Your favourite fiction books with simple living characters/themes?
I’m having a bit of a book week here on The Really Good Life – and on Recycle This too.
Following on from yesterday’s favourite non-fiction simple living books, I thought I’d do a run down of my favourite fiction books with simple living themes – either characters who live simple lives, or who grow or make or cook real food — but I can’t think of many. So instead, I’ll tell you the few I like and then I’m going to beg, on my knees beg, for your suggestions!
(I asked this question on UK Veg Gardeners nearly a year ago and most people suggested non-fiction-with-a-narrative books that are meant to be read curled up in an armchair in winter rather than a reference text — I do like those too but in this case, I’d prefer out and out fiction suggestions if possible.)
Ok, so here are my few:
- Drop City by TC Boyle – this one certainly won’t be for everyone as it’s half about hippies, with their free love & LSD, but the other half is about life in the Alaskan bush and it’s fascinating. I now have a collection of non-fiction books about life in Alaska to read whenever I finish Drop City because I don’t want to leave that world.
- Giants in the Earth by Ole Edvart Rolvaag – I was hesitant to include this one because I didn’t love-love-love it but it was very interesting – the experiences of some Norwegian settlers “going West” in the 1870s and their subsequent hard life as homesteaders. Apparently it’s core reading on many high school or college syllabuses in the US but it’s pretty much unheard of in the UK.
- Various post-apocalyptic speculative fiction – my guilty genre fiction pleasure — you can keep your vampires and your spaceships, I like reading about our world coming to an end ;) It might seem odd to include it on this but when humanity is all but destroyed and there is no one to delivery take-out pizza or make new ipods, people quickly fall back to simple-style living. Even if the books don’t go into lots of explicit detail about it, it’s there – and I think it’s the bit that really fascinates me, and gets my cogs working in a “what if I was in that situation?” way. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham is one of my favourite books full stop and for this sort of thing – slowly rebuilding a farm for the group’s survival, and also a lot of discussion about how society should be rebuilt. The third part of Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes deals with global warming-like flooding. John Christopher’s The Death of Grass is mostly about a journey but one happening because of the … death of grass (so no wheat etc or grazing land for animals) – it makes me want to run out and grow potatoes!
…And that’s it, that’s all I can muster — so please, please, please have you got any suggestions I can add to my to-read pile? This winter might be another long, cold one so I need plenty of fireside entertainment :)