Helen (Helena/Nell)'s Reviews > Radical Simplicity

Radical Simplicity by Dan Price
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May 19, 2011

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Read in May, 2011

I put off reading this book because I disliked some of the page formatting so much.

I bought it because Amazon suggested I might like it. These suggestions are both a pain and rather interesting, because in the end, I did quite like it, but I certainly would never have bought it without Amazon's suggestion.

The front cover is sweet. It is simple, with childlike lettering and pictures. Inside the simple formatting in places just looks twee, and I instantly distrusted the subtitle: 'Creating an Authentic Life'. Even (or perhaps especially) the word 'authentic' these days smacks of dodgy dealing.

Inside, I was all right with the black print on white or grey pages. I was not all right with the white typeface on green pages. I was very definitely alienated by the handwriting font on greenish pages with watermarks and pictures. I hated white typeface on black pages with green pictures. Please GOD save me from green typeface on black page underlined in white and toped with a black and white photograph.

Enough already.

Apart from all this, which is truly AWFUL and ruins the book, this little book is written by a quite peculiar man who loves making houses. You remember making dens when you were small? He has taken that idea throughout his life and it is entirely fascinating. He left his wife and kids living in a house and went off to live in a teepee. He makes all sorts of dwelling places, simple and simpler. At the end of the book he's living in a burrow, like a hobbit, being part of the earth. He has diagrams and plans. He loves making small and safe places to live.

Yeah -- he's probably on the spectrum, as they say. But then maybe we all are, to some degree, because I loved the idea of the houses, the planning, the making, the finding safe little places outside to live in, to think in, to get close to whatever is natural.

Whoever persuaded him to format the book in this way should be taken somewhere in the desert and forced to live in an airconditioned hotel for at least ten years. It is totally wrong and it really put me off. But Dan Price is quite interesting. The whole idea is rather interesting. It explains to me why I always liked camping and why a bit of me still longs to do that, although my other half (like his) does not. And I'm not ditching everything to spend my life planning alternative dwelling places, after all.

However, I think where we live has some sort of corroboration in our heads. That is to say, our houses outside have some connection with our brains inside. When we walk round them, we walk round our inner space as well. I dream a lot about attics and cellars.

So I'm glad I read this book, and it will stay with me a lot more than other books I thought presented a whole lot better.

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