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Reviews

"WILLA Award- winning writer Evelyn Searle Hess has given us a beautiful new book.  With the voice of a poet, she shows that it is possible to walk in beauty, even on a muddy trail.  With the creativity of a gardener, she shows how love grows and flowers, even on a winter day.  With the wisdom of an elder, she shows that it is possible for a person, no matter how tested, to live a life she believes in. With all the courage in her great soul, she shows that a person can be both honest and joyous, even in a reeling world." —Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Wild Comfort and Moral Ground

"Reading Evelyn Hess is like sitting with friends around a campfire on a chilly autumn night, hands wrapped around a warm mug of tea, staring into the flames while listening to a good story. Hess' level-headed, open-hearted encounters with the world remind us of our responsibility to be good neighbors to everything in nature. Building a Better Nest is quietly eloquent and plainly wise." —Charles Goodrich, author of The Practice of Home

"With this compelling, philosophical memoir of house-building, Evelyn Searle Hess joins the likes of Charles Goodrich, Michael Pollan, and Henry David Thoreau. Inspiring, informative, and entertaining, Hess’s stories draw the reader into thinking about sustainable living, low-cost and mindful construction practices, and energetic aging. If “ordinary folks,” like the author herself, read Building a Better Nest and take its messages to heart, our society and the planet will be much better off." —Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, author of Seeking Awareness in American Nature Writing and Going Away to Think

"Evelyn Hess’s nests—family history, the house she and her husband are building, their 21 foothill acres, and the greater house of nature—fit one-in-the-other not as neatly as Russian dolls. There are obstacles, cross-purposes, disappointments, small disasters, and she learns from every one. 'I eat my failures,' she attests, and makes compost of them to nourish her way further. She is living an audacious, lifelong, deeply conscious journey into self and place—or better, into self in place. Many of us share her values but lack her gumption.  We are lucky to have her useful and gracefully written first two books." —John Daniel, author of Rogue River Journal and Of Earth: New and Selected Poems


"Hess’s respect and love for the earth is palpable as she recounts her journey of creating a sustainable home, mindful of the impact on her planetary family each step of the way. She indeed builds a better nest as she guides us through a captivating tapestry of familial, cultural, and economic history, from the late 1800s to the present—each story adding to and strengthening the integrity of her own nest. Hers is an empowering example of living with awareness and humility at any age and stage of life." —Mary Christina Wood, author of Nature’s Trust

"Recommended for the reader who desires to be challenged, frustrated and provoked to laugh and cry all from one tale." -- Kory Bowlin, Eugene Weekly


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