Julianne's Reviews > Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream

Twelve by Twelve by William Powers
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's review
Jul 27, 2011

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bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in May, 2011

My feelings toward this book fluctuated during the reading of it. I picked it up because it seemed to deal with topics I care about (environmental degradation, the evils of consumerism, sustainability, self-denial, hope, despair, confusion, simplicity, the big meanings concealed within small things), but I often found myself preoccupied with trying to decide whether I liked the author or not. He and I have a lot in common. We both read labels in the grocery store and think of urban sprawl as a menace. We both feel ambivalent about air travel (It's great to go places, but it sucks to use so much carbon to do it.) and would like to preserve the world's cultural as well as physical diversity. We probably even make fun of the nightly news and TV commercials in the exact same way. However, I think maybe the difference between me and William Powers is that I know I'm unbearable to watch TV with... I almost can't stand myself when the commercials come on. Yes, they're annoying and manipulative and cynical, but so's what comes out of my mouth when I watch them. Powers makes a lot of judgments in this book, and although he recognizes his tendency to judge and begins to struggle against it as a result of living at the 12 x 12, I found that his judgments distracted me from the larger "journey," the ideas, and the insights.
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