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Desert Solitaire – by Edward Abbey ~ Anyone who explores Utah needs to read this book.
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith ~ A history of the Mormon faith. Incredible reading. I learned a lot about Utah in this book, including the name of some towns I probably don’t want to camp near.
The Man Who Quit Money ~In 2000, Daniel Suelo left his life savings-all thirty dollars of it-in a phone booth. He has lived without money-and with a newfound sense of freedom and security-ever since. The Man Who Quit Money is an account of how one man learned to live, sanely and happily, without earning, receiving, or spending a single cent.
Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America ~ Here, Linda Tirado tells what it’s like, day after day, to work, eat, shop, raise kids, and keep a roof over your head without enough money. She also answers questions often asked about those who live on or near minimum wage: Why don’t they get better jobs? Why don’t they make better choices? Why do they smoke cigarettes and have ugly lawns? Why don’t they borrow from their parents?
Walden on Wheels: On The Open Road from Debt to Freedom ~ In this frank and witty memoir, Ken Ilgunas lays bare the existential terror of graduating from the University of Buffalo with $32,000 of student debt. Ilgunas set himself an ambitious mission: get out of debt as quickly as possible. Inspired by the frugality and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau, Ilgunas undertook a 3-year transcontinental jour¬ney, working in Alaska as a tour guide, garbage picker, and night cook to pay off his student loans before hitchhiking home to New York.
Debt-free, Ilgunas then enrolled in a master’s program at Duke University, determined not to borrow against his future again. He used the last of his savings to buy himself a used Econoline van and outfitted it as his new dorm. The van, stationed in a campus parking lot, would be more than an adventure—it would be his very own “Walden on Wheels.”
Freezing winters, near-discovery by campus police, and the constant challenge of living in a confined space would test Ilgunas’s limits and resolve in the two years that followed. What had begun as a simple mission would become an enlightening and life-changing social experiment. Walden on Wheels offers a spirited and pointed perspective on the dilemma faced by those who seek an education but who also want to, as Thoreau wrote, “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
The Land: Our Gift and Wild Hope ~ Concerned with the earth, our habitat and common home, poet and essayist Rae Marie Taylor bears witness to the many-layered pressures from development on land and water in the American Southwest. In her book of essays, The Land: Our Gift and Wild Hope, she offers a timely look at the threats posed, in particular, on the region’s wildlife and people, their homes and cultures. While telling her own story of loss in the Rocky Mountain/Rio Grande corridor, she also reveals a vigorous hope found among the many Westerners collaborating in sustainable approaches. In celebration of the earth’s gradual renewal, she brings to light the New West’s use of local traditions, innovative ranching and restoration practices, and scientific insights affirming the importance of earth-based values. Eyewitness accounts, interviews, lively anecdotes, and an occasional poem inspire within the reader a deepening affection for the earth.