Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book Review: The Good Life Lab

Amazon, out of all things, suggested I read this book. (Amazon routinely suggest things as insane as 'How to boil water' or 'Confronting the Left's assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom', which gives me a strange sense of comfort. Big Brother hasn't figured me out, yet, it appears). I requested it from the library, and was almost hesitant to crack it open. One can only read so many homesteading books in a season. But I did, and I'm so glad for it!

The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living is - Available for Preorder

Apparently I had slacked in my usually very thorough study of amazon reviews. I couldn't have been more surprised at the actual content of this amazing book. It's much less about the nitty and gritty of homesteading life (though the author certainly leads one and gives detail about it).
It is a book to encourage a sustainable, self-sufficient life style, but it is so much more than that. No recipes, no plans for chicken coops. Instead, she starts at her own beginning, speaking mostly of the mental transformation that preceded her moving to her homestead in a town called 'Truth or Consequences' in New Mexico. (How awesome of a name is that?) What follows is a thoughtful analysis of a 'giving' economy, and a focus no creating. The author and her partner live largely of scrounged and thrifted goods, and make their creations from everything from foraged local plants to high end electronic 'ingredients'. Their goal is to live as much off the waste stream as possible, which I find so inspiring, and more plausible than growing all my own food. They speak of their personal finances in a way that makes a lot of sense to me as well: In a nutshell, they advise to buy things that make things. Throughout the book, though, the story never gets utilitarian. It is a joyful and spiritual account, never focusing on any sacrifice their lifestyle may require, instead choosing to see abundance everywhere. What they learn, they strive to share. What they make, they use and gift, before selling some of it in their online store. In fact, check out their blog, too!
It is clear that the couple believes our consumer society is headed for a collapse, but this thought is not presented in a depressing, doomsday sort of way. Just a matter of fact, their reasoning is that living off the waste stream will work out until we're past that transition, at which point the waste stream will be drastically reduced and we'll have something else figured out.
Meanwhile they focus on making the necessary, but also the beautiful, fun and interesting.

It is a book I really want to own. In fact, I asked for it at Barnes and Nobles today. Of course they had just fixed to send the whole lot back to the publisher, and I couldn't buy it there. Fail! I walked out without buying anything, thinking I could get everything else on anyway. I guess this experience tells a story all of its own.

Small Footprint Fridays - A sustainable living link-up

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. Sounds very interesting. I'm going to check it out now.