Back between 2004-2008 when I was first blogging – I had a notion to take some of my blog posts which were about sustainability, gardening, thrifty living and put them together, expand on them and write a book. I didn’t, of course, and in retrospect am kind of glad because there has been a positive deluge of such books onto the market in recent years – many of which are far superior to anything I would have done!
This book, ‘How Green Are My Wellies?’ by Anna Shepard came out in 2008 – and my friend Sarah emailed me a link saying ‘Someone’s written the book you should have written!’ – when I saw the lovely cover of this book, I could see what she meant.
It took my four years to get around to reading this book – because I had this irrational association between it and my unfulfilled plans and thwarted intentions – I’m neurotic like that….but I got over it, got it out of the library, just finished it and it’s great.
What sets it out from the manifold other ‘how to live greener’ books, is that Anna Shepard has a very engaging, funny voice in her writing. The book is not a finger-wagging ‘do this now’ kind of book. Her tone throughout is one of light-heartedness and adventure. The best ‘green’ books get people inspired by showing what an adventure green-living can be, how it isn’t about guilt and suffering but enrichment and engagement. This book achieves that with Shepards wonderful witty anecdotes and humour.
The book is divided up into months of the year, and she goes through the relevant seasonal ideas and hints. There are all kinds of interesting tips and asides and resources. Also funny throughout the book are her stories about her long-suffering, not-especially-green partner and her slightly dotty but very green mother. I also like the way she admits her failing and flailings and doesn’t pretend to be perfect – she calls herself ‘the eco worrier’ rather than ‘eco-warrior’.
By the time I finished the book, I had learned a lot, resolved to do better, laughed a lot and also, felt like I’d read a warm-hearted memoir, rather than just another green ‘how-to’ manual.
I never did write the green book of my imaginings, but luckily Anna Shepard did! This is a stand-out specimen of the very full ‘green-living’ book market.
(I read a lot of these eco/green/sustainability/frugal living books. If you are interested in hearing about them, I will continue to review them. Let me know in the comments.)