbooks.com: Free shipping, recycled library books and you can buy carbon credits to offset the shipping. It's my fav book site. :)

JanesDaddy said...

I bought a used copy from Amazon ($5 incl s&h) which my GF is reading first. I also learned a new word, when Deanna was describing how many books she had piled up waiting to be read. I guess one is never too old to learn ;-0

Greenpa said...

Crunch- May-June and Sept-Oct are my faves. I think there may be a motel somewhere nearby. :-) Or we could dig a soddy quick. One way or another, we could put you up. :-)

Leta said...

I didn't vote because there was no correct option for me- I am currently reading this book. I'm just past them learning that she's pregnant. I'd do a book club, sure.

kshan68 said...

I'm in! Just put a request on it at my library.

Anonymous said...

Count me in! Just ordered it from Amazon. Deb C

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

@koolchicken: The Amish are Anabaptists and so are the various Mennonite groups as well as others. But they do not identify as Mennonites are not part of any Mennonite organization.

Claire said...

The author lives in the metro area where I live. I buy soap from his family. Love the book, recommend it to people.

April32 said...

Just requested it from the library!

Heather said...

I'm in! I just scored a used paperback copy for $4.

Kara said...

I downloaded it to my Kindle right after reading your post yesterday....which is, admittedly, a bit on the ironic side. :) Still, could not put it down, and am about to go pick it up again right now!

Tory said...

I'm in too! Just ordered off Amazon.com should be here Tuesday :)

mairead said...

I'm in too! My 1 cent copy from Amazon should be here soon.

Dmarie said...

seems our library has it...will go tomorrow to get it. love the idea of an online book club, CC!

Prairiemom said...

I went directly from your blog post to amazon and had it on my kindle within 5 minutes. I am 3 chapters in, and am officially to take my own Going Amish challenge. It was something I have thought about doing for a while, and this was the shove I needed. Starting at midnight tonight I am "going Amish" which for me, means unplugging from technology, TV, internet, and Iphone games, for a week, and I am dragging my 3 kids kicking and screaming along with me. I hope it doesn't kill us!

Prairiemom said...

Augh! @ Leta! spoiler alert! LOL

Crunchy Chicken said...

Prairiemom and everyone else - I'm planning on hosting a Challenge at the end of the book club for going "Amish", so stayed tuned for that, too!

Kara said...

Um, I may be out of control: I finished the book two days ago, and spent the last two days researching the non-electric washing machine. AND I JUST BOUGHT ONE! I'm really excited about it. And kind of freaked out. Thanks for the amazing book rec!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Kara - Talk about inspired! I tried to do a low energy weekend and it didn't go as well as I liked, but it's amazing how this book motivates people to try!

Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

of course the wife got pregnant, what else did they have to do?

Kristina said...

I'm in! I just got this book from our library and am already half finished. Can't wait to discuss it and can't wait for the challenge - BRING.IT.ON.

KaitGriffin said...

Count me in! I've been on quite a "green" reading kick lately and just bought an Amish house. This is right up my alley.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the book, but am interested. Also, I am Mennonite, but definitely not Amish. The way you described the difference is accurate. Thanks.
Shannon

Anna Clark (and occasionally Casey Hook) said...

Got it on loan from the library yesterday and already read it all the way through. This book just speaks to everything I know and have learned over the past 3 years. Looking forward to the discussion.

Humble wife said...

I am interested in this...can't wait to see if my small town has this book in the library.

DramaMama said...

Just picked up the book! Hope to get some reading in this weekend =)

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Great read!

Angela said...

Definitely want to be in on this book group. Looking forward to starting the book tonight.

Also, the Amish and Mennonites are distinctly different, although they share a common background (we lived in a rural area for a few years and attended a Mennonite church, although we aren't Mennonites. There are large differences when it comes to embracing technology and modern culture.

Zev said...

I just finished this book. I liked the overall thesis, but found the details to be frustratingly sexist throughout.

Also, to Serenity who said "Of course the wife got pregnant, what else did they have to do?" -- my dad made a similar comment when he found out we'd conceived within about a month of our wedding. He asked, "Couldn't you guys have just gotten a television?" :)

LinkWithin