Photo from here
I used to be a really voracious reader and would drive Mr Stoatie mad by always having a book on the go. He used to get particularly cross when he would come across me sneakily reading when I was supposed to be doing something more important, like the housework! For some years I kept a list of all the titles I had read, which makes interesting reading in itself. Sadly I stopped adding to it when a computer failure wiped off a couple of year’s records. I was trying to work out why my reading fell off and I think it was probably a combination of the rise of the internet and increasing work hours. I still read, but probably less than twenty books a year.
I was blog hopping during the holiday break when I came across Laura, at Circle of Pines blog, she’s just launching her Year in Books project for 2015, which is a kind of book club where people blog about the book they are going to read at the start of the month, then write a review of sorts at the end – announcing the next book at the same time. She sees it as a means of making space for reading in our lives and helping us all discover more books. You can read the information about it here I thought it might be an ideal way for me to increase my reading.
Then yesterday I was listening to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 at work when they did a piece about consumerism and ‘stuff.’ Having the radio on is a frustrating business, because you only catch snatches, you can guarantee that just as something really interesting comes on we’ll have a string of phone calls and visitors. (The same effect can be achieved by having the temerity to make yourself a cup of tea!) I shall have to try and remember to listen again on catch up one evening. What I did hear was really interesting and I managed to catch the title of a book written by one of the guests, Dr Teresa Belton, so I’ve decided to chose this for my first book, the passage beneath it is the blurb.
Happier People Healthier Planet: How putting wellbeing first would help sustain life on Earth addresses the diametrically opposed issues of personal wellbeing and ecological destruction, understanding them as inseparable concerns. It argues that carefully attending to what really matters for personal thriving will also protect the environment.
Most human beings are strongly attracted to material possessions, novelty and ever greater comfort and convenience. Paradoxically, though, for those with a decent basic standard of living, growing affluence has not resulted in increased subjective wellbeing: consuming more does not make us happier. Worse, our unchecked appetites for ‘stuff’ are fast undermining the delicately balanced life-support system provided by the natural world. It is perfectly possible to live a rewarding life without over-consuming, and it is urgent that we all find out how to do so if we are to preserve the hospitality of the Earth.
This thought-provoking and unusually wide-ranging book investigates the factors that are likely to incline individuals to enjoy lifestyles that are sustainable. Informed and illustrated by insights from a wealth of sources, both academic and popular, it includes contributions from many individuals living in Britain who actively pursue all manner of fulfilling lives of relatively low consumption. These modest consumers offer challenge, inspiration and reassurance in the search for better ways of living.
I’ll let you know how I got on with it at the end of the month!