I first bought the massive Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery over ten years ago. I kept it by my bedside for late-night reading because there was no pesky plot to keep me awake. I found it written in an enjoyable style, with lots of sections I wanted to read. I’ve cooked many recipes from it and several have become favorites. The title is a bit misleading: this is not just a book for people living in the country, as anyone interested in simple living will find a lot of interest in the book.
It would also be useful to people trying to get by on less money, as it has so many tips on gardening, cooking, food preservation, raising animals, planting trees, and related topics. Certainly in suburbs and cities people are finding ways to garden. This encyclopedia has always recommended a lot of other books, and the latest edition mentions a number of websites as well.
When I bought myself a new copy not long ago, I noticed that a reviewer at Amazon made the point that this is not the best book available on some of the specific topics it covers. For example, this afternoon I was browsing through the section on raising chickens, which is something I have done. Yes, there might be a better book on the subject, but it wouldn’t also be good on different ways of preserving food or on eco-safe household cleansing with low-cost ingredients. It’s the wide range of topics that makes this book so valuable. I hope not too many readers will need the short section on giving birth alone!
Carla Emery grew up in Montana and began writing this book during the back-to-the-land era, when she was living in a small town in Idaho with her husband and young children. It’s gone through edition after edition, getting larger and larger… it’s over 900 pages! She writes in a folksy style and includes many tips, ideas, recipes, and suggestions that other people sent to her.
This is one handy book on my reference shelf. What about you? Find out more at Amazon about: