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Booking It: Month Three

*all book links are going to direct you to Barnes & Noble (physical and nook books), other links will be stated*


I’m participating in Booking It over at Life As Mom. Join up and start reading with us! It’s lots of fun!

This month, I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver & Steven L. Hopp.  B&N Nookbook

Let me begin this review by saying that I’m not one that particularly subscribes to the whole “Climate Change” theory. I know that this is unpopular (disbelieving in it, not the actual theory) to many people far and wide, and I’m not going to debate it with you. I’m just saying that the evidence I have seen about it makes it sketchy, at best. I’ve seen evidence that supports it as well, so I’m sort of on the fence with it, but I’m still holding on to my doubts about it. I only preface with that because this book throws the theory out there over and over and over again, so I feel like it’s almost one of the themes of the book.

The one thing that I felt like I wholeheartedly agreed with in this book was the fact that we’ve lost the ability to understand plants and animals. I mean, most children don’t even know how to plant a plant, or even that vegetables are planted in dirt, or where those chicken nuggets came from. When I explained to my child where hamburgers came from the other day while on the phone with a friend, she gasped with horror as I explained to my five year old child where hamburgers come from. As if this knowledge is somehow too ghastly for his mind to comprehend, or if somehow it will haunt him for the rest of his life.

The disconnect really shines through when we go to the grocery store and buy strawberries in January, or watermelons in April. These things are not in season in ANY PART of America, yet our grocery stores allow us to buy them. We are disconnected, and in some ways, I think we’re going to have to stop that. In my opinion, we should start with our kids:

Consider how Americans might respond to a proposal that agriculture was to become a mandatory subject in all schools, alongside reading and mathematics. A fair number of parents would get hot under the collar to see their kids’ attention being pulled away from the essentials of grammar, the all-important trigonometry, to make room for down-on-the-farm stuff.  (pg. 15)

I agree with this point. I don’t see why things like growing your own food, canning, home economics, aren’t taught in schools. What happened to home economics? I remember that I was so excited to get to take a class that taught me the basics of cooking, how to sew and things like that, and when I got to 6th grade — the grade I could take it in — all of a sudden the home economics class was gone. Poof. Kaput. I understand that, in trying to be politically correct, we do away with these classes so that we won’t allow ourselves to revert back to a time when women were home-makers and men were bread-winners, but to me, it seems as though we’re short-changing our children so we can feel better about ourselves.

When we walked as a nation away from the land, our knowledge of food production fell away from us like dirt in a laundry-soap commercial.

I mean, think about the words that we use to explain something being dirty. Just that word dirty. It implies that dirt is something that we shouldn’t want to have on us. The word soiled is another good example. We’re teaching our children that these things are bad and we’re slowly disconnecting ourselves away from it.

The other major thing is:

We’re losing them [food crop varieties] as we’re losing rain forests. An enormous factor in this loss has been the new idea of plant varieties as patentable properties, rather than God’s gifts to humanity or whatever the arrangement was previously felt to be, for all of prior history.

Anything owned by humans, of course can be taken away from others; the removal of crop control from farmers to agribusiness has been powerful and swift.

I, once again, have to agree. We’re losing heirloom crops at an alarming rate, mostly because some companies have a patent on the ones they’ve genetically modified, and because that’s mostly all that is sold in the store. Go to your local grocery store and you won’t see a real wide selection of fruits and vegetables. You’ll have, maybe, three different types of potatoes; two or three types of tomatoes; maybe two different types of lettuce. These different vegetables and fruits have been streamlined because they know Americans only want certain types, so why sell the others? Also: side rant: WHY don’t they sell regular, long, huge, the kind with the big black seeds, watermelons anymore? I’ve searched every store in Wyoming and northern Utah last July for real, actual watermelons, not those tiny seedless pieces of  crap.

Human beings are wildly inconsistent; plenty of people before me have said so. But this one takes the cake: the manner in which we’re allowed to steal from future generations, while commanding them not to do that to us, and rolling our eyes at anyone who is tediously PC enough to point this out.

I wouldn’t consider anyone that points out that we’re stealing from future generations being “tediously politically correct” — but whatever.

In any event, there are some tidbits and my ideas and thoughts. Sorry if I ticked you guys off with any of my ranting.

It’s a good book, and I find myself nodding along with much of it, as well as increasingly wanting to buy myself a ranch and a farm so that I can live off the land and learn how to do things myself. It’s an interesting read, but by the end of it, I got tired of feeling like I was talked-down to. There are many ways to write these sentiments without talking down to everyone who is actually interested in what you’re talking about.

Verdict: There are some great points to this book, and some amazing writing. I liked it, although I didn’t agree with it all, it was a great book.

The second book I read this month was One Second After by William R. Forstchen.

Oh, man, this book was a quick read, but it’s not necessarily something you want to read too quickly. Basic rundown of the book goes like this: an EMP hits America and EVERYTHING in America made after the 1970’s stops working (cars, computers, iPods, electricity, etc.). This book is the after effects of this EMP attack on America, and a town’s struggle to survive.

It’s interesting and sad to me, because the family that the book centers around has a lot of problems surviving, and the town has a lot of problems as well. There are so many times throughout this book where I sobbed like a baby, imagining what I would do in the same situation, and realizing that there’s not anything different I could’ve done.

Verdict: I liked it, but it’s not for everyone. It’s sad and a little scary, but it was a good read, overall.


3 responses »

  1. I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last year and, like you, enjoyed most of it while disagreeing with a few parts. Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food is one of my favorite books in that genre.

  2. One Second After does sound like a frightening book, even more so because it is so possible that it could happen.

  3. How funny–the EXACT same thing happened to me for MY home-ec-class-that-would-have been! It was quite a disappointment to my 12-year-old self!

    I know what you mean about A, V, M getting a tad bit tedious by the end, but I still found it a very enjoyable read. My husband and I were just talking about her turkeys the other day, and I read it ages ago!


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