They say it takes a village to raise a child. For me, it was a village… of books.
However, a select few had the greatest hand in shaping me. Of the hundreds I have devoured over the years, these rise immediately to the surface.
The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture
If you know me at all, you know I have a tendency to walk sideways.
My life wanderings have been illogical, at best. However, I still feel a sense of pride in the haphazard tapestry I’ve woven over the years. It’s mine, and no one can take that from me.
I came across Wendell Berry, like most authors in this list, purely by accident. I was living in West Virginia at the time, and a close friend had strongly endorsed the book to me. From its pages came a calm, quiet, sure voice, charting out a philosophy I didn’t even know we needed.
Within these pages, I learned the history of the the atrocities committed against the land, against the farmer & worker, against ourselves. Like a prophet crying out in the wilderness, it decried our thoughtless quest to economize everything in sight, devaluing relationships on every order: with our communities, with our work, with our world.
Coming away from this (and several other) of Berry’s works, the world outside that had once seemed dormant and passive came alive. The stories of the abused land, of the dying communities, of the lost populations — they all began to tie together.
Because it’s all connected.