Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Review - Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel
I'm pretty sure the visitors to this blog would be familiar with the Down to Earth blog. It has a huge following in blog terms for two good reasons. It is chock-full of useful how-tos for the skills one needs to simplify one's life: budgeting, household organisation, time management, making, mending, cooking, planning, gardening, preserving and more are all covered. Underpinning all of that, though, and what keeps me coming back, is Rhonda's writing. She writes passionately about her own move to the simple life, and really exhorts us all to think about how we live our lives. She challenges us to rise above being mere cogs in the consumerist economy, and to show up for the way we live our own lives. It's all there on the blog, and it's all here in this beautiful book.
I hope that Spades and Spoons is a reflection of the fact that I am on board with what Rhonda has to say. She writes in the introduction that before she started her blog, she "found blogs about global warming, lightening your footprint, going green and peak oil, but none wrote about what I wanted to do - change how we live in the most fundamental and practical way". As the saying goes the personal is political, and if we are concerned about how modern life in the West is going, the most direct way we can make an impact is how we choose to live our lives and consume on a day to day basis. This book gives you the tools.
Even though I am pretty much up to speed with all the ground Rhonda covers - though I haven't had a go a soap making yet, and somehow I don't think I will for a while - I purchased this book mainly as a way to say thank you to Rhonda for the effort she puts into her blog, and for tips I've picked up on Down to Earth over the years. I've been making her laundry liquid for a couple of years now (recipe in the book, as well as other green cleaners), and I figure just this alone has saved me quite a bit, certainly enough to cover the price of the book.
I can imagine dipping into Down to Earth, much as with the blog, from time to time. And, as my kids start earning their own money, I'll open the book at Chapter Two - Ages and Stages, dealing with simple living at all stages of life, and tell them to read and learn!
Down to Earth book, as with the blog - highly recommended.
Edited later to add:-
If I have a quibble with this book, it's that it lacks an index. Although it reads like a narrative in some ways, it is very much a reference book. Having had the book for a few weeks now I've found myself flicking through it to find specific information. Mildly frustrating. Sorry, Penguin, but the Table of Contents does not suffice. If there is a second edition, how about adding an index?