Apron Stringz Book List

A few months ago, I started adding all my favorite books to Goodreads, an online book cataloging site. When I review books here I like to be able to link to something, anything besides Amaz*n, and I liked the idea of building an online collection of quality books to point readers toward. There’s a lot of books in the world, and honestly not all of them are worth the read, let alone the purchase price. Especially in the homesteading category I have found a number of books written as how-tos by people who’ve just started doing the stuff– a pet peeve of mine. I love to read an honestly written personal story about coming into The Life, but please don’t write a how-to until you’ve got at least 10 years under your belt.

At any rate, I myself love book recommendations and I thought you might as well. I tried out Librarything first, and I do like their less commercialized feel and higher quality book focus, but I’m sorry to say I found it a chore to navigate. Goodreads is certainly more geared to selling books, and particularly best seller types, but the site is smooth and a pleasure to use.

This link will take you to the Apron Stringz sustainable living bookshelf. This is my default category for everything that’s not a novel or a cookbook. You will see a list of more specific categories on the left hand side if you want to do some pointed browsing. The books are listed by order of my ranking, most of the 5-star books are ones that I own and feel are worth owning. Some of the 4-stars are worth owning too if you, like My Man and I, aspire to a whole room of your home devoted to books. The rest are worth the wait of an inter-library loan. With a few exceptions, I didn’t list books that I didn’t like.

In my dream world, I would have time to review all of those great books for you. Instead, I need to go wash the dishes. But I do want to just slip in a quick plug for my latest favorite, The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. I had seen this one around for awhile but been afraid that, despite the title, it would be one of those romantic depictions of overly precious country life. It is not. She is a fantastic, raw author with an almost unbelievable story. Uproarious, honest, riveting, wise and yes, dirty. I loved it.

Goodreads also has a ‘to read’ list, if you are ever wondering how in the world you might return some sugar to me, I love books…. Ahem.

Lastly, which best-ever books are missing from my list?

**Note that I do buy stuff from Amaz*n, much more often than I’d like to admit. My point in attempting not to link to them is not that you shouldn’t shop there, but that I can’t stand the idea of advertising for them.

16 thoughts on “Apron Stringz Book List

    1. i know you do. and i love your blog, it’s one of my top 10 favorites. in fact i recently bookmarked your Amz page so that whenever i do buy stuff from them i can at least route a few pennies your way. but i do think they are partly the devil. to me, any corp that is taking over everything (everything!) like they are is the devil, if only because their power has become too great.

  1. OK, now I’ve read your list and, yup, that looks about right to me. :) I’ve got Novella Carpenter’s new book on order too, I’m really looking forward to that one. But I agree with you on how tos…the Crunchy Chicken just did her top 10 urban homesteading books and a good 3 or 4 of them were, in my estimation, less than useful. How do you feel about regionally? I think it’s got to be frustrating for people in Maine of Minnesota or Alaska (hm?) to read books written by the LA-to-Vancouver corridor types when we can and do grow without a whole lot of effort for 8-12 months out of the year and then pass that on like its reasonable advice for everyone else.

    1. Just looked and BWB has an affiliate program. Yay! But it’s horribly time consuming to set up. Boo. Ah well… might try to get a list started there.

      CJ – I like your list – I have a goodreads acct, but I never play with it. Might have to update.

    2. dont get me started on gardening books re: alaska. i read them for pleasure and a little theory. growing vegetable in alaska, particularly cordova, is all experimentation and indefatigability.

    3. Yes Erica I find most planting guides almost useless as Oklahoma has thoroughly unpredictable weather from one year to the next. And most gardening books are written for a much milder wetter climate than ours. We had 67 straight days over 100 degrees last summer; we had a hard time keeping plants alive.

  2. By the way I loved your zine and reading it gave me a shocking degree of patience for my boy last night…at least for the first 15 minutes. But all things considered that’s pretty good. Nice work. I’ll stop monopolizing your comment section now.

  3. Calamity, I have a Goodreads page, and use it primarily to replace the multitude of lists I stash everywhere (which is why I got so excited about last week’s journal project!). The “to-read” list is for books I don’t own or am interested in checking out from the library. Once I own them (as we strive for a room full of bookshelves), or read them, they are removed from that list. My “read” list corresponds to the time I joined Goodreads 3-4 years ago and represents books read since then, so it’s not too extensive. I have titles to share with you, and you can friend me on Goodreads by searching for my first name and Arrowleaf as my last name.
    Thanks for the ‘zine, S read it before I did, and we appreciated your rendition of our combined last name. Of the two options we came up with, one sounded like a German sausage recipe or the other a type of tool found at the hardware store!

  4. On your list, I’ve read Astyk’s depletion and abundance. I liked her Independence Days book better. More entertaining format with a recipe at the end of each chapter. It also has a great list for food security: do one of these things everyday

    1. Plant something. Anything harvested leaves a space
    2. Harvest something
    3. Preserve something
    4. Waste not: minimize waste, glean, compost . Use time wisely.
    5. Want not: clean, mend, declutter, learn a new skill
    6. Cook something new: know how to use whatever shows up
    7. Manage your reserves: don’t waste what you have, ration foods. Whatever is not being used, give away.
    8. Work on local food systems: buy what you can’t make or grow yourself from a local producer.

  5. Re pointing to Amaz*n: While I certainly do buy from them, I find I often use the site more to find out about a book (or product) and then use that information to determine if I want to pursue the book further. I’ve got a nifty little bookmarklet that lives in my browser that allows me to check out a book on Amaz*n and then one-click over to that book’s page at my local library where I can put it on hold for pick up later. Details on the bookmarklet are here: Interchange. It also works from a Goodreads page (and for some online music sources). The only library it works for right now is the Seattle Public Library, but if it seems like something you’d use, let me or the developer (my husband) know and your library of choice could potentially be added. It might not make Amaz*n less of a behemoth, but it might make them feel more like an information source and less of a enabler of consumerism.

    1. wow, this sounds so awesome i don’t even mind the shameless plug! i love libraries and inter-library loan a ton of books. good going for your hubby!

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