Mrs. Homegrown here:
Of course Mr. Homegrown didn’t ask me for input on “our” holiday gift guide. Not that I dispute his choices…but I do have some of my own.
These are the 4 most thought provoking books (in this topic area) I’ve read this year:
The first two are closely related, as they are about the horticultural practices of Native Americans in California. You might remember me writing about them earlier. Apologies for the California bias:
Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West, by Celia Garcia and James D. Adams, Jr., Abedus Press, 2009
Co-authored by a Chumash healer and a USC pharmacology prof., both of whom write for Wilderness Way magazine. A fascinating resource documenting both historical uses and current scientific opinion on our native plants.
My post on it is here.
Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources by M. Kat Anderson, University of California Press, 2006
I’m still fascinated with this book’s thesis: that California Indians actively managed the California landscape, shaping it into the verdant paradise that awed the first European settlers to arrive here. They were practicing food forestry in it’s most advanced form, as well as wild life management.
This book also introduced me to a concept I’m also still trying to wrap my head around: the idea that plants need us as much as we need them. Our relationship is symbiotic. Paradise isn’t wild. Plants want to be tended, and they miss our hand. Seems these days we’re either entirely ignoring them or micromanaging them–mandating monocultures and whatnot. My original review here.
The second two suggestions are also related to one another, being about people who are passionate about DIY living. We’ve also talked about these on this blog. And yes, in the spirit of full disclosure, we know both authors and we’re mentioned in both books. It doesn’t make them any less inspirational for me.
Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, by BoingBoing co-founder and Make Magazine editor in chief Mark Frauenfelder
A quote from Erik’s review: Made by Hand is not a how-to book it is, paradoxically, the most practical DIY book I’ve read in a long time. Why? Because it’s all about facing that fear of failure, the single greatest obstacle to actually getting out there and doing things.