1. John Seymour's The New Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency. The self-sufficiency bible, stuffed with practical advice and instructions you can use as well as inspiring images and texts that make me yearn for 5 acres of my own.
2. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie. As a child I watched the TV show that was loosely based upon it, and even then I wanted to be Laura and have her life.
3. Linda Cockburn's Living The Good Life is the true account of an Australian family's year without spending - they gained their electricity from solar panels, their water from rainfall catchment (during a year of severe drought), and their food from the garden and a rather cranky goat. It's an easy and engaging read, and inspiring, too.
4. The Reader's Digest's Food From Your Garden. Now out of print, I've had this book for years. I used to make the recipes from it, but mostly I looked at the drawings of vegetable plots, chicken houses, beehives, and wish I could have all those things. And now I do.
5. Chas Griffin's Scenes From A Smallholding. This is Chas's account of his family's adventures buying a smallholding in Wales and trying to live off the land. Most chapters are laugh-out loud funny, and a few are laugh-till-you-cry funny. Buy it even if you have no interest in self-sufficiency at all. Just buy it because it's so good.
6. Louisa May Alcott's Little Women isn't about growing veg or milking cows, but it has always inspired me. Although she describes clearly the hardship her family experienced, she also tells of the closeness between her sisters and mother, their creative and enthusiastic solutions to their deprivation, and the great love that suffuses the book.
7. Jan McHarry's Reuse, Repair, Recycle always fills me with ideas about how to get the most of out my possessions. "Thrift" is often associated with deprivation, but in fact the opposite is true. If you are thrifty you can get twice as much stuff for half as much money. This book shows you how.
8. Johanna Spyri's Heidi is another childhood favourite that sowed a seed in me. I found the descriptions of Heidi's life in the mountains with Alm-Grandfather and Peter the goat-herd much more apealling than her time in a fine house in the city of Frankfurt. Did I love these children's books I've mentioned because even at that age I already yearned for a simple life? Or do I yearn for a simple life because I loved these books when I was young? Who knows.
9. Craft books. Any and all craft books. My mum had a few of these when I was young, and I used to love looking at them and wishing for the toys and clothes and other things in the photos. I never got the same feeling from mum's home shopping catalogues.
10. Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. No, just kidding.