Thursday, August 27, 2009

Green Book of the week: Sleeping Naked Is Green by Vanessa Farquharson

Today we have a great book to share with you with a story of a challenge that I believe is shared by a growing number of people who want to green up their lifestyle significantly, but not to radically change who they are. Can it be done? one journalist from Toronto shows the answer is YES.

Our book today is:

Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days

Author: Vanessa Farquharson

Vanessa Farquharson is an arts reporter and film critic at the National Post, based in Toronto, where she also writes a weekly column on the environment.

Visit her website: (Photo Credit: © Catherine Farquharson)

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Published on:
June 2009

What this book is about? (from the publisher's website)
No one likes listening to smug hippies bragging about how they don't use toilet paper, or worse yet, lecturing about the evils of plastic bags and SUVs. But most of us do want to lessen our ecological footprint. With this in mind, Farquharson takes on the intense personal challenge of making one green change to her lifestyle every single day for a year to ultimately figure out what's doable and what's too hardcore.

Vanessa goes to the extremes of selling her car, unplugging the fridge, and washing her hair with vinegar, but she also does easy things like switching to an all-natural lip balm. All the while, she is forced to reflect on what it truly means to be green.

Whether confronting her environmental hypocrisy or figuring out the best place in her living room for a compost bin full of worms and rotting cabbage, Vanessa writes about her foray into the green world with self-deprecating, humorous, and accessible insight. This isn't a how-to book of tips, it's not about being eco-chic; it's an honest look at what happens when an average girl throws herself into the murkiest depths of the green movement.

What we think about it?

Firstly I'm proud to say that we spotted Vanessa's blog - green as a thistle - almost two years ago and warmly recommended it back then when she was still in the middle of her challenge.

And what a challenge it was! It's actually interesting to review this book now that another challenge is getting some more attention again - No Impact Man - with the new documentary and the upcoming book. What's the difference between the two? in two words: toilet paper. Colin Beavan (aka No Impact Man) didn't use toilet paper at all for a year (Just a hand and a bowl of water). Vanessa on the other hand didn't use toilet paper only for number one (She actually tries to learn more how he did it when they meet in New York...).

But of course it's more than that. The journey of Vanessa Farquharson is most likely a journey most urban young people can identify with, dream about and implement if they only want to. It's a significant journey in terms of results, but it's much more flexible than Collin's journey and in a way it makes it more realistic and more interesting. This flexibility also makes this journey more creative -Vanessa for example does not reject flying but decides to use the bathroom before boarding on a plan to decrease her flight's footprint.

Vanessa is always looking for the right balance - she doesn't want to become a treehugger (in its old version, not the hip cool new one), nor she wants to be what she calls "new age hippies"who "are often so intent about meeting X,Y, and Z standards when it comes to greening Sheri lifestyle but because they couple this with so little skepticism it comes off as flaky or even cultish."

She finds her balance eventually, but in the meantime we have the opportunity not only to learn on the changes she makes to green up her lifestyle, but also on her life, her family and her friends. It gets intimate sometimes, which adds an interesting layer to the "green" core story, and last but not least - it always comes with handful of wit, humor and sarcasm, which makes even the most difficult days bearable and this book a real gem.

Bottom line: it's a great book (and also a great gift), well-written, interesting and it's even really green - it's printed on 100% PCW recycled and FSC certified paper. Just go and get it!


We're giving away our review copy of the book, courtesy of the author, and of course a tree will be planted for the copy!

How you can win? Please add a comment below with an answer the following question: What is the most meaningful step you took so far to green up your lifestyle? Submissions are accepted until Thursday, September 3, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our green books page on Eco-Libris website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: plant a tree for every book you read!

We have a winner on our giveaway of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Renewable Energy for Your Home"

We had a giveaway of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Renewable Energy for Your Home" following the book's review last week.

We asked you to share with us
what renewable energy system you would like to have at home and learned that most of you are interested (not surprisingly) in having solar panels. And we have a winner!

The winner of the giveaway is reader nfmgirl who wants it all, as she explains in her comment:

I always wanted a variety. I wanted to have a place out in the "boonies", and have some solar, some wind (a small windmill, not one of those monsters that explode bats lungs), and a water wheel. I want it all!

Congrats to nfmgirl and thanks to all the other participants. If you didn't win this time, don't worry - you'll have another chance to win a great green book in our next giveaway which will be online later on today.


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting
green reading!