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28 June 2007

Book list

Being the type of person I am I always read about things before I do them, or soon after. When I had my kids, I read everything I could while I was pregnant. Like most of everything else, that reading didn't really prepare me for it - it was more difficult, more tiring, more educational, more heart warming, more inspiring and more wonderful than I ever thought possible, but it did give me a few hints and it made me realise I wasn't alone. That's always a good thing to know.

So when it came to a major life change, I was true to form and went back to the books. That was in the days when I had a credit card just for internet spending and I ran it red hot. When I went looking in Australian book shops there was very little on offer about simple living, so I found myself browsing Amazon.

Before I give you my list of books, I must recommend, again, the Australian Readers Digest book - Back to Basics - ISBN 0 86449 028 3. (I've written about it previously in this blog.) There is an edition on sale on ebay at the moment. This book has information about building, crafts, preserving, growing food, cooking and baking and a lot more. As I have a lot of American readers, here is an American edition as well which is on sale here:

Another book along the same lines and also worth buying is The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book by Carla Emery.

Linda Woodrow's The Permaculture Home Garden ISBN: 0-670-86599-0
If you're looking to create a permaculture garden in your backyard, this is the book for you.

This is the best Australian organic gardening book I've read. This book actually taught me things I didn't know, Easy Organic Gardening and Moon Planting by Lyn Bagnall.

Jackie French's Backyard Self-sufficiency, anther good book with down to earth practical advice. Also available from Green Harvest:

The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs, is not so much a practical guide but a guide to slowing down and reinvention.

Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin will transform the way you think about money. It's a must read!

David Holmgren's Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability, available here on pdf:

Magazines: Warm Earth, Grass Roots and Earth Garden. All available at the newsagent and your local library, I hope.

Not must reads but also very good:
Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living by Robert Arbor

The Chemical Maze by Bill Stratham - your guide to food additives and cosmetic ingredients. ISBN 0 9578535 2 1

The New Herb Bible by Carolyn Foley ISBN: 1 87 5169 92 x
This is a good Australian book on herbs - how to grow, making cosmetics and cooking with them. I can't find a seller in Australia but you might be able to order it at the library.

Not books but worth reading and a good reference guide:

I'd probably
forgotten some but at least this is a start.


  1. I've been doing the same thing, hitting the books. But, I love to read, so it's not much work!! :)

  2. Wow, thank you for this list! I'm trying to build a library like this and am overwhelmed with the vast choice. But lists like these - annotated, tested - are the best!

  3. Thanks for the book list.

  4. Have you read John Seymour's Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency? Over in this part of the world it's often referred to as the bible of self-sufficiency. I enjoy it, very straightforward reading.


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