My grateful thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to participate in the publication celebrations for Kate Humble’s A Year of Living Simply: My Journey From Complexity To Contentment. It’s a real honour to be sharing my review on publication day and to help start the tour.
A Year of Living Simply is published today, 17th September 2020, by Octopus imprint Aster and is available for purchase through the links here.
A Year of Living Simply
If there is one thing that most of us aspire to, it is, simply, to be happy. And yet attaining happiness has become, it appears, anything but simple. Having stuff – The Latest, The Newest, The Best Yet – is all too often peddled as the sure fire route to happiness. So why then, in our consumer-driven society, is depression, stress and anxiety ever more common, affecting every strata of society and every age, even, worryingly, the very young? Why is it, when we have so much, that many of us still feel we are missing something and the rush of pleasure when we buy something new turns so quickly into a feeling of emptiness, or purposelessness, or guilt?
So what is the route to real, deep, long lasting happiness? Could it be that our lives have just become overly crowded, that we’ve lost sight of the things – the simple things – that give a sense of achievement, a feeling of joy or excitement? That make us happy. Do we need to take a step back, reprioritise? Do we need to make our lives more simple?
Kate Humble’s fresh and frank exploration of a stripped-back approach to life is uplifting, engaging and inspiring – and will help us all find balance and happiness every day.
My Review of A Year of Living Simply
An investigation into making life simpler.
I loved A Year of Living Simply totally unreservedly. I loved meeting the people between its pages, I loved being chatted to by Kate Humble’s gloriously conversational style, I loved seeing nature and discovering Kate’s successes and failures so that when I was away from the book I was thinking about it and I loved the sense of belonging I found when I picked it up again.
I’d defy anyone to read A Year of Living Simply and not be inspired to change something in their life. It may be something as simple as sorting a shelf (and I have) to a more life altering action as deciding to live off grid, but Kate Humble’s honest, beautifully written book feels like a true catalyst for change at the most personal of levels. This isn’t a self-help book but my word it delivers food for thought and ideas to enhance any reader’s life. It also affords a glimpse into the life of the author that feels a privilege to see.
It took me a long time to read A Year of Living Simply because I had a considerable amount going on in my life but every time I returned to it I found it complete balm for the soul. It was akin to meeting up with an old friend you haven’t seen for years and yet it’s as if you only saw them a couple of hours ago. And In the same way Kate Humble discovers new skills, I learnt all manner of things from her warm, conversational, humane style. I’m usually sceptical of celebrity endorsements for books, but the comments attached to A Year of Living Simply are absolutely right. It is a treat of a read.
As well as the warm, witty and frequently self-deprecating style that makes Kate Humble’s writing so engaging, there’s so much that educates and informs the reader. The accompanying monochrome illustrations have no right to evoke such beauty and emotion, but they do. And they fit the writing perfectly, especially as Kate Humble writes with painterly prose when she is describing landscape so that A Year of Living Simply transports the reader into nature from the comfort of their own home. I didn’t have to be buffeted by wind and rain on a long walk as Kate Humble does it for me, but equally her words made me want to get outside, made me appreciate what I have and made me behave slightly differently as a result.
Although I’ve always admired her public persona, I’ve now fallen head over heels in love with Kate Humble – and her writing, which is joyful, entertaining and fascinating. Don’t miss A Year of Living Simply. In a world where’s been considerable ugliness recently, A Year of Living of Living Simply is a thing of beauty. At the very least it will provide you with joy and a sense of belonging and community, but it also might just change your life. It’s wonderful.
About Kate Humble
Kate Humble is a farmer, writer, conservationist, entrepreneur and one of the UK’s best-known TV presenters. She started her television career as a researcher, later presenting programmes such as ‘Animal Park’, ‘Springwatch & Autumnwatch’, ‘Lambing Live’, ‘Living with Nomads’, ‘A Country Life for Half the Price’ and ‘Back to the Land’. Her last book, Thinking On My Feet, was shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize and The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award.