Book Review

The One-Straw Revolution Masanobu Fukuoka
Masanobu Fukuoka is one of the most radical and influential agricultural thinkers of this century. The One-Straw Revolution describes the events that led to the development of Fukuoka’s concept of ‘natural farming.’ The book deals with his farming methods, which is based on four principles: No cultivation, no chemical fertiliser or prepared compost, no weeding by tillage or herbicides, and no dependence on chemicals. He emphasises the basic principles of non-cultivation and non-chemical farming by the incorporation and controlled use of weeds rather than their eradication. This way of farming natural, he says, “exists forever as the wellspring of agriculture…no matter the age.” He claims that after more than 20 years of applying this method to his land, his soil has only become richer every year, and his yields have increased consistently as well. Though his book is not exclusively about farming, he also expands on philosophy, history, nutrition, intentional communities, and sustainability. This book, from the very beginning, not only shows us sustainable farming techniques, ways to improve soil and many others, but in a way shows us how to prevent the problems that science and new-day technology created for us. In short, The One Straw Revolution will probably just confirm for you what you already know, and moreover, be an inspiration for us to work on the right path. I would highly recommend it, if for no other reason than to offer a very different view of agriculture and gardening.

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A House in Bali Colin McPhee

Colin McPhee is a Canadian composer and a musicologist who delved into the idea of ethnomusicology. Under his study, he looked specifically at ethnomusicology in Bali. In this book he chronicles his every move in Bali to let readers know what he learnt and made of everything that related to ethnomusicology. McPhee lived in Bali for almost 10 years, and in the beginning of the book, where he notes down the first things he notices when lands in the port town of Buleleng, “From somewhere came the sound of sweet crystal music; of a gong, and above it thin chime-like melody, commencing, stopping, commencing once again.”
McPhee wraps his writing around the rich sensory details he has experiences and transports his readers from wherever they are and right into the heart of Bali. He manages to glorify the Balinese culture, traditions and spirit of the people with his humour while describing their lifestyle through interpretations of his interactions with them. During the time that he was writing this book, Bali wasn’t anywhere close to being a holiday destination for anybody. However, after the book, people visited Bali to basically verify the authenticity of the experiences he had so carefully detailed. Much to the readers’ surprise, they experienced the same and much more. This book is a must-read for people interested in music, culture, tradition, lifestyle and travel. A House in Bali wraps you around the passion, obsession and need to discover the land of Bali. Released in 1947, it remains to date one of the most amazing detailings of Bali.
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