Recommended Books That Support "The Non-Consumer Advocate" Lifestyle

by Katy on July 2, 2008 · 9 comments


I’m a big reader. I would rather snuggle up in bed with a book than most anything else. I’m very happy to have finally entered that golden age of parenting, where I have blissful chunks of time to indulge this satisfying pleasure.

I also read audio books while commuting, doing dishes, cleaning, hanging laundry and similar similarly dull tasks. It’s an addiction.

But I’m an open-minded reader – fiction, non-fiction, I devour it all.

There are certain books I have read through the years that are in-line with the ethics of frugality and green-living that I support on my blog. Here’s just a partial list:

  • “The Poisonwood Bible,” by Barbara Kingsolver.
  • “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith.
  • “The Complete Tightwad Gazette,” by Amy Dacyczyn.
  • “Your Money Or Your Life,” by Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin.
  • “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America,” by Barbara Ehrenreich.
  • “Living The Good Life,” by Helen and Scott Nearing.
  • “Confessions Of A Shopaholic,” by Sophie Kinsella. (Because the power of a cautionary tale knows no bounds, plus I have a soft spot for British Chick Lit).

I’m sure there are scads of books I’ve left out, and many I’ve yet to read. That’s what so great about reading — you could never possibly run out of fresh material.

Which favorite books would you recommend for the Non-Consumer in each of us? Let me know in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

P.S. Don’t forget to patronize the locally owned used bookshops in your community, or your local library.



{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeremy July 2, 2008 at 1:51 am

I enjoy Tom Hodgkinson’s books, How to be Idle, and How to be Free. They’re funny, but also really counter-cultural in their gentle undermining of work and consumption.
And there’s the classic Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, which is beautiful and radical.


Daniel July 2, 2008 at 2:05 am

What is your opinion on the Kindle device? It does save quite a lot of paper and allows for less expensive distribution of books. Just wondering what your take was on this.


prairiepastor July 2, 2008 at 8:15 am

Have you read Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver? It’s about her family’s move to a farm and their experience of growing their own food and raising animals.


Julie July 2, 2008 at 10:56 am

Hi Katy,

I really liked “Your Money Or Your Life”. Nickle And Dimed was very sobering. I love my life!
There are tons of stories to download. Some of my favorite things to listen to right now are “Selected Shorts” and episodes of “Speaking of Faith” . I am sure you could find them with a Google search. Lots of NPR stuff too like “This American Life”.
I love to be read stories. It feels like nurturing to me.

I also love your life 🙂 Thanks for sharing snipits of it with all of us.


thenonconsumeradvocate July 2, 2008 at 11:12 am

In reply to comments from this morning.

I have not read, “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral,” but do have it on hold at the library. I have loved all Barbara Kingsolver’s novels, and look forward to reading this book.

My opinion on the Kindle device?

I am wary of an expensive piece of electronics that will be outdated in a few years, and becomes garbage if dropped.

However, I do see how it would be great for travelers, or people who simply can’t spare the room for a dozen books.

I took the kids to hear a Mir Space Station astronaut speak last year, and he did mention that he brought his I-Pod into space. I suppose the Kindle would also be great for astronauts.

When a book gets dropped, the worst that can happen is bending of pages.

Books — They are beautiful on a shelf, comforting in the hand, free at the library and don’t need maintenance when filled with sand from a day at the beach.

I hope this answers your questions.

-Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Caroline July 2, 2008 at 5:18 pm

I’d recommend Affluenza and to a (much) lesser extent Not Buying It.


Robyn July 2, 2008 at 10:05 pm

The book that started it all for me years ago was Simplify Your Life by Elaine St. James. She has others. Then I found the C Tightwad Gazette and Your Money or Your Life and the Nearing’s books. These are the books I’d have on a desert island with me if only allowed 3. No, 4. ok all of St. J’s books. and the Nearing’s books. But that’s it. Really.
I too love Kingsolver, but found A, V, M a wee bit elitist. And I was surprised by this as I’ve never felt that about any of BK’s other books.


allison July 3, 2008 at 7:49 am

Any of Susanka’s books….
all of them refocus the ‘live large’ lifestyle.


Angie July 7, 2008 at 6:44 am

I highly recommend

A Very Small Farm by William Winchester

A small, sustainable farm. Lives very frugally. Totally inspiring.


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