Problem was, because I was participating in the Compact this year, I wasn't able to go out and buy new books to quench my thirst on this subject. I needed to find a way to obtain books either used or borrowed that satisfied my need.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered a book swap shed open three times a week at a transfer station within a decent drive of my home. There is no requirement to donate books. There is a limit to the number of books you can take for free which is ten books per family per visit. The shed itself was like a mini library and was actively being used by many people. What a great idea! The books were even sorted by fiction and non-fiction.
After a bit of searching at the shed, I came across a nine volume set of Rodale organic gardening manuals. I felt a bit guilty taking them all for myself, but I knew I would give them a good home. I also knew I would be back next time with lots of books of my own to donate.
Desiring to find more books on my topic, I then headed to the public library where I was able to fill my bag with a huge selection of books on simple living, homesteading, organic food, farmer's markets and gardening. Granted, the drawback is I don't get to keep these books, but with the opportunity to renew twice, they will feel like mine for at least nine weeks. I even have a special cupboard I keep them in at home. If I find I must own one of these books because it ends up being a fantastic reference book, then I will buy it used through Alibris or Amazon.
I keep a list of the library books I read and if I should find I need to access the book again, I will simply check it out of the library once again. It isn't very often that I need to put my hands on a book more than once. I will admit I do get attached to certain books, especially if they impart on me a way of life that I aspire to. If you look closely at the books above, you will see that my library copy of "Fields of Plenty" still rests comfortably amongst my other library books on my shelf at home. I kept it for the whole maximum nine week checkout period and then the library let me check it out for another nine week cycle. Wonder if they would let me continue to to renew indefinitely...would be a great way to build a library of my own.