Looks like I suddenly got a little Christmas spirit. Amazing! Maybe because I got love-bombed TWICE yesterday with gorgeous plates of homemade Christmas cookies. Y’all, my neighborhood is real with the homemade candy. I was joking about that on Twitter the other day. But my neighbors are not joking. My family got homemade candy…in the shape of legos.


So I thought, hey, if you have some radicals in your life, and you think, “What can I give them? They will give me side-eye, or worse, if I give them things that aren’t radical enough.” You can trust me. Here are some great books that every radical needs.

I know I’m way past Cyber Monday for this year — late, late, late! But these are good for non-winter-holiday gift occasions, too, like graduations and birthdays.

Now, remember, to make your radical really happy, buy these direct from the author, or from local bookstores, even if that means they’re late for Christmas. I know that costs a little more, but it’s also super important. Think of it as your healthy world, solidarity economy tithe. And if necessary, tell your radical they aren’t getting anything next year, unless they can teach you to bind your own books with old newspapers.

Have fun!


Radical Homemakers (topical, alternative lifestyles)

This is a must have. If you know anyone who wants to “reclaim domesticity from a consumer culture,” hook them up with this key piece by Shannon Hayes. She creates the movement simultaneous with documenting the movement. Full of incisive commentary and reportage on radical folks across the country.

The New Self-Sufficient Gardener (how-to, gardening, temporal climates)

My favorite gardening book. And believe me, I have read/looked at/studied a lot of gardening books. So that isn’t coming out of nowhere.

Making It: Radical Home-Ec For a Post-Consumer World (how-to, projects, DIY life)

This is the book my husband would have written, if he had written a book. Which, you know, maybe someday he will. But in the meantime, here is a book of fully laid out, simple projects for the tinkering, “let’s do it and stop talking about it!” radical you love.

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit (fiction)

This classic novel for radical thinkers is sort of meta. Also it has been around a while. So maybe perfect for the young, millennial radical. In narrative form, Daniel Quinn explores the narratives that shape the way humans interact with our environment. If you could read the earth like a story, what story would it tell?

Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No To the Culture of Now (topical, Christian religion)

For the radical Christian on your list. Walter Brueggemann pretty much nails consumer culture to the wall, with scripture.

The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities (biography/autobiography)

Got a radical who lives in the city? This one is about urban farming. Relating the personal story of Growing Power CEO Will Allen, it draws all the lines between food and justice, and makes an inspiring case for dismantling racism via food equality.

Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table (children’s picture book)

Also about Will Allen, but this one is for the kids. A big man with a big truck, hands filled with red wriggler worms, optimism, and hope for the future. It’s a winning combination. Who can see what others can’t see?

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer (memoir)

For the literary-minded radical, another take on urban farming. Novella Carpenter is funny, messy, rebellious and feeds her pigs out of restaurant trash cans.

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love (memoir)

And I can’t resist, this is my taste right here…another beautifully written memoir for those who aren’t afraid of dirt. This one is half love story and half farming story. It would be a perfect gift for someone like, umm…ME. (Except don’t really give it me because I already have it.)

The Encyclopedia of Country Living (how-to, gardening and homesteading)

Last but not least, this is my mother’s book. Now classic. It’s a huge thing, really heavy. People always say, “Wow…your mother wrote all that?” Mmm hmm, she did. I saw it. It’s a practical research work dotted with vulnerable, often spiritual essays on the author’s own experiences. (And you might find out something about me!)

Happy shopping!