Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Booklist Which Takes You Outdoors

I've mentioned the Woodswoman books a few times lately and was asked to explain why I like them.

How do I begin? Probably thirty years ago I fell in love with man- (or woman)-versus-Nature books and have devoured each one from all libraries near my homes, as well as purchasing some from yard sales and online.

There's something endearing about people who choose to build cabins in wilderness surroundings. The descriptive coziness of those cabins, especially during blizzards, enchants me, igniting my nesting instinct. The adventure of hunting for your own food or hiking miles into towns for it amazes me. The living alone, either by yourself or with a spouse or family, secluded in the middle of deep woods, challenges me, as well as the writing disciplines companioned with all that extra physical work.

"How would I behave in such circumstances?," I ask myself. Would I complain and whine and regret my decision to attempt such a risky, independent lifestyle? Uh, yes. (That's my usual answer.) But then, I've not been given Grace to live in the wild. And without Grace, well, I always whine a lot.

Mostly? I'm just an armchair adventurer. I prefer to let others describe their wild adventures to me, rather than take the life-risking, daring adventures myself. Oh, I do enjoy countryside car rides, yard sales, harvest festivals (etc.) and the occasional vacation, but most of my adventures come from just living my daily life. My gardening and the mowing of our lawns, the occasional walk in our woods and visits with friends here on our land or in their homes or at restaurants.

But these books about others' lives out in the wild, well, they broaden my horizons. Books carry me where I would otherwise never go. They share stories and details and pictures for my mind of whole other ways of living and being. Things I'll never experience first-hand in this life, but second-hand through books written by adventurers who were thoughtful enough to write them for the rest of us.


Here are some favorite titles of books about adventures of living in the wild:

Woodswoman I and II by Anne LaBastille
At Home In The Woods by Bradford and Vena Angier
Wilderness Wife by Bradford and Vena Angier
Green Mountain Farm by Elliott Merrick
Women and Wilderness by Anne LaBastille
(These last two I've not read yet, they're on their way, but I know I'll love them. Green Mountain Farm belongs more in the list, below.)
Arctic Mood by Eva Alvey Richards
The Gift of the Deer by Helen Hoover
The Silence of the North by Olive A. Fredickson

And these are we-bought-a-farm-and-didn't-know-what-we-were-doing books (my other favorite genre):

Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Still Life with Chickens by Catherine Goldhammer
Sylvia's Farm by Sylvia Jorrin
A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball
At Home on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball
Peace At Heart by Barbara Drake
Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow series of books

To name just a few.......


Tracy said...

Love the list of books! I consider myself an armchair adventurer, too. :)

Echoes From the Hill said...

I have read most of the books on your list, about country living, and really enjoyed them.
Two of my all-time favorites, are older books, but are wonderfully descriptive. "Return to Main Street" by Nancy Eberle and "Wyoming Wife" by Rodello Hunter are books I have read over and over again, because they are so real and so entertaining.

Pearl said...

Thanks so much for the list Debra! They sound like my kind of books. My husband and I went to the book store last night and didn't find much so tonight I want to get The Woods Women I to love to hear about living the old ways and the strenth it takes them both physically and mentally. Let's see what can you write about next? How about "Who were some of the biggest influences in your life and why?" Thanks I always enjoy your blog blessings, Pearl

Anonymous said...

Great list, Debra. How about "We Took to the Woods", Louise Dickinson Rich? Love her books about Maine. Joyce

Echoes From the Hill said...

I am reading Helen Hoover's "A Place in the Woods" and am loving it!
I also have Louise Dickinson Rich's, "We Took to the Woods" and will read it next.
Thanks for your lists.

Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I've read this type of book - but yes, me too! I also like the type of book where one man takes to the woods on his own. <a href=">Tom Brown</a> is one of those authors. He talks about walking through the woods and tracking animals using techniques taught to him by Indians. I always loved camping in the woods as a girl - our family did it many times in Calif and Utah.
Now I'm like you - I like to live vicariously through these novels.
Thank you so much for the list of books - none (except Gladys) of which I've read.