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Yearning for a utopia

June 17, 2015

Utopia (n.): a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions.

 

The definition of utopia itself is simple to comprehend. It’s the description of a perfect place to live, a locality where everyone coexists and acts in pursuit of collective security and benefit. It’s a worthy goal to strive for, something we as humans would all arguably enjoy. Yet no such utopia has ever existed for an extended period of time. Why? Because the implementation of such an idea is far from effortless.

 

Both our front and back lists contain titles which explore the pursuits of pure utopias. Each with a slightly different approach, these books comprise a fascinating narrative of coexistence, couched in the Pacific Northwest’s rich history as a haven for communal living.

 

 

Naked in the Woods

My Unexpected Years in a Hippie Commune NakedintheWoods

By Margaret Grundstein

 

In 1970, Margaret Grundstein abandoned an Ivy League education to follow her activist husband into the backwoods of Oregon. There, they lived with ten friends and a rotating cadre of strangers, building what they believed to be a version of utopia. Resources grew scarce and relationships frayed, leaving Grundstein faced with difficult questions of feminism, labor, and love. A gripping memoir, Naked in the Woods forces readers to explore the boundaries of their own human nature and societal expectations.

 

 

Eden Within Eden

Oregon’s Utopian Heritage EdenWithinEden

By James J. Kopp

 

Since the establishment of the Aurora Colony in 1956, Oregon has housed nearly three hundred communal experiments. Ranging from the religious and Socialist groups of the nineteenth century to the ecologically conscious communities of the current century, Kopp’s work serves as the first comprehensive source for the state’s rich utopian history. Eden Within Eden will intrigue readers with its rich detail and encompassing look at broader social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of Oregon’s history.

 

 

Trying Home

The Rise and Fall of an Anarchist Utopia on Puget Sound TryingHome

By Justin Wadland

 

Structured around a series of linked narratives, Kopp’s work traces the history of Home, Washington, an anarchist colony founded in 1896 to promote freedom and tolerance in the midst of a rigid Gilded Age society. Over time, the community became notorious for its open rejection of contemporary values; members were arrested, sent to the Supreme Court, and even turned into private spies. More than a simple history, Trying Home offers insights and reflections from the author as complex as the community about which he writes.

 

 

Building a Better Nest

Living Lightly at Home and in the World BuildingaBetterNest

By Evelyn Searle Hess

 

Surrounded by ever-increasing levels of technology and modernization, how can we lead sustainable and responsible lives? Building a Better Nest delves into this question through the author’s own adventures in home construction.  Writing with unfailing wit and humor, Hess looks for answers in such places as neuroscience, Buddhism, and her ancestral legacy. Sustainability, she discovers, is all about cooperation. Well, that and active attention to the local watershed, and the widening income gap, and disappearing species, and overtaxed resources, and …  Suffice it to say, sustainable living requires a lifetime of cultivation. Follow Hess’s progress and method in Building a Better Nest.

 

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Beginning definition taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

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