This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

Cultivate Simple 53: Reading is FUN

November 11th, 2013

On this weeks episode talk about some of the books we love to read and listen to. We also answer some questions from last weeks podcast. If you add any of these books to your personal library, be sure to use our Amazon Affiliate Link. It doesn’t cost you anything but put a bit of change toward the blog and podcast.

For those of you looking to increase your cast iron collection and want a larger pan, I highly recommend the Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan. It’s a nice size for cooking loads of food, works beautifully for roasting in the oven and I use it on the stovetop for heating up our pizza.

For those of you wanting the skillet cookie recipe here it is: One Pan Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

Some of Susy’s favorites:

Some of Brian’s favorites:

Classics that we LOVE

29 Comments to “Cultivate Simple 53: Reading is FUN”
  1. DebbieB on November 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I’m a fellow Tolkein fan. I saved my allowance as a pre-teen to get paperback editions of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.The Hobbit was the first book I remember reading for pleasure – my reading teacher in 4th grade had us take turns reading it out loud, which meant we had to try the songs and do crazy voices. So much fun! I try to do a re-read at least every other year. I’m so happy that they’ve done justice to the movies – I think they’re fantastic.

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  2. Misti on November 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I used to be a very voracious reader but now that has slowed down considerably. In the last few years I’ve really taken to non-fiction. Currently I’m working through four different books: My Life In France, The War of Art, Thrashing About with God, and Stand Up That Mountain…all non-fiction. I shouldn’t mention the Marjory Stoneman Douglas/Everglades bio that is a TOME that I’ve started 2.5 years ago and pick through on occasion. Some day I will finish that one.

    I loved The Dirty Life! I’ve tried reading a couple of other memoir farm books but they were poorly written, however the most recent farm memoir was Turn Here: Sweet Corn…you should read it.

    As for fiction, I got into Jane Austen and started working my way through her novels, I love Diana Gabaldon and her time-traveling novels, L.M. Montgomery—any of her books, Phillipa Gregory. I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in anticipation of the movie and it really shook me so I haven’t managed to get to the others in the series. Graphic, graphic, graphic.

    Reply to Misti's comment

    • Misti on November 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      I meant to make it clear, Turn Here: Sweet Corn is actually really well written compared to others.

      Reply to Misti's comment

    • Susy on November 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Brian listened to the Dragon Tattoo series and we watched the movies (the European ones with subtitles).

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. DebbieB on November 11, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Also, I made the mistake of sharing the link to the pan cookie recipe, and now my entire family is clamoring for this.

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

    • Susy on November 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Too funny!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Claire on November 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Oh my gosh- THANK YOU so much for addressing my question from the last podcast. You’ve provided some great suggestions that I will enthusiastically look into. You guys brought up a lot of the same concerns about the “system” that I have, too, so it’s really helpful and enlightening to hear your conclusions (and the ongoing thought processes) when faced with the same issues that we’re facing right now ourselves. Thank you, thank you! (And of course I know that all opinions are only yours, and you’re not liable for anything ;)
    On a lighter note, I was wondering if you’d shared your ultimate all-time favorite pizza dough recipe yet? I found a pizza stone on sale and bought it, per your recommendation, and I thought it’d be fun to start out with the very best recipe! :D

    Reply to Claire's comment

    • Susy on November 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      I havne’t shared the recipe yet, I’ll try to sit down and measure out and write down the recipe soon. Mr Chiots is all for that so we can enjoy pizza again.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on November 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I have The Dirty Life sitting on my nightstand. I haven’t read it yet, was saving it for a winter read. Glad to hear you like it.

    I know I’ve said it before but thank you again for the pod casts. I don’t always get to listen on the day you post, but eventually I get my headphones out and zone out with you both. I look forward to them, even if I’m a few days (or a week behind).

    Reply to Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary's comment

  6. Mandie on November 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I read the Dirty Life, enjoyed it! Have either of you read Trap Lines North: A True Story of the Canadian Woods by Stephen Meader? My dad asked for it for Christmas, seems like something you may enjoy.

    I’m actually looking for a book on beekeeping, as we just bought our first home and I’m hoping to get bees in the spring. Do you have any suggestions? I’ve purchased and read many of the books that you mention on the blog and podcast – I just put anything that sounds remotely interesting on my amazon wish list :)

    I really appreciate all the work you’ve put into the blog and podcast, it inspires me often. Thank you!

    Reply to Mandie's comment

    • Susy on November 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      I haven’t read that book, I’ll have to add it to my list. I’m hoping to get loads of reading time in this winter.

      We do have a few books on beekeeping, I’ll look them up and we can discuss them next week.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Lexa on November 11, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Thanks so much for your reading lists. Unfortunately Susy, great minds think alike and I have already read all of the ones you posted! :) I was laughing out loud with the Bucolic Plague. One written in the same vein, that you might also enjoy is “At least in the city someone would hear me scream” by Wade Rouse. Another really fun read.

    Reply to Lexa's comment

    • Susy on November 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      Have you read: We Took to the Woods, also great.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Wendy on November 11, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    Enjoyed hearing your choices :) I will have to check out the Bucolic Plague–I’ve been thinking I need to get a little lighter reading material. I’m much like you, Susy, in that I almost always read nonfiction; I always like to be learning or researching something new.

    I also really enjoyed hearing your perspectives on retirement/investing–it gave me a new perspective and a lot to think about. Thanks!

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  9. Reid on November 12, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Another book that sounds interesting is. “We took to the Woods”, by Louise Dickinson Rich.

    Reply to Reid's comment

    • amy on November 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      I own this book and it is excellent!

      Reply to amy's comment

  10. Becky on November 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you both for tackling what I know was a difficult question! I’ll be adding several of these books to my Christmas wish list this year!

    Reply to Becky's comment

  11. Siobhan on November 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Love the podcast and look forward to it each week. I’m asking my husband to make a donation for my christmas present. What would be better than a year of podcasts?

    Since you were looking for suggestions, I was wondering about your thoughts on education. I know Susie had a nontraditional education for grade school. How has that impacted your life? How was it to adjust? You met at college? What’s your take on college? I hear a lot about how university education may be expensive and obsolete. Since my oldest is headed that direction next fall, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Keep up the great work!

    Reply to Siobhan's comment

    • Susy on November 12, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      That sounds like a great gift idea to me!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Elyse on November 12, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Yes! The audiobooks of Lord of the Rings with Rob Inglis are the best! We listen to them on road trips.

    Reply to Elyse's comment

  13. amy on November 12, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Susy~you and I run right along the same lines….I have read them all:) Brian~you and my husband run right along the same lines….too too funny! Barbara Kingsolver is the cousin to my best friend and was born and raised right down the road from here. We are on the road quite a bit and listen to tons of audio books. We would recommend next time your on the road……Blue Highways: A Journey Into America: William Least Heat-Moon. We love love Tolkien and have read all of his works….our 12 year old has been working his way through his Lord of the Rings books….It is part of his homeschooling curriculum he chose for himself. We have listened to all of the audio books….especially love The Hobbit!!! Can’t wait until Christmas day to see part two of the Hobbit:)

    Reply to amy's comment

  14. PennyAshevilleNC on November 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

    We love everything Bill Bryson has written. He reads them himself on the audiobooks. Great to travel with. “A Walk In the Woods” is a good one to read in a few sittings.
    I love all of these recommendations- can’t wait to go to the library!

    Reply to PennyAshevilleNC's comment

  15. Dorothy Donatello on November 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Just a quick note I thought you might like this book The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch it makes you want to open your own bookstore

    Reply to Dorothy Donatello's comment

  16. Amy P on November 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    So about Audiobooks, I am a HUGE fan. I have a long commute and always have two loaded up. One fun one and one non-fiction one that will teach me something.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of it but is my go-to for all audiobooks. I have a subscription where I pay $23 a month and can download 2 full length unabridged books every month. But the best part of the membership is their paperback book sales. A few times a year they sell them for $5 – $10 each. I stock up then and get a pile of them. If you listen to a lot of them it is worth the membership.

    Also, they recently added a new section of Great Courses books, all educational ones on various topics that seem to be pretty good.

    Reply to Amy P's comment

  17. kathie on November 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Oh my peas- love Susy’s suggestions and read those a few times :-) I’ve reserved Mr. Chiots’ suggestions and am completely immersed in One Second After (great, fast read!)


    Reply to kathie's comment

  18. CW on November 19, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Just caught up with the podcasts today, and wanted to post a quick suggestion that you check out Margaret Atwood’s (recently completed) trilogy of Oryx & Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam. Post-apocalyptic. Gardeny (especially in The Year of the Flood). And excellent.

    Reply to CW's comment

    • Susy on November 20, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Thanks for the recommendation, we’ll definitely check it out. Perhaps a good audiobook for our trip back to Ohio for the holidays.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. Reid on November 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    You guys were wondering if students read classics anymore. I teach at a classical school called St. Croix Preparatory Academy, in Stillwater, MN.

    Students are immersed in classics from grades 5-12. In 5th grade they read the Secret Garden. in 6th grade they do Shakespeare, The Hound of Baskerville, and Prince and the Pauper, to name a few. 8th graders read The Hobbit and To Kill a Mockingbird. In high school they read Pride and Prejudice and the Scarlet Letter, amongst others.

    The school has a Cannon book list that we commit to reading.

    Reply to Reid's comment

  20. Amy P on February 9, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    I just finished “The Dirty Life” it was a great book that brought me back to some of the memories from growing up on a small poultry farm. It also reminded me that, for me, small farmers are someone I will wholeheartedly support but never want to become. That style of life is not for me but I can fully respect those who are willing and able to do that work! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Reply to Amy P's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:
Quote of the Day: Jerry Traunfeld

"Fresh herbs offer an astounding palette of vibrant and glorious tastes, but their delights go beyond the flavors they lend...