July 12, 2010

Really Natural Books: Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America

off the grid.jpg
I live off the grid, which if you are not familiar with the term, refers to homes that are independently powered by solar, wind, and/or hydro and is not connected to the utility power grid.

Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America is a new book that will be released on July 27, 2010.

In OFF THE GRID: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America (Penguin Original; On-Sale: August 2010; ISBN 978-0-14-311738-4; $15.00) award-winning documentary filmmaker and part-time off-gridder, Nick Rosen, takes readers on a fascinating and complex journey through a seemingly simple lifestyle. Nick traverses the US, encountering both luxury hideaways and harsh environs, to investigate the growing trend for off-the-grid living. His adventures take him from one overlooked part of the country to another, in rented cars that often double as hotels and on public transit when his subjects demand it. He spends time with all sorts of individuals and families striving to live the lives they want-- bathing in hot springs, forgoing municipal power and amenities--in the ultimate search for freedom from government and its far-reaching grasp.

The stories in this book are really fascinating, but I have to take offense with the cover. Picturing a half-painted shack with a vicious dog caged in the front yard pushes the stereotype that to live off the grid you have to be a little whacky and primitive. Sure some of the people in the book are those types, but already many mainstream folks believe you can't have a normal home off the grid. The text of the book addresses these concerns:
The people featured in OFF THE GRID, as within the movement at-large, are not always the into-to-the-wild recluses that one might expect, although a few such are profiled, including the rustic character made popular through Elizabeth Gilbert's The Last American Man and gun-toting novelist Carolyn Chute as well as cult author Alan Weisbecker. To the contrary, many of those living off-the-grid have built communities of like-minded people, often families with young children who are committed to helping one another. There are groups of devoted environmentalists who see this lifestyle as the only responsible way to counteract the massive energy consumption prevalent in ordinary American life. Others live this way rather unexpectedly, after finding urban and suburban lifestyles in conflict with their personal ethics, and still others were forced into their situations by economic factors beyond their control.

I've shown the cover to other people that live off the grid, and their reaction is the same. In fact, one person said they wouldn't buy the book because of the picture. I know you aren't suppose to judge a book by the cover, but it's hard not to.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at July 12, 2010 1:30 AM

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