Here are some books that I’ve read that have in some way influenced me towards the life I lead, or is in some way relevant to this blog. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any book recommendations as well! (Note: the links have affiliate tags, so if you click on the links here and buy something, I’ll get a tiny cut. However, this is not an endorsement of Amazon. In fact, I encourage you to support local bookstores if that is an option.)
Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology (P.S.)
This was one of the first books I read in my adulthood that opened my eyes to an alternative (simpler) life in the modern age. It was instrumental in stirring up a desire to live closer to nature.
My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)
A classic children’s book about a boy who runs off into the mountains and lives off the land. This was my favorite book as a child, and it obviously made a lasting impression…
The Last American Man
About a man who learned to live in the wild at a young age, then builds a business teaching survival skills. I enjoyed Gilbert’s style, which is accessible and rich. She paints the portrait of a man who appears idyllic on the surface, yet is also deeply flawed.
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work
A book that questions the modern preference for intellectual “white-collar” work over hands-on “blue collar” work. It makes a strong case for both the intrinsic and extrinsic value of working with ones’ hands.
Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream
A book profiling an elderly physician who decides to live in an off-grid 12×12 cabin, interspersed with the author’s experiences as he takes up temporary residence in said cabin.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Acclaimed novelist Barbara Kingsolver chronicles her family’s attempt to spend a year living solely off of food grown in their own homestead, or in farms nearby. An entertaining and informative take on food production and culture.
Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing
An actual doctor explores and examines modern health “myths” that have received little attention from the mainstream academy. She finds scientists that are working to answer questions like “Why are kids raised on farms quantifiably healthier?” or “What is the link between a mother’s diet during pregnancy and her child’s eating habits?” or “Does aromatherapy work?” A fascinating read if you’re like me and like to see new-agey claims backed by science.
Into the Wild
A book (and movie) people mentioned most frequently when I talked about my experiences of running off into the woods, especially in the early days. The tragic story of a kid who runs off into the Alaskan wilderness…
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
An examination of how communities reacted in response to disaster, with a specific emphasis on how people found connection, purpose and even a sort of happiness in the face of calamity. The book rang true for me because I have seen repeatedly in various contexts how physical hardship can bring out the best in people, both at the individual level as well as at a community or even global scale.
A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams
One of Michael Pollan’s earlier works about designing and building his writing cabin. I actually didn’t finish the book because I was reading it while building my cabin, and his endeavor felt so decadent and extravagant compared to what I was doing that I had a hard time relating. Others may enjoy the book more than I did though…
A Good House: Building a Life on the Land
Richard Manning chronicles his year building a house on vacant land in Montana. A great story interspersed with enough technical details to be a satisfying read.