Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Resurrecting the Better Off Book Club

As you may recall, in the spring I started a book club about the book, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, by Eric Brende. I got one book club post published and another one written (unpublished) with one more remaining. I figure I should finally get off the pot and wipe.

In any case, I'm resurrecting the book club. Yeah! For those of you new to this book, I'm including my original description below. I'll also be reposting the first book club post next Wednesday, with the second one the following week. When I initially polled people, about 170+ were interested. And, even though many of you don't exactly participate in the posts, I figure there are enough silent readers out there who will follow along.

In the meantime, do you ever wish you lived completely off the grid - no electricity, technology, etc.? Do you dream of "going Amish?" So, without further ado (and to give me time to actually go find the book)...



This is a book that I truly enjoyed 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.

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.

14 comments:

Rachel said...

Tom just finished it a couple of days ago and I'm about to start it once I finish Plenty. It looks like a great book.

Angie H-P said...

read it, liked it, blogged about it. http://angiessuburbanoasis.blogspot.com/2011/04/join-better-off-book-club.html

Dani said...

I'll add that to my reading list, even though I don't think I could go off-grid in such a dramatic way. Could you?

Crunchy Chicken said...

Dani - I'd be willing, but I think it would be cause for divorce :)

susan said...

It sounds as if it would make a good magazine article.

WS Gager said...

Everyone should enjoy some "off the grid" time. I'm afraid many people wouldn't know how to grow their own food or even how to survive, including my children. I've had an idea for a book about what happens when the lights go out. Might have to dig it out and work some more on it. This book is nonfiction, right?
Wendy
W.S. Gager on Writing

Crunchy Chicken said...

Wendy - Yes, this is non-fiction. But fictionalized accounts of post peak-oil are quite popular.

Olivia said...

Back in the day when we were back-to-the-landers we, and many of our friends, lived this way. It sounds way more romantic than it really is after awhile. It's back breaking work, really. DH and I still occasionally think about doing it again but we live in a part of the world where winters are long and harsh and in that sort of environment, cabin fever can drive one mad. Cabin fever nearly drives us mad anyway, sometimes, when we are snowed in for days on end and the power is out - or even when it isn't.

It reminds me of Henri Nouwen's observation when the Abbot of a monastery he was staying in told him, as part of his spiritual practice, to haul large stones out of a riverbed and pile them along the bank. Observed Henri, "I realised that I preferred reading about spirituality more than I enjoyed "spiritual practice." I enjoy reading about the lifestyle but doing it - not so much anymore.

Rachel S said...

I just reserved it from kcls. Looks like a great read. Because I haven't said it lately, thank you for creating this blog.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Olivia - So very, very true. It's easy to be an Armchair Amish!

Rachel - You're welcome :)

Lower said...

I love the idea but (well put) it may be the armchair Amish mentality. I did live in an old farmhouse at the end of a dead end road (and ultimately the end of a dead end marriage too but that's another story). But was idyllic. Rolling hills, beautiful views. And old barn. Surrounded by farmland and forest. Bought it in the month of November. When spring came, I stepped outside one day and was trying to figure out what the weird noise was I was hearing. It was acres of flies hatching/buzzing in the ground. It was seriously disgusting. Farmland. But that place did make for a pretty picture, best viewed while sitting comfortably in the armchair. Having said that, I'd read this book.

Jonalynn said...

I loved this book. Since we live very close to the Amish community here in Ohio, it frequently tempts me. I think the simplicity would be great and the time to work together as a family. However, evenings without entertainment and cooking without my KitchenAid bring me back to reality.

Ann Parker said...

Being someone who works in the science and technology field, it's hard for me to imagine living off the grid... I'm sure, in a worldwide disaster, I'd be going down for the count. I also write historical fiction, and I gotta say, I'm mighty glad to live in an age where acute appendicitis or being stabbed with a rusty nail isn't a death warrant! :-}

EvervescenE said...

I personally strive for a balance between technology and living without, and learning to live without should the need arise. I am very interested in this book, as I would love to learn about their real-life experience giving up all the technology I depend on daily. It really is a fantasize I've had since I was a child to go off grid, but I have never done it save for some roughing it camping. Thanks for the great blog and the great book suggestions.

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