A recent post on Root Simple offered an intriguingly simple method of figuring out what one should do with one’s life — the very question that is right now as “live” to me as it was in my early twenties (if not more). It goes like this: “Look at what books are on your bookshelf and do that.”

IMG_0832Though I’ve collected a fairly vast library in my lifetime (dominated by works on religion and spirituality, fiction, and Asian history and literature), if you look at the books I’ve purchased in the last three years, their message is very clear. They are almost exclusively about homesteading, gardening, permaculture, natural building, making from scratch, keeping small livestock, food preservation, self-reliance, community resilience. These are the topics I cannot resist reading about, the books I end up buying even if I otherwise don’t shop much, the ones I devour and always come back to. I see them as guides to a way of life that I aspire towards — and in some ways am already living: a way of life that offers an alternative to the high-consumption, high-stress, petroleum-fueled madness and alienation from nature’s processes that defines so much of the affluent North in particular. I awakened to this way of life when I was well into my thirties, so I’m an adult learner, trying to pick up as much as I can, and these guides are invaluable to me in the process.

And what does this say about what I should be doing with my life? Apparently, more and more of what I’m already doing, and dreaming about — and in fact writing about here at Gather & Grow — and seeing where that takes me. Yes?

For those of you who are curious, here’s a partial list of the most-consulted books in my permaculture and homesteading library — starting with the book by the very bloggers of Root Simple who inspired me to write this post:

What about you? What does your bookshelf point you towards?