Monday, March 25, 2013

Next Month's Book Club Pick!

The next selection in the Live Like Fiction Book Club will be James Howard Kunstler's World Made by Hand. I figured if we're going with an end of the world theme already, this would be apropos. This novel is the story of Robert Earl and the people of Union Grove, New York. It takes place about a decade or so past the age of oil, in the not too distant future. The electricity is out, the Government has collapsed, and people are living truly locally. Some of you have read this book, some have not, but if you like reading my blog and about the adventures here in Washington County you may be in for a treat with WMBH. It takes place right here, as in my very town and the towns surrounding it. You'll recognize names and places, understand the seasons and the weather. It's a familiar geography and I think a very non-fantastical approach to life in a small town post-collapse.

There are no zombies. Guns work just fine. What is so gripping to me is the way society and communities change when living as a unit becomes the normal, instead of all of us out in our own little worlds and lives. If Dies the Fire made you think about how you'd fit into that changed world, this book will make you obsess about it.

What I liked about this book was how it made me think about my own farm and neighbors all the while making me so emotionally invested in these fictional farms and neighbors. The book does have sex and violence, but don't expect any battles with swords and arrows. This is a small town story about a very large emergency, and the horse-drawn ride James takes you on makes you think, laugh, worry, and look at junk on the side of the road and wonder if you could turn it into a solar shower or ham smoker. Not many books make me wonder about that.

Like all LLF Club picks it is available in paper, eBook, and audiobook forms. And if you want an author-signed copy right from the heart of the story, Battenkill Books can happily mail you one right quick! Just click that link and call or email Connie and the gals and they'll drop a copy in the post.

I promise the next pick will have nothing to do with the end of the world. Pinky swear!


Blogger maddie said...

I read this one a while ago. I liked how the plot was simply trying to survive with the remains of your community, how people change and gather together in a crisis. I also liked how it wasn't completely and utterly depressing. They were trying to maintain an democracy, protect themselves without full scale war happening and had a decent ending.

Nice choice ^^

March 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thanks maddie, and you can still join in the club discussion or eventual hangout! (reader Sharon thinks she can get me to use it right!)

This book was a huge push and inspiration for me to think about my farm animals and why I have them and what is their actual value. It's why I have a cart horse, dairy goat, and switched to meat rabbits too.

March 25, 2013 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Okey-doke...going to the library tomorrow to borrow it. And I'm holding you to that pinky swear! :>)

March 25, 2013 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Sseverson said...

One of my favorite books! And I think this book really started me reading more and more in this genre. Alas, Babylon is another favorite and since I teach middle school, both Ashfall and Ashen Winter are recommended reading.

March 25, 2013 at 6:44 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Is the book club online? This book sounds great!

March 25, 2013 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger time4trees.mb said...

Sounds good...I just downloaded it to my Kindle.

March 25, 2013 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I read this when you first mentioned it, but maybe I'll re-read it since I liked it so much!

March 25, 2013 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

Sorry I didn't have a chance to finish Dies the Fire and join in that discussion. I will have more time to read in April. Looking forward to it! :)

March 25, 2013 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger dazy.mae said...

Ok. I'm in. Like Cathy I'm going to hold you to that pinky swear as well. I have kept my first flock of chickens alive for 3 days now. Our lives are already changing and I love it. Thank you for helping give my dreams wings. Thank you for also helping me realize what those dreams actually were.

March 25, 2013 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

I'm in Jenna! Good choice!

March 25, 2013 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger E said...

I found it sexist & racist.

Stuck making baskets and collecting eggs? If that's my future I'd rather jump off a bridge.

March 26, 2013 at 1:51 AM  
Blogger blind irish pirate said...

I'm glad you chose this one, I cannot wait to tear it apart. I couldn't stand it. :-P

March 26, 2013 at 3:40 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I think I'll pass. I have a tough time with his premise as I don't see us having a terminal decline in oil production (unless you count the government shutting down our ability to drill) and the climate has been changing since the beginning of time.

March 26, 2013 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Paul Molnar said...

I read World Made By Hand shortly after I read Dies The Fire for the first time. I was curious to check out the work of some of the other authors that you had mentioned who were your neighbors. I enjoyed it and his follow-up, The Witch of Hebron. Though certainly not as action packed as the "Change" novels they paint a vivid picture of a very changed world after the oil runs out.

As an aside, I also read a number of Jon Katz's books and very much enjoyed them. In particular Rose in a Storm, one of his novels, was particularly effecting and I would recommend highly to animal/farm life/dog fans. Jon's blog at is well worth a follow for those who aren't already.

March 26, 2013 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

I just ordered it on Kobo! Woot. I'm @ work right now so I'm going to wait to start it when I get home.

Just as an FYI, if anyone is looking to order it from Kobo it is eligible for discounts. There are discount codes available on-line.You can just google "Kobo Discount Codes".

March 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

For folks who may have the wrong idea: This is not a book about America running out of oil, there is still plenty of oil in this scenario - it's just not accessible anymore. What happens in this book is a terrorist attack on a west-coast cargo port slows down trade so much that it destroys the economy.

March 26, 2013 at 12:27 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Kristin, you should watch the documentary Collapse!

March 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Tara, this book club is just on line!

March 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger greendria said...

Ha! Thank you to the commenter "E" - I got a good chuckle when I read your comment: "Stuck making baskets and collecting eggs? If that's my future I'd rather jump off a bridge." I like your sense of humor! Also I'm a dork because I think a life of basket-making and egg collecting sound so nice right now (no baskets or eggs or fresh air in this cubicle!)

March 26, 2013 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

oh wow! I read The Witch of Hebron after you mentioned you loved a while back, and I *Raved* about it myself. I'm both excited to find another book in the same vein/same landscape, and shaking myself for not realising there was another book sooner! (seriously, how did I miss it? did I think it was the US and UK versions, as sometimes happens? ).
Anyway - I'm excited to read this! I don't know if my timetable will let me join the book club, but I will be reading for sure.

March 26, 2013 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Just ordered it from Amazon! :)

March 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Laura Gonzalez said...

On Chapter 10 already (audiobook) I love it and cannot wait to continue with the story!

March 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger E said...

greendia - I live on a farm but work off farm as a consultant and like egg collecting well enough (and wouldn't mind learning basket weaving).

But the thought of those being my *only* options as a woman would drive me crazy.

March 27, 2013 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Deb Naydan said...

Just downloaded it to my Kindle. Thanks for the recommendation.

March 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger JennB said...

I have been reading your blog for a long favorite story scenarios are always 'end of the world'...would love to read this book with you :) I love self sufficiency and the many books that are now displaying this theme...thanks for your rad blog :) Love it bunches!

March 27, 2013 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger WillowBrookFarm said...

I went to Amazon and ordered this shortly after your blog posted, I put it in my cart, went to buy a straw bale building book also, and when I went to pay the copy I had in my cart was sold, lol guessing another of your readers snantched it up! Anyway, I ordered another, received it Monday and finished it last night. Just wanted to say I loved it! I don't read a lot of fiction unless I read something my husband has around (Stephen King,etc)
I probably won't be in on the discussion since I don't have a computer. Just wanted to say I enjoyed it and he has a new fan, I'll definitely be reading more from him!
Thanks Jenna!

April 4, 2013 at 10:12 AM  

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