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A Place In The Woods

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  536 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Helen Hoover and her husband, Adrian, were trailblazers in the American back-to-the-land movement. Well ensconced in their professional lives in Chicago, they made the decision to follow their dream of a simple existence, pulling up their stakes and plunging into the wilds of northern Minnesota.
A Place in the Woods, first published in 1969, describes how the Hoovers gradua
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published May 12th 1969)
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P. Lundburg
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Weird rating for this one: To non-nature readers, this would be a 2. For fans of nature writing, this would be a 4. For you die-hard nature freaks, it'd be a 5. ;-)

This book is not destined to be a widespread classic, but it is a good upper-midwest nature literature fan's must-read. Ms. Hoover and her husband wanted a place in the woods, and bought a cabin that they spent the coming years upgrading and falling more and more in love with. Well, more the location than the cabin itself. They found
Sep 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: minnesota
I picked this up at least a year ago at a book sale at the church I used to work at. I finally got around to reading it on vacation in Ely.

Written in the late 1960s, A Place in the Woods is Ms. Hoover's account of the first year she and her husband spent in their new home in the north woods of Minnesota, in 1954.

I have to admit I didn't know how lovely the book was going to be. I expected it to be full of dated opinions on nature and women's roles. I was happily surprised to learn that Helen Hoo
Randall Reynolds
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Having also owned 2 mountain homes it was as if I had written it myself! I have read it over and over through the years. I highly recommend it to anyone who has wanted to experience owning a 'cabin in the woods'. From the sound of the wind sweeping through the fir trees around your mountain home, to the treasured forest friends who come to your deck to be fed, to the plop of snow as it falls on your roof on winter's night-- Helen Hoover reveals a ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I can review A Place in the Woods in a way that will make you realize just how good this book is, so do yourself a favor and please read it. Written in 1969, Helen Hoover details the trials, tribulations, and happiness she and her husband experienced with their own cabin in the woods. This book stands apart from many others of the same genre because she recounts all of this honestly and beautifully, including the positives and negatives, along with the hard work of it all. There ar ...more
This is the story of how a suburban couple leaves all the comforts of modern civilization, in order to experience the beauty of the Minnesota wilderness. The book takes on a "Little House on the Prairie" quality, as Helen Hoover details the struggles she and her husband go through as they learn to cope without electricity, close neighbors, and access to the amenities of modern life. She describes the breathtaking scenery beautifully, but her true gift is in bringing the animals to... (show more ...more
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I got this book many years ago as one of those Readers Digest condensed books. I loved it back then & years later I struggled trying to recall the authors name & the name of the book but it wasn't until the internet came along that I was able to find it.
With nothing more to go on except I was sure The Woods was a part of the title - I finally found it & was able to read it again. And again I found I loved this book.
Helen & her husband Adrian leave their jobs & the city to live in the woods of Mi
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
There are many books written by people who decide to pursue a lifestyle closer to nature, but rarely has there ever been a couple so inept as author Helen Hoover and her husband Adrian. They gave up their jobs in the city of Chicago, and purchased a cabin in northern Minnesota in 1954, without being aware that they needed a source of heat during the winter. I kid you not. Nevertheless, she is honest about their failings, and writes very entertainingly. The couple resided in the back woods for 16 ...more
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked this book because it fit the bill of my people-who-get-away-to-the-country books (a book to help me dream of joining them) but this book was actually about getting away from it ALL. Wow! Two people who worked in Chicago chucking all the mod cons to live in a summer cabin in Minnesota year 'round. A SUMMER CABIN, people. Great writing and a glimpse into an experience I would love to theory. Thank god we can read books and feel like we've done it without having to actually do i ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Helen Hoover's writing about nature is exquisite and unlike anything I have read before. I could smell the pine and the balsam, I could feel the lake breezes on my face and sense the quiet of snow falling in the forest, I could vividly picture the wildlife.
In addition to writing about the beauty and serenity of living off the grid in the forest, she wrote about the hardships she and her husband endured. I know I couldn't do what they did and am more appreciative of things like electricity, cen
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love to read accounts of people who set out to live somewhere new, particularly when it is in a remote and rustic location. This account of the Hoover's moving to northern Minnesota is one of my favorites. It describes the many struggles and triumphs the author and her husband faced after leaving successful careers as engineers to live a rustic lifestyle in the north woods. I love this book and have read it several times.
I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, but it was wonderfully refreshing. It doesn't pretend to be philosophical but there are some profound insights into Man's relationship with the natural world. It almost made me want to move to the Big Woods somewhere.
JoAnne Monahan
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book will have you wishing to live with someone you love in the woods far away from all the stress and hassle of our regular lives.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, nature-loving
author's descriptions of nature are amazing, and her husband did the artwork to boot. I really enjoyed this book! perfect for nature lovers or back-to-the-basics living enthusiasts.
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this years ago and now, in the enforced quiet of Covid 19 quarantine, it was the perfect time to re-read this story about a couple who put the noise and busy pace of City life behind them for a life in the wild.
Jean Carlton
I live in Minnesota and have a cabin in the woods in which to escape during the warm months, even then only for a few days or a week, so I found myself picturing our place as she described their adventures. I know that my husband and I would never choose such a path or be able to stick it out if we tried. Helen and Ade had to be equally dedicated to the idea of doing without such things as warmth, electricity and reliable access to food. And they sure did seem to get along just fine. All the tim ...more
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm doing that thing I do where I read two or three books at a time. Never ends well. I need discipline...

* I finished this book a week or so ago. I loved it. The author tells the the true story of her first year living off the grid with her husband in northern Minnesota, after a somewhat rash decision to quit their jobs and just do it. It was awesome. What an experience. And, that fact that this all happened in the fifties was even more amazing. I hope to live that dream someday...
Donna Hendricks
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book I love--a real couple, Helen and Ade, who are looking for something--a cabin in the woods. They found just the place: a rustic cabin with lots of problems: a bear tried to get in the trap door, they had to carry up water from Lake Superior, there was no full size bed. Oh well, it was perfect for them and they bought it. I just loved all the details and how they found ways to survive in the wilderness.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The perfect book to finish on Earth Day. But, oh boy - while I deeply loved this story I am not about to head off to the wilds of Northern Minnesota. The honesty with which this book is written makes you realize just how hard life without amenities is. The writing is beautiful. I highly recommend.
Jane Wolfe
Jun 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Hoover writes honestly about creating a home in the North Woods in the late 1950's. She certainly doesn't romanticize living off the grid. Hoover's thoughts in the forward about writing about animals, including anthropomorphism, are thought provoking. Adrian Hoover's beautiful pen and ink illustrations are a treat. I found this book (nature writing) to be an easy summer read.
Dec 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful look at living in the northwoods of MN in the mid 1950's on a shoe string budget and when your background is big city Chicago. The description of the seasons, the ups and downs of learning to live in the wilds, the introspection of the author makes it a terrific read.
Brad Erickson
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Absolutely delightful; a surprise and wonderful Christmas gift from my wife. If you are interested in Minnesota northwoods living, and in particular, roughing it out there, this is a good read. Of course, I don't think anyone is living like this anymore.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
I found this book at a sale at the library. Its a fast read and a very nice story about living 'away from it all' and really being forced to intertwine nature/the seasons into your day-to-day life.
May 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Learned a lot about nature and animals from this book. I wish I could read more of hers but she's no longer with us. I got lost in this book...very enjoyable
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a fun read! The true adventures of a couple who leave Chicago for the quiet woods. No neighbors for miles, they must learn to rely on themselves and each other.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homesteading
This book was a delight! Very enjoyable. I loaned this from a friend and will order it for myself soon.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: project-2014

There IS a natural rhythm to a simplified life and there IS a wondering why regarding hyper civilized living…a pleasant, easy and rewarding read…

Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I hated for this to end...I felt I was living their lives for a while...heaven! I usually only rate it 5 stars if I will read it again...that doesn't happen very often.
Lisa Marchetti
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorites. This and "The Gift of the Deer" by her are just lovely, well written books. It doesn't hurt that they are set in Northern Minnesota.
Lee Yahnker
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it
It's odd to review a book that seems so full of life only to discover the author died 30 years ago. Cute but simplistic story of a couple living off the land and their encounters with wildlife.
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book that describes the best parts of winter in the North woods.
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