Friday, December 14, 2012

Green book review (and a giveaway!): Closer to the Ground by Dylan Tomine

I'm sure you've heard of outdoor clothing company Patagonia. For 40 years, they have outfitted hardcore climbers to casual day hikers. But puffy jackets and fleece-wear aside: did you know that Patagonia is also in the book business?

We are excited to share with you today one of Patagonia Books' brand new eBook offerings, and we're even more excited to have a giveaway of one digital copy of the book we're reviewing today! See details below.

So today we have the pleasure to review a great book from Patagonia Books: Closer to the Ground by Dylan Tomine.

What this book is about?

Closer to the Ground is the deeply personal story of a father learning to share his love of nature with his children, not through the indoor lens of words or pictures, but directly, palpably, by exploring the natural world as they forage, cook and eat from the woods and sea.

This compelling, masterfully written tale follows Dylan Tomine and his family through four seasons as they hunt chanterelles, fish for salmon, dig clams and gather at the kitchen table, mouths watering, to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Closer to the Ground captures the beauty and surprise of the natural world—and the ways it teaches us how to live—with humor, gratitude and a nose for adventure as keen as a child’s.

It is a book filled with weather, natural history and many delicious meals. A compelling story of raising children to know the natural world. Captures the adventure of foraging, cooking and eating close to home. Finely crafted narrative of outdoor life through the seasons. Originally published 2012; eBook published 2012.

Our review:

I live a fine line between city and country. I work in the city, but live very differently, within my rural property. It’s one of those fine lines in life. The book, Closer to the Ground , by Dylan Tomine, is a book on how he and his wife and two children don’t live that fine line. They instead live the life of nature as best they can.

I’m a bit jealous to be honest. In this book we get to spend a year of this life as a fly on the wall watching and learning and wondering if we could do it ourselves and do it even half as well as they do. The life stories of crabbing and clamming and digging for oysters; the constant worry and year round back breaking work of putting up wood for heat; the mushroom and yes, deer hunting; fishing for salmon and anything and everything else in season; gardening and “gathering”, the good, the bad, the tearful. We follow along to see and feel both the wins and the losses of each of these events.

As the reader, we get to meet fun and interesting people, both in passing and through memories. There is a chapter / inner debate on the benefits and detriments in our world footprint featuring a Prius and an old beat up Montero. The issues are there. The worries of the world are there. They are more palatable because they are not shoved down you throat with demands. This author shows you all the sides of the issues he faces every day, whether its over deforestation or burning wood for heat instead of using electric energy; or growing your own food instead of getting the hybrids and grocery store selections; or going out and fighting to catch fresh fish and dig fresh clams instead of worrying about hormone laced store bought meats.

Again, the issues are apparent, but they are there within the story. Not just facts thrown at you and expected to take root. His life looks hard and wet and cold and backbreaking, but it also looks wonderful from the outside looking in. This book is such a fantastic read. I absolutely loved it. High praise coming from me, but true all the same. I say again, I loved it.

You can purchase here (both in paper and electronic formats).


We're giving away one digital copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher, 
Patagonia Books!

How you can win? Very simple. All you have to do is to add a comment to this post with a reply to the following question: What is your favorite outdoor activity? (and why..). We will have a raffle on Friday, Dec 21, 5:00PM EST between all the readers that will reply by then. The winner will be announced the following day.

Raz @ Eco-Libris