cover image RURAL RENAISSANCE: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life

RURAL RENAISSANCE: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life

Lisa Kivirist, John D. Ivanko, . . New Society, $22.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-86571-504-2

Ivanko and Kivirist's journey from Chicago advertising careers to proprietorship of a Wisconsin b&b inspired this earnest, engaging book, which is both a manifesto for simple living and a guide for living on a small farm. Many readers won't have the resources—or the stamina—to match the authors' energetic overhaul of Inn Serendipity, which included installing a wind turbine system, solar heating panels, state-of-the-art wood-burning stove, hay bale greenhouse and a new well. But along with their practical stories of successful renovation and the homespun lessons they learned, the authors provide an excellent compendium of information about green issues. "How to" sections guide novices in such mysteries as canning, raising chickens, organic gardening and bluebird trails, while sidebars lead to Web sites, organizations and additional reading on subjects from seeds to ecotourism. At times the couple's mania for living "zero waste" is exhausting, and urban readers may struggle in culling useful tips from this tribute to country life. But if every generation needs its own back-to-the-earth creed, this work is an inspiring clarion call for today's seekers, weaving together the wisdom of earlier "good life" advocates with a uniquely 21st-century take on living well: it may take a village to build your greenhouse, but it takes e-mail to successfully manage your b&b reservations. 50 b&w photos. (July)