By some strange coincidence I find myself reading Martha Stewart's Housekeeping Handbook, the ultimate instruction manual for creating order, while also reading two works of fiction about the fall of modern civilization. The combination has left me with an irresistible urge to build a chicken coop and convert my flower beds to vegetable gardens!
Into the Forest tells the story of two teen aged sisters surviving at the edge of the state forest in Northern California while society collapses. As, piece by piece, they lose everything, electricity, community, parents, goals, they learn how to depend on themselves, each other, and the forest's provision.
How I Live Now is the story of a New York City girl who travels to visit her Aunt and cousins in rural England, which would have been culture shock enough, but shortly after she arrives London is bombed and suddenly the country is at war, adult supervision is gone, and five teens are on their own in a war torn, enemy occupied country.
Both books left me with a deep uneasiness about the fragility of the things we depend upon. Yet they were both filled with hope and the inspiration of the human spirit rising above the ruins and moving on.