DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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25 October 2012

Hot topics - the books you are reading

There is a wonderful giveaway prize of Amish dolls clothes and a book here. Hurry, it closes today.


I've had an unusually large number of people ask me what I've been reading lately. Well, apart from the obvious, in the past two months I've finished The Contented Chook, The New Home Larder, and Annie's Garden to Table, this last book was sent to me by the lovely Anne (calico ann) at the D2E forum. I'm now reading A Year of Slow Food. There was a time, pre-babies, when I read about three books a week. Now I read a book a month and sometimes not even that. I'm always going back to my core group of books though. These include The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John Seymour, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, The Thrifty Kitchen by Suzanne Gbbs and Kate Gibbs and Real Food by Matthew Evans. 


The Contented Chook is an ABC book published by Harper Collins. This was sent to us by a lovely man, Ted Dobbs, who we met in Toowoomba. Ted owns the Dymocks book shop there and originally asked me to take my pick of books in his store, then posted this book out to Hanno. Thanks again Ted! It started out as a feature in Gardening Australia magazine when they had a feature asking readers to send in photos of their chook houses. There are about 60 photos of chook houses around the nation but also a good guide to the various chook breeds available in Australia, and much more. The section on looking after your chooks is excellent.


The New Home Larder by New Eden Books is a British book in two parts. Part one is how to stock and maintain a larder and part two is all recipes. It would be a good book for a young homemaker but I didn't find much in there that was new.


Annie's Garden to Table by Annie Smithers is an Australian book published by Lantern, an inprint of Penguin. Annie is a women who has worked as a chef and transferred that knowledge and passion to her own farm. It's a seasonal book, going through a series of recipes month by month. I don't think seasonal books work well in Australia because our country is so big, there is no one size fits all here. Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book a lot. It highlights the importance of fresh local food and quality ingredients. The recipes and writing are good and there are delightful diary entries such as 31 May ~ Finding pleasure in patience.


My last book, the one I'm about to start, is A Year of Slow Food by David and Gerda Foster. This is an old book, published by Duffy and Snellgrove in 2001. It was sent to me by my good friend Kathleen who has just finished reading it. She loved it so I'm looking forward to it very much. It's the story of a family with eight children who, 25 years ago, moved to the Southern Highlands of New South Wales to become productive and self reliant. They taught themselves to milk cows and grow enough food to feed themselves - all while renovating a derelict house to live in. It sounds like my kind of book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

What have you read lately that you recommend?

26 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda,

    I'm re-reading an excellent book about Permaculture called Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway. I LOVE it. It's the kind of book that you can read many times over and always glean new information from it.

    I just finished an excellent book about natural farming called One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka. Very interesting reading.

    Additionally, I've been intrigued by the work of Paul Stamets and have been watching videos and reading articles about his findings that demonstrate how mushrooms heal contaminated landscapes. l have his book Mycelium Running on request so that will be up next on the night stand!

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    1. Hi Sherri, I loved Gaia's Garden too. I've read about the Fukuoka book but haven't read it yet. He has been very influential.

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  2. Oh my.. I would really, really say: Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel. Can't even express what this books means to me, even though it is written in english ;o)

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  3. I've been reading Food and Development by EMYoung. A uni book I think but I picked it up out of interest. A heavy read about the relationship between food and development. Looks at such things as malnutrition and overnutrition,food production methods, social dislocation and loss of biodiversity. Did I tell you it was heavy!

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    1. Hi Kate, that book sounds very interesting. I remember reading a book long ago about how food has fashioned our world - influencing wars, politics, economics and a wide range of other things.

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  4. Hi Rhonda, those books sound like the type I'd love to keep on my bedside. I have heaps of books like these on gardening, cooking, and permaculture that I keep close at hand and keep revisiting whenever I'm trying something new or just looking for inspiration. At the moment I'm reading "you can heal your life" by Louise Hay. I've read it before but I've hurt my back recently and have found myself cranky and miserable all too often of late. This book just reminds me that we should all be grateful for the good things in our lives, and how important it is to shift your focus from the negatives to the positives. It certainly makes for a brighter outlook.

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  5. Rhonda I am sure you will love "A Year of Slow Food" I found it many years ago and it is a favourite. I have just finished "Art Life and Chooks" by Annette Hughes. She lives not far North of you. I thoroughly enjoyed it from my local library. I also dip regularly into Matthew Evan's "Real Food" . I will be looking out for "Annie's Garden to Table"

    Helen

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    1. Hello Helen, I know Annette. I met her through my involvement with the literary festival at Noosa. She helped organise it. I'll see if I can find her book at the library.

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  6. I've been into blogs and books about canning. Recently I read The Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chesman and The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich. I especially liked the last one as I like to make jams without added pectin and her recipes don't use it.

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  7. I have been given a lot of books from a friends clear out I should be right for reading for a while now but have not had time check them out yet.
    Merle...

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  8. I recently borrowed "Vertical vegetables & fruit : creative gardening techniques for growing up in small spaces" by Rhonda Massingham Hart from my local library. It had some great ideas for maximising space in a small garden and I really liked the illustrations (much clearer than some of the dodgy photos you get in gardening books).

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  9. i read a year of slow food- borrowed from my local library last year- it was very inspiring!

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  10. Rhonda, you will love the David Foster book. I bought it when it first came out and have read it several times. I was just talking to my daughter about it yesterday actually.

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  11. I've downloaded 'Nourishing Traditions' only this week to my iPad...just waiting for some time to read it!

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    1. I have been reading "Nourishing Traditions" and it is chock full of information, the author is changing my mind about some things, and affirming me concerning some things I was doing. A very helpful health book.

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  12. As usual I have several on the go. The list goes;

    - "Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America" by Nick Rosen
    - "In Defence of Food" by Michael Pollan
    - "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer
    - "Letter on Happiness" by Epicurus; and
    - "Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania's Forests" by Anna Krien

    I might add that I tend to drift in and out of each title as my mood desires.

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  13. How lovely to hear about some new reading material - I always have my library request page open and then can request books as I hear about them - gosh I love technology!

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  14. We seem to share similar taste in books (not surprisingly). I've LOVED Matthew Evans' lates (allong with his mates) called Deli. It covers how to make ham, corned beef and bacon, yoghurt, fresh cheese, pickles, ferments and other deli type things. It'll be at the front of my shelf for many years to come.

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  15. Hi Rhonda, A year of slow food, my favourite! It was the first book I ever read on slow living and self sufficiency, I was hooked from there on! I love it, its a very easy book to read and I love the seasonal recipes at the end of each chapter.(I was actually introduced to it by Jacki). It's one very inspiring story. It was a huge influence that started me on my journey, It all just makes so much sense. I was reading it about the same time I started my blog too. I hope to be back on that path again soon, my heart aches for a new green patch everyday. My young family is taking up soooo much of my time at the moment, especially Miss Laura so I think now that it was a very good time for us to move. Hopefully by the time we get a new property and back on track the children will not be as dependent and I can get back into cheese making, soap making, vegetable growing, oh and my chooks, I miss my fresh eggs, plus all the other things I am yet to tick of my list, sausage making, smoke house, milking cow....
    You should see the smile on my face right now as I dream and imagine the life that hopefully lies not too far ahead of us again.... :)
    Enjoy your read!
    Karen xoxo

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  16. Hi Rhonda,

    At the moment I have River Cottage Everyday, Stephanie Alexander's Kids Kitchen Garden Cooking, A book woth baby and Maternity patterns and I am currently waiting for Simon's Bryant's new book Vegie's. Simon Bryant used to be on the Cook and the Chef (ABC) in is a passionate about local homegrown food and animal rights so really looking forward to that one.

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  17. I have Slow Food, and agree it's wonderful! It even slowed down my mind and adrenaline driven daily life at the time. I should read it again.
    At the moment I am re-reading Linda Cockburn's "Living the Good Life". I read it years ago and bought extra copies for like minded friends because it had such an impact on me. I felt the time was ripe to read it again, and in between the laughter and angst, I am once more inspired not to give up my dream to have a place of our own and a plot to plant.

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  18. Oh - another thought provoking author is Vandana Shiva. I just received one of her books on inter library loan.

    Earth Democracy, Justice, Sustainability and Peace

    So far, a good read. I saw her interviewed on tv recently and I was really struck by her eloquence and knowledge about globalization and the effect on the environment, our food and culture and human rights.

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  19. Oh I love your list of books I opted out of knowledge reading this week and am enjoying a 1926 copy of The Story of Peter Pan that I picked up at a bazaar, I love to live in my childhood sometimes. Everyone needs to do that once in awhile.Don't you think?
    I will be checking out your book list though I am on page 54 right now:) B

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  20. Thank you for your reading list, Rhonda. I don't have a lot of time to read, but I do enjoy the types of books you mentioned. I have been thumbing through my cookbooks recently, looking for new recipes and finding some old favorites, too. I really like the More With Less Cookbook. Lots of good, basic recipes in there.

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    1. More With Less is a favorite of mine too :) - I've worn out one copy and given away several as shower or wedding gifts. I'm also enjoying now Mennonite Girls Can Cook, a compilation of recipes from the blog of the same name - lots of good sensible well-tried recipes from some excellent home cooks.

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  21. Thanks for your suggestions, Rhonda, and for the others who responded - lots to check out there. Right now I'm reading The Garden Cottage Diaries: My Year in the Eighteenth Century, by Fiona J. Houston. She's a Scottish historian who spent a whole year living similarly to her rural ancestors in a period cottage on her property. A fascinating glimpse into a different era by a careful researcher and writer - illlustrated with lots of photographs, journal entries, recipes and historic line-drawings.

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