Review: “The Good Life: Helen and Scott Nearing’s Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living”

by writereaderly

helen, scott nearing the good lifeThis is a combined edition of Helen and Scott Nearing’s seminal books on getting back to the land and living a simple life: Living the Good Life (1954) and Continuing the Good Life (1979). The couple left New York, and went homesteading — first in rural Vermont for 20 years, then in rural Maine. Their skills, philosophies and experiences are documented here, explaining their veganism, the rejection of mainstream manufacturing and banking, their desire for stronger community, their commitment to education and civic values. Truly, an inspiring read, and I’m so glad I’ve finally read it (again, Bookclub’s been waiting a year for this to come to us, so I cut to the chase). The first is superior in writing and information quality (one suspects that Scott wasn’t up to writing Vol. 2 at the ripe old age of 95, and passed it on to Helen), and much more useful as a how-to guide; I’d even say you could skip the second one. Highly recommended, enjoy it.

Where it came from: Gift from MM when I passed a farm milestone
Time and manner of reading:
 Absorbed bed and armchair reads
Where it went: MR, LD, and probably assorted other farm readers before it returns to the Keeper Shelf
Reminds me of/that: The farm, of course! It was refreshing, and a good reminder, to read about even more radical lived politics than ours.
Who I’d recommend it to: They done it, you can enjoy just reading about it
Also reading: Rabbit #4; The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Seven Sisters of the Pleiades by Munya Andrews