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Siesta Lane: A Cabin, No Running Water, and a Year Living Greenby Amy Minato
Synopses & Reviews
A poet at heart, Amy Minato rejects her life of consumption in Chicago to go back to nature—specifically, to a commune in Oregon, where she rediscovers herself.
"When the urban bustle of Eugene, Ore., got to be too much, poet Minato (The Wider Lens) moved to a woodsy cabin on a commune and absorbed a year's worth of material for this uneven collection of essays and poems. Simplifying her life in the rustic surroundings, she learned that 'it is freeing to emerge, even unwillingly, from the clutch of possessions.' A decomposing raccoon attuned her to the realities of life and death, chopping wood taught her patience, and snails reminded her to slow down. Minato's lyrical prose tosses off beguiling evocations of the landscape and flora around her ('The pheasants come out of the grass like puffs of smoke') in almost every line. Unfortunately, her belletristic penses can seem precious ('What is lost when I deny myself cloud-gazing?') and her denunciations of consumer society sound both strident and shallow ('Why must there be 30 kinds of cereal?... Every minuscule decision takes time and energy, takes me that much further away from my writing, the land, the people I love and my connection with everything deeper'). There is finely wrought nature writing here, but pat assumptions about rural authenticity and the corruptions of society make Minato's year on the land seem curiously unexamined. Photos." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Minato is a poet, writer and teacher based in the Pacific Northwest, and she has written this account of her experiences in a "back-to-nature" community in Oregon where she spent a year without electricity, running water, cell phones or the Internet. The author updates obvious comparisons to Walden Pond with new strategies for living "green," using brief episodic chapters to address her adjustment to rustic living. The author uses original illustrations and plenty of black-and-white photographs to emphasize the beauty of nature and the virtues of a simpler life. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Minato rejects her life of consumption in Chicago to go back to nature--specifically, to a commune in Oregon, where she rediscovers herself. "Siesta Lane" is both a practical case study in living green, and the heartwarming story of a modern idealist who discovers just what it takes to live a year unplugged.
About the Author
Amy Minato is a poet, writer, and teacher. Her book of poems, The Wider Lens, was published in 2004. Minato earned her MFA in creative writing and master's in environmental studies at the University of Oregon. She lives in Portland. This is her first book of nonfiction.
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