Thursday, March 24, 2011

Twenty-One Days - Day 16: Building a Library

"A house is not a home unless it conatins food and fire for the mind as well as the body." ~ Benjamin Franklin

It's no secret that I like books. One only has to walk through my front door to see what an important part of my life they are. Immediately upon entering my house, there against the wall is a huge shelf overflowing with books. They're on shelves above the windows and tucked into every nook and cranny and stacked on every flat surface.

From a preparedness point of view, books are invaluable. We live in a society where we're no longer taught simple, basic skills from our parents and grandparents like generations past, and so when we need to know something, it's often from books that we learn it.

Most of what I know about homesteading - gardening, preserving food, raising animals, even knitting - has been from reading about other people's experiences, mostly in books. Recently, I started reading The Foxfire Book series. They aren't instructive in a step-by-step how-to kind of way, but rather in a this-is-how-people-lived-not-so-very-long-ago kind of way, and while I do get some inkling of how things are done from the stories, mostly it's an inspirational set of anecdotes to show me what's possible.

A lot of the fiction I read is similar - like discovering that Scarlet O'Hara used rags dipped in bacon grease for light or learning how to make maple candy on snow from reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood experiences in the Big Woods.

There is a lot of value in books, and there is a lot we could learn about how we could live better from reading about other people's, even fictitious people's, experiences in life.

I'm sure there will still be people who think I'm a little crazy when it comes to recommending books (especially when I don't recommend stockpiling canned food). For those who may scoff at my insistence on the importance of books, don't take my word. A survivor of the war in Sarajevo says, "Bring some books - escapist ones like romance or mysteries become more valuable as the war continues. Sure, it's great to have a lot of survival guides, but you'll figure most of that out on your own anyway - trust me, you'll have a lot of time on your hands."

I agree with the wisdom of Erasmus, who said, "when I get some money, I buy books. If any is left over, I buy food and clothing."

I can grow food and I can make clothes, but books ... if I could only suggest one survival tool, it would be books, because with those, everything else can be accomplished.

Almost as much fun as having books is shopping for them, and for today's giveaway I was given the opportunity to do just that. On a recent thrifting trip, I picked up several novels, including Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Watership Down, and The Color Purple - all classics with timeless stories and amazing writing. These, plus a couple of bonus books, are today's giveaway. As usual, please leave a comment ... and if you don't think you want today's giveaway, because, maybe you already have these books, just remember that books can be traded for more books ;).


The winner of the soap and washcloth** is Maria Congratulations! Please leave a comment with your full name and address. Comments are moderated and I will not publish your information.

The End is Near ... there are only five days left until the end of the world as we know it. I'll be posting - with a giveaway - every day (except Friday) until the end of the month. Be sure to check back, and comment, if you would like to be entered into the random drawing for any one of the great items being offered.

**For those who asked for a pattern, I can't really help, because I don't do patterns. I'm not really that advanced, and basically, it's a square ... or a rectangle ... but just knitted ;).


  1. Great post... I LOVE books and like you, I find them invaluable, especially now.

    (I don't need to be in the drawing, though.)

  2. And not only books to read, but paper and pens/pencils so you can write as well. I think even if you're just keeping a journal, it's helpful to organize your thoughts and have records of what helped (and what didn't). As time goes on, and all the books have been read, fresh stories may be traded for food, drink, and the place of honor around the fire.

  3. Wendy, I have been out of the loop for a couple of days..may dad was in the hospital..but all is well now. Anyway, speaking of books...I come home to find my book from you The Solar Food Dryer...I certainly didn't expect a brand new copy! Thank you so much...I look forward to reading it. I love books also...have you read These are My Words...about a pioneer woman in Arizona...quite the book! I would be happy to send it to you..

  4. Yes, book are my addiction as well! I was chatting with a friend of mine, and she pointed out another benefit of books at her home...insulation! She has books on shelves against the wall, and the are noticeably colder on the wall side.

    I'd love to add to my book collection.

  5. We have seven bookcases in our house - four of them are six feet tall, and all of them are jam-packed with books.

    I can live without the latest fashion - without an extra pair of shoes - without most of the "necessities" that modern living has told us we need - but so help me, I can't live without books!

    Great post.

  6. My husband actually begged me to get a Kindle, so that my books would take up less space!

    Not only is it good idea to have lots of "for pleasure" books, I try to be very cognicent about the type of info I search for on the internet, and then get an actual book about it. It's great that the internet gives me lots of info in raising chickens, but what if the internet went away?

  7. I enjoyed reading that. :) After my recent post, you know how I feel about fiction. Fully half of our bookcases are devoted to fiction, and I'm reading a delightful campy book called Bride of the Rat God right now.

    I certainly won't laugh at you for stockpiling books, since we do it, too - and I don't recommend stockpiling canned food, either. Since spring has come, Mr D and I have reinstated our weekly stroll through all of the used book stores. Doing it in the winter with two little ones was just too much.

    We have Watership Down and The Color Purple, but I don't have Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

  8. Well I agree with you (again!) - books are invaluable in so many situations. They are a source of new information, a reference for things already learned, an escape when one needs to get lost in history or fantasy, and an inspiration when written about someone who has achieved something incredible....and I haven't even mentioned cookbooks yet ;) Your new book will take it's place on my life skills shelf in my private library!

  9. Books are my favorite addiction. Sign me up!

  10. Another nicly encouraging post Wendy, thanks! We're pretty committed to our library-themed decor, too. :)