What a Difference a Year Makes

If you had a year (more or less) to do anything - what would you do?

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

By Barbara Kingsolver

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When Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. "Our highest shopping goal was to get our food from so close to home, we'd know the person who grew it. Often that turned out to be ourselves as we learned to produce what we needed, starting with dirt, seeds, and enough knowledge to muddle through. Or starting with baby animals, and enough sense to refrain from naming them."

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A Year Without "Made in China" -- One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy

By Sara Bongiorni

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On January 1, 2005, Sara Bongiorni's family embarked on a yearlong boycott of Chinese products. They wanted to see for themselves what it would take, in will power and creativity, to live without the world's fastest growing economy—and whether it could be done at all.

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Walking to Vermont: From Times Square into the Green Mountains--A Homeward Adventure

By Christopher S. Wren

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Newly-retired journalist encounters New England's gnarly nature as he treks far away from Times Square and into the Green Mountains.

From Chapter One:

It was not yet noon and hotter than a July bride in a feather bed when I trudged a half-dozen miles down the wooded northeastern flank of Mount Greylock, which is, at 3,491 feet, about as high as you can go in the state of Massachusetts. The descent, steep and muddy, made my footing precarious under the weight of a pack that felt stuffed with rocks. By the time I emerged from the spruce woods onto Phelps Avenue, a street of tidy wooden houses on the southern fringe of North Adams, I was hurting as hard as I was sweating.

Before I got bitten, I had planned to follow the white blazes marking the Appalachian Trail north across a green footbridge over some railroad tracks and the Hoosic River. Instead, I turned east on Main Street and caught a ride to the regional hospital on the other side of town.

Within minutes, I found myself stretched out on a white-sheeted bed in the hospital's emergency ward, feeling the soothing chill of saline solution dripping antibiotics into my vein through a long needle taped to the top of my hand.

It was not where I expected to be.

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The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession

By Mark Obmascik

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Three birding fanatics compete with each other and themselves to see the most number of birds in and around the U.S. in one year. Where they go, what they do, and how much they spend are almost unbelievable. Talk about obsessed!

Also available on audio.

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A Year in Provence

By Peter Mayle

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They had been there often as tourists. They had cherished the dream of someday living all year under the Provencal sun. And suddenly it happened. Here is the month-by-month account of the charms and frustrations that Peter Mayle and his wife -- and their two large dogs -- experience their first year in the remote country of the Luberon restoring a two-centuries-old stone farmhouse that they bought on sight. From coping in January with the first mistral, which comes howling down from the Rhone Valley and wreaks havoc with the pipes, to dealing as the months go by with the disarming promises and procrastination of the local masons and plumbers, Peter Mayle delights us with his strategies for survival.

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Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living

By Julie Powell

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Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a rundown apartment in Queens, and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life. So, she invents a deranged assignment: She will take her mother's dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and will cook all 524 recipes...in the span of just one year.

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Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology

By Eric Brende

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The author and his spouse spent 18 months in Amish country living without electricity and its dependent technologies. Here he recounts the experience, not only detailing the daily activities and frequent difficulties they found necessary to maintain existence without electricity, but also touting the benefits of such a life and exploring the culture of their adopted community.

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