Tuesday, October 23, 2012

FARM THEMED AND / OR SELF SUFFICIENCY FICTION BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Recently, I received a couple of book recommendations in the comments of other posts and it got me to thinking; we have a lot of gardening books and cook books and decorating books.  Without a TV at the farm, when we go out there and relax a bit, it's nice to just sit and read.  But these are all pretty much "how to" books.  We love them of course but...


...one of you suggested Charlotte's Web (great suggestion to read a classic that I might look at differently now) and another suggested a book on WWII that featured someone working on a chicken farm (sounds fun). 

So now I'm wondering, what fiction and/or historical books would you all recommend for the farm "library"?  I'd like to keep them farm related, maybe about someone building a garden, or raising livestock or maybe a book about a beekeeper?  Heck, maybe life on a farm now (Amish?) or even a hundred years ago (Little House on the Prairie-ish perhaps?)


Speaking of fiction, I recently read a book called "One Second After", and while it was depressing at times, it also reminded me of the importance of self sufficiency and yet another reason we want to create this farm.  We've got some "how to" books on self sufficiency but any fiction book on that topic would be great as well (something like "The Road" which I read a few years back).  As I said, I'd like something I can get wrapped up in a continuing story and maybe learn a little something about life on a farm or self survival along the way, even if it is a work of fiction.  I need some escapist reading.

Feel free to suggest away in the comments below.  I might just have to start a new bookcase full of books ready for this Winter.

30 comments:

Shannan Deshazer said...

I'm on a homestead reading kick right now and boy do I have some great reads for you. I'll give you just a few.
My new favorite go-to homestead building book is called -
* "Growing a Farmer" by Kirk Timmermeister.
*Also, it goes without saying that you need "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver (although let the records show that I didn't like this book THAT much - growing a farmer is much better)
*Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl - not a farming book per say, but memoirs of a foodie and she at one time in her life she lived in SF in a commune and worked with Alice Waters so it kind of fits the organic, homestead bill. kind of.
*Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith
* This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader by Joan Gussow
*Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter.

Well I go add a few more but that should get you started. Read Timmermeister first - really good book!

Shannan Deshazer said...

Oh duh, I almost forgot my second favorite farming memoir "the Dirty Life" by Kirsten Kimball. it was the first memoir I read and got me hooked on these homesteading, farming memoirs.

Oh wait, let me give you one more because even though this book is a little slow, I think about it often even two years later. "Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land" by David Mas Masumoto. When I looked it up (I had forgotten the name) I saw that he has written several more books that have high customer ratings so I think I'll add those to my reading list. His stories are very good.

DFW said...

Definitely the Little House on the Prairie series. How about Animal Farm? If you want a book to get immersed in ... Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It is a difficult read but relates very closely to the things happening in the world today.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you'd want to give "Mill Farm" from Elizabeth Castonier a try. Ms Castonier was a writer-turned-farmworker, her stories take place in rural England from the late 1940s to the early 50s. One of my all time favourites, probably re-read a dozen times... :-)

Cr said...

For escapist fiction reading, try Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven. It's a sci-fi novel about the earth post-asteriod strike. Suspenseful and well written. Survivors band together and the most valuable people are those with skills in farming, canning, and homestead management.

Anonymous said...

I read your interesting blog everyday and really enjoy it. I would like to recommend a book for your library. "Cider with Rosie" by Laurie Lee. It is a memoir of Laurie Lee's early life with his mother and five siblings living in a tumbledown cottage in a rural village. The Cotswolds is the setting, a beautiful part of England. It is funny,sad and nostalgic for a way of life that no longer exists. However there is a lot to learn from it too. I have just looked at the preface of the book which says it was published in the United States under the title of The Edge of Day:Boyhood in the West of England.

I think your farm is lovely.

Margaret - England

Maria said...

Such a great idea! I hope you'll share the list you compile. :)

Susan said...

This is a great idea and I hope a list is forthcoming. Finding well written fiction with gardening/farming/nature as a theme, in my experience, is harder than one would expect.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck is one I would add to the list.
My Side of The Mountain by Jean Craighead, young adult but a fascinating read regarding self sufficiency.
Perhaps your young pig keeper might like The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. The hero is Taran the Assistant Pig Keeper. His charge is Hen Wen a pig with the gift of prophesy.

Kristi Kelley said...

The Secret Life of Bees... Great book... there was a movie but it wasn't nealry as good.

1st Man said...

YAY! You rock. Thank you for you these recommendations. I'm going to compile a master list of these and all the others. I have read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Enjoyed it and learned some fascinating stuff. I'll put Growing a Farmer at the top of my list now.

1st Man said...

Ha, keep them coming. I'll be off to Amazon to read up on them. Thanks again!

1st Man said...

That's funny, a very dear friend of mine is reading Little House with her daughter and they love it and said I should check them out as well. Animal Farm is a great suggestion. I think (?) we read that in school but it was long enough ago, cough cough, that i don't remember the plot anyway.

Atlas Shrugged sounds good too. I know it's a classic. Thank you!

1st Man said...

Sounds great, I like something with history as well. Thank you!

1st Man said...

Oh, see, I love that kind of stuff too. Always been a sci fi fan and enjoy those post apocalyptic stories. Thank you for the suggestion!!

1st Man said...

I will definitely do that!! Thanks for stopping by!! :-)

1st Man said...

What a great list. You know, I never thought about it but you're right that's probably why I didn't really hear of a lot of farm/gardening theme books. Thanks for your list and I don't mind the young adult novels either, they are always fun and usually an easy read.

I will DEFINITELY tell T about the pig keeper, awesome!! :-)

1st Man said...

I remember that movie, didn't see it, no reason in particular, just sort of came and went and I forgot about it....but will definitely look into the book. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

What a sweet comment, thank you! I think that's what intrigues me about this journey we are embarking on, it's a way of life that no longer exists. It puts us in touch with our past. Thank you for the suggestion and thank you for reading daily, that means a lot to me. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh ya,,, I almost forgot. I enjoy Gene Logsdon. He has fiction and non-fiction, even his non-fiction books are very entertaining to read. They are witty, funny, and informative.

AnywhereEden said...

Farm City by Novella Carpenter was a great read. I loved it, and it was going to be my suggestion.

Also, while The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan is officially about food, it is interesting, educational and includes a lot of farm-related information. Plus, I just like recommending it to other people. :)

Kev Alviti said...

The Wild Life by John Lewis-Stempel - A book about a man who tried to live a whole year on just what he can find or hunt on his own 40 acre farm. Really well written and interesting.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

I can't believe no-one mention the Dune saga by Frank Herbert. The futuristic setting dealing with human survival, ecology and power. It is a classic!

The majority of these are 1st person accounts (some fiction) all worth the read--
Definitely anything by Gene Logsdon, Louis Bromfield, David Grayson (esp.Adventures in Contentment), Noel Perrin (Begin with First Person Rural)
Planting Dreams series by Linda Hubalek
Bad Land;An American Romance by Jonathan Raban--is about homesteading Montana in 1909

Aquarius Rising series by Fred Zengel--about 4 people starting a commune in 197o's (3 book series)

1st Man said...

I will look into his books as well. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Now that sounds fascinating!!! Thank you! Definitely adding that to the list. Thanks again. :-)

1st Man said...

I am embarassed to say, I've never read the Dune series. I know they are classics and I love sci fi. Have seen the various incarnations of movies of course but I know the books are ten times better, ha. The other recs sound great too. I'm compiling a list! Thank you!

1st Man said...

AnywhereEden, thanks for the recommendation. I always like a 'second' on a recommendation. And Ominvore's Dilemma sounds great as well. Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh if you like Sci-Fi you have got to read the Daemon trilogy by Daniel Suarez. I just finished them for the second time! LOL What a great read! I read them so fast when I was finished I read them again to get the finer points. The Hunger Games are good too. Pretty heavy for children's books I thought.
Leslie

1st Man said...

Never heard of the Daemon trilogy. Sounds interesting! Love sci-fi so that sounds like a winner too. Haven't read the Hunger Games, but saw the movie and now want to put that series on my list too, ha. Thanks!!

Moonwaves said...

Commenting on another old post but hey, it's about books, how could I resist. Prepare yourself for a loooonnnnnnnnnnnng comment!
The S.M. Stirling series that starts with Dies the Fire is good, especially that first book. Okay, you do have to be accepting of a LOT of coincidences and if you read past the first book (actually it starts at the end of the first book), it has really crossed over into fantasy genre rather than dystopian. Regardless, I kept reading through all of them because I did get hooked on the stories of the characters. Basic premise of the beginning is a day when all of a sudden all electricity, motors, anything needing that spark to run, including guns, just stops working and how different groups end up dealing with it.
James Howard Kunstler's World Made by Hand is good, too (although there's a particularly violent bit towards the end that I really don't like). I particularly like the first couple of chapters, when he's going through the background, how the 'fall' happened and what has changed since then. There's at least one sequel, the Witch of Hebron which I remember quite liking but honestly can't really remember now. He has written more non-fiction than fiction, Long Emergency was a good read and I'd like to get some of his others, too.
For kids books, there are some of the Enid Blyton books that I realised a few years ago influenced me at a very early age to yearn for a simple life, even if I didn't know that's what it was at the time. Especially the Secret Island (four kids run away to an island) and the Six Cousins/Mistletoe Farm books. I got the full Little House set only a few years ago and absolutely loved them. The Hunger Games is a more recent young adult trilogy that has a good dystopian, fend for yourself theme.
Into the Forest by Jean Hegland is one I have to admit that I hated, but two fellow bloggers (www.clickclackgorilla.com and www.fishinthewater.net/) love it and rate it as one of the all-time favourite dystopian books so I thought I'd mention it.
Have you read the Jean M. Auel books? Fictionalised accounts of life in pre-historic Europe. Again, when it come to coincidences and an unbelievable amount of important stuff happening to just a couple of people (a la Forrest Gump, if you know what I mean), it gets a bit wearying but otherwise they're fascinating.
The Disappearance by Philip Wyle is another interesting one - one day all the women disappear. But equally all the men disappear, i.e. the story continues with two alternate world, one with just women and one with just men. Written in 1951, there's quite a, for us today, sexist element but it's very good speculative fiction nonetheless. Actually, I remember at the time I read it a couple of years ago hating that aspect of it and now I'd love to read it again.
For non-fiction, I did a post a while back with a list of all the books I'd read about on other people's blog and wanted to read. You've mentioned a few of those already so you might find that list interesting. It's here: http://livingthesimplelifeiwant.blogspot.de/2013/01/book-lists.html There are a couple of other lists of books, too, if you're bored and/or like that kind of thing, click on the books label. Love, love, love me some books. :)

Anonymous said...

A little late to the game but books about farm life that I loved were the books by vet James Herriot. I have read all of these books and you learn a lot about life on farms in the Yorkshire Dales. His stories about tending to the animals are wonderful - rich and full descriptions. I have read all of these books more than once (probably more than twice now that I think of it!)