The Bookshelf


Big List of Homesteading, Foodie,
Back-To-The-Land, Rural Skills,
Voluntary Simplicity & Self Sufficiency Books:

(mostly from:
  • At Home in Nature by Rebecca Kneale Gould – Written by someone who has actually lived in Helen and Scott Nearing’s home, this book reveals a deep knowledge of the back-to-the-land movement as the author explores it through the eyes of a theology scholar.

Gardening Guides:
  • Rodale’s Chemical-Free Yard and Garden by various authors – It is both broad and deep, covering everything from the temperature at which soil can be heated before killing different lifeforms to the profiles of different insects and bug control methods.
  • The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman – This “A Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener” is a must-read for anyone interested in organic gardening, including soil health, permaculture, marketing, extending the growing season, etc.
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman: This book is about “year round vegetable production using deep organic techniques and unheated greenhouses”. Who says you can’t eat fresh lettuce and root crops out of the garden in the middle of winter?

Self Sufficiency Guides:
  • Story’s Basic Country Skills is a practical guide to self-reliance written by several contributing authors. This thing is a big, fat, heavy bible of country living and rural skills for people who are moving to the country from the city.

Food Preservation & Cooking:
  • Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables by Mike Bubel – This book has everything you want or need to know about root cellars. From temperature and humidity ranges for different fruits and veggies to the history and pictures of root cellars around the world. Mr. Bubel also talks about some alternatives to root cellars that can be much faster and cheaper than building one. 
  • The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Brown – I’m not a big fan of cookbooks, but this one is different. It teaches you how to make bread from scratch using whole grains and simple ingredients. The book also has a very zen-like vibe to it, which you may or may not fully appreciate.

Preparedness & Emergency:
  • Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton – I think this is generally a handy book to have around and fills in many of the gaps left from other food storage books, such as those dealing only with canning or only with root cellaring. It also has some good information on what to have packed and ready to go, or in your trunk in case of an emergency requiring you to leave home, or something that happens on the road.


Green Building & Alternative Energy:
  • Microhydro by Scott Davis – If you have a water source and are thinking of generating power from it, this is the book you should start with. There are very clear pictures and explanations of concepts and components.
  • Water Storage by Art Ludwig – This book covers most of what you’ll need to know about catching and storing rainwater, including water tanks, cisterns, aquifers, ponds… as well as fire and emergency use water.  See also the basic but interesting information in the "Rain Water Harvesting" attachment from India, below (bottom of this page.