Review Books on Frugal Living
The Quest for a Simple Life
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
This book is a memoir of Orwell's struggles to survive as a a young man in Paris and London. He writes about daily life in the poorer parts of Paris during the early 1900s; the noise, the dirt, the bugs. We follow him through his disappointing attempts to earn money, including work as a dishwasher or "plongeur" in a hotel's kitchen and a dubious restaurant. We learn the dirty behind-the-scenes secrets you don't want to hear of the restaurant industry. This book could very well have been the inspiration for Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. The second half of the book introduces the tramp's way of life in London - vagrancy, begging, and sleeping in the cheapest (and filthiest) accomodations available.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau wants to find the simplest way of life so he can suck the marrow from the bones of life. He says he would be happy to live in a pine box, three feet by six feet, as long as he could wake up every morning in the middle of nature.
Travels with Lisbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets by Lars Eighner
Eighner writes of his experiences being homeless in Austin, Texas and Los Angeles. Great chapter on "Dumpster Diving".
Possum Living by Sally Freed
Dolly Freed wrote this when she was 19 living with her divorced father in a house they had bought cheap and restored suburban Philadelphia. She writes of scavenging for food in supermarket dumpsters, burning pallets and branches in stoves made out of oil drums, and raising rabbits and chickens in the cellar for meat.