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The Circumference Of Home: One Man's Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life Hardcover – Apr 9 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 9 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306817748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306817748
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #914,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Parker J. Palmer, author of A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, and The Courage to Teach
“A wondrously compelling account of one man’s yearlong adventure—written by a man gifted with a sharp eye, keen mind, and open heart. Hoelting tells his story in a way that is both intimate in detail and vast in its reach; contemplative in mood and yet challenging to the spirit; uniquely his story and yet rich with implications for the reader’s life. This book sits on my shelf next to Thoreau, Annie Dillard, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, and Aldo Leopold, because that is the literary ecosystem to which Hoelting’s work belongs.”

Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
“The world looks different when you’re walking through it, not driving. You notice, and as this fine book makes clear, some of the things you notice are very sad. But you also see the world as it is, which can't help but be beautiful.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Coming to Our Senses, Arriving at Your Own Door, and Letting Everything Become Your Teacher
“[A] moving and brave narrative of place, perception, and participation. . . . all this in the service of awakening to our predicament as a species, against the backdrop of one person deciding to radically explore his relationship to the living planet we call home and the mounting fever it is suffering because of us. The circumference of this circle includes us all.”

Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto
“Kurt Hoelting—fisherman, carpenter, mountain climber, storyteller, and Zen adept—is well-equipped for this adventure. He emerges from his low-carbon year feeling more fit spiritually as well as physically, and more hopeful about the human future. Readers will also come away feeling hopeful about our capacity for living more deeply in place and more conservingly on the planet.”

Norman Fischer, poet and Zen priest, former abbot at the San Francisco Zen Center, author of
Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer’s Odyssey to Navigate Life’s Perils and Pitfalls
“Beyond the disturbing news of climate change looms the inescapable fact that we are all personally, viscerally, involved. How to understand this. What to do. The Circumference of Home is one man’s answer. Hoelting’s love for the landscapes and seascapes of his native Pacific Northwest transforms the grief of global warming into an adventure of the body and spirit. Written in the best tradition of American nature writing from H. D. Thoreau to Gary Snyder, this wonderful book will bring you deep pleasure—and hope.”

Booklist, 5/1/10
“What could have been a simple green guide to local living is deepened by Hoelting’s keen observations, wry sense of humor, and willingness to consider a region’s past and present when assessing its future. From biology to geology to the cultures of multiple nations, he cuts a broad swath through a relatively small area…More reflective then any rant against modern living, Hoelting’s unique study of what local really means is accessible to any urban dweller.”, 4/20/10
“If you’ve been wondering what practices could bring you closer to an earth-friendly lifestyle, reading The Circumference of Home would be a good place to start.”

Curled Up with a Good Book, June 2010

“A wilderness guide and commercial fisherman, Hoelting is in a better position than most to track the rapidly growing damage to ecosystems. No doubt this firsthand knowledge makes him more keenly aware of how our actions impact the planet and future generations…Lest you fear that The Circumference of Home is another guilt-trip that you don’t need or want, rest assured that Hoelting doesn’t write with the sort of condescension that comes so easily from those who make remarkable sacrifices for a cause…[It’s] not a how-to or a list of simple steps for saving the planet. It is an exploration of personal responsibility and discovery in the 21st century.”

Taste for Life, June 2010
“[A] must read for men…Wonderfully engaging and written in the best tradition of American nature writing, The Circumference of Home is an inspiring guide.”
January, 6/19/10
“A unexpectedly poetic story of one man’s personal mission for change”
Mother Nature Network, 7/26/10
“[Hoelting] has a crafty way of sharing his explorations with others. His memoirs will thrill nature lovers and inspire travel enthusiasts to root out the last of the treasures surrounding their own homes. More than that though, The Circumference of Home challenges us to look deeper, and to see the real world around us so that we may change for the better…A fascinating story…[A] captivating tale of a man’s yearlong quest to reacquaint himself with the beauty of his homeland, and make a dent in his personal oil dependence.”
E: The Environmental Magazine
“Hoelting’s outings are interspersed with historical and factual details, and his journey gives readers a sense of what it means to truly know one’s home and to live sustainably.”
Tricycle Magazine, Spring 2011
“One hopes that after putting the book down, readers will be inspired to reexamine their lives and surroundings, in order to discover their own adventures.”

About the Author

Kurt Hoelting, commercial fisherman, wilderness guide, and meditation teacher, is the founder of Inside Passages, a sea-kayaking outfitter and guide business in Alaska. Hoelting lives with his family on Whidbey Island, Washington.  

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9e286ef4) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f767ad4) out of 5 stars Not a memoir by a sentimental deep ecologist... June 2 2010
By Jennifer L. Manlowe - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Kurt Hoelting's writing is reflective, honest and never sentimental about "the wilderness" -- as if it were something separate from us urbanites. He is a hardy activist who puts his feet where his mouth is, a heart-felt, tender observer with fierce convictions. At the same time, he speaks of his experience alone, is never preachy or righteous, if anything, the reader has a way in to her own vulnerability through Hoelting's generous humility. This is not an indulgent meditation on white, liberal guilt or a man romanticizing his own back-to-nature wildness (as can sometimes be the error of the mythopoetic masculinity movement spawned by Robert Bly). Hoelting embraces all kinds of learning in each reflective moment -- and while most are deadly serious, some of these experiences are really funny. I respect his capacity as a writer to be at once fragile and courageous in this year-long adventure where he couples his eco-ethics, social commentary and mindfulness practices. His experiment to resist making any carbon footprint is outrageous, inspiring and inviting, even to the less-committed, like myself. Hoelting walked, rode, swam, ran, and resisted getting into any carbon-emitting vehicle to get around town (within 60 miles of his home). His is an amazing journey one that he invites the reader to tag along for lots of learning.
I bet Hoelting would agree with Catherine Drinker Bowen (1957) who claimed, "Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind."
This is a timely read. Don't miss it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f767b28) out of 5 stars Adventure and Hope June 4 2010
By First Baptist Church - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Often times we look at the grim news about our mother, Earth. Images of the Gulf Oil disaster flood us with painful images all in the name of quick corporate profit. It is for such a time as this, that Kurt Hoeltings inspiring book, 'Circumference of Home' arrives with a story of hope. Kurt spent a year circumnavigating his home on Whidbey Island as he takes a sabbatical from fossil fuel by travelling by foot, bike and paddle. It is a story that invites each of us to reconnect with those places we call home. It is a story of one man's attempt to lessen his carbon footprint with a spirit of adventure, that not only helps the earth, but deepens a sense of community with the human and natural world. This book encourages me to move from despair, to doing what I can to heal the earth and indeed to reconnect with this place I call home. ~ Kent Harrop
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f767e04) out of 5 stars A Book to Curl Up With Sept. 24 2010
By Larry Daloz - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Here's a sweet companion for those wet, gray Fall evenings. Hoelting writes compellingly (stunningly at times) of his own Pacific Northwest home, but the book is much more than just a local read. While escorting us by foot, bike and kayak around one of the most beautiful ecosystems on the planet, he also takes us into engaging discussions of everything green and a few things more--from bikes, local food, and global warming to risky technical climbing, meditations on meditation, and ornery border guards. Yet although entertaining, the book--and the author's commitment--is profoundly informing as well, making a powerful case for the possibility that as the environment inevitably deteriorates, our lives need not follow suit. Rather, it suggests that the more sustainable simplicity that Hoelting models is within reach of all of us, and that like him, we just might end up healthier and happier for the experience. I've found this a marvelous gift for several of the young people in my family and circle.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e38333c) out of 5 stars Full circle back to our true home June 30 2010
By Timothy Burnett - Published on
Format: Hardcover
An important book. Kurt takes fear and transforms it into person and relevant action in his response to global climate change. His insightful mix of the personal and the universal as he traversed his local bioregion on foot, bike, and kayak (plus no small amount of local transit adventures) inspired me to reconnect with my own deepest wishes to feel rooted and connected to my home place. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in nature, bioregionalism, spirituality, and the future of our planet. There are many possible responses to the emerging crisis with our climate - this is not the only one, but it's an important one and it is clear that it is Kurt's deepest wish that it will inspire deep inquiry and debate which is the responsibility of each of us.

--Rev. Nomon Tim Burnett
Soto Zen Priest
Red Cedar Zen Community
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9e383354) out of 5 stars This Book Will Rock Your Worldview Sept. 7 2010
By Rick Ingrasci - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Kudos to Kurt Hoelting for having the courage to look into the eye of the gathering climate storm and find a meaningful personal response that will surely be a teachable moment for many people. What I love about Circumference of Home is that it's not a prescription for solving the climate crisis, but simply an honest attempt to discover what one is capable of in the face of the difficult choices we're all facing. Hoelting's meditative reflections on our bioregion (now officially known as the Salish Sea) are deeply moving, reminding us that "you can only save what you love" -- which requires paying attention to what really matters, Mother Earth. I highly recommend that you take this beautifully written journey toward your own ecological awakening.