Thursday, March 5, 2015

THE BIG TINY by Dee Williams

In THE BIG TINY author Dee Williams relates her life recovering from congestive heart failure by moving from a big, old rambling house to a tiny one. The memoir is a charming and often funny reflection on life from the point of view of someone who was forced to think more about it than the average bear. Narrator Heather Henderson sounds just like someone whom you might imagine questions how crazy it is that our culture wastes so much time, effort and money in order to maintain a huge house and yard. And why? she asks. Are they any happier? She discovers that owning less means less stress, and more freedom. This means more attentive awareness and connection to people and animals, more free time with them, more savings, and therefore more happiness. So less does equal more. It goes in direct opposition to the American cultural ideal of big being best: the Big Mac, Big Gulp, the rapper or governor's mansion, limo, and obscenely huge ego. But that model is not sustainable, and results only in more violence, war, pollution, and disease. (See also the new cable show TINY HOUSE NATION.) She has fun with some kids who call her "homeless," and indeed many corporate CEOs might call her that too, even as they usher the middle class toward extinction. Because Williams points to actually being alive (even with grief) instead of continuing the madness of the walking dead, working 9-to-5 in order to be considered "normal" (with a bunch of meaningless stuff to define our "worth"), I choose it as Audiobook of the Month. Like a modern day Walden, it is a must hear. 

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