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ASK THE BOOKSELLERS: for the person who dreams of going off the grid

Your mom is more than just “mom.” This holiday season, we encourage you to go beyond the gift guide. If you’re looking for personal gift recommendations for the people in your life, with all their unique quirks and interests and dreams, you should shop at indie bookstores.

This week, we asked three Canadian indie booksellers what gifts they would recommend for the person who dreams of going off the grid.

Each recommendation is as unique as the store that made it. Are you shopping for this person in your life? Use the “Shop Local” button to find this book near you or visit your local indie bookstore for their gift recommendations today! 

From Bookmark in Charlottetown, PE:



The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
Written by Cait Flanders
Published by Penguin Random House Canada

In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year. The Year of Less documents Cait's life for twelve months during which she bought only consumables. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.

Cait Flanders is a former binge consumer turned mindful consumer of everything. Through personal stories, she writes about what happens when money, minimalism, and mindfulness cross paths. Cait's story has been shared on Oprah.com, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, and more.





From Laughing Oyster Bookshop in Courtenay, BC:


Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
Written by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Published by Publishers Group West

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. Drawing on her life as an Indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings – asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass – offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world.

Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is the author of Braiding Sweetgrass and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses. She lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.





From World of Maps in Ottawa, ON:

Skoolie!: How to Convert a School Bus or Van into a Tiny Home or Recreational Vehicle
Written by Will Sutherland
Published by Thomas Allen & Son

School buses that have been converted into mobile living spaces are a natural extension of the tiny house craze. Experienced builder Will Sutherland is behind the wheel of this alluring look at life on the road. In addition to profiles of eight fellow skoolie fans and stunning photos of bus interiors designed for simple living, Skoolie! offers a complete, step-by-step guide to the conversion process, from seat removal to planning layout and installing insulation, flooring, and furnishings.

Will Sutherland is a self-taught school bus converter who lives and works in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. He documents his adventures on his Willbillys Facebook page and on Instagram. His conversions have been featured in Road and Track and Popular Mechanics.


Thank you to the booksellers who provided recommendations this time around. We'll be back next week with another edition of Ask the Booksellers!


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