One of my favorite hobbies is reading. I enjoy the quiet solitude that diving into a book gives you and the way that you become part of the world inside those pages. My particular genre of choice is non-fiction, but when my mind is heavy and full I swing towards light-hearted, romantic (cheesy, I know!) novels that are quick, engrossing reads.
The role that reading has played in my life seems to wax and wane as the hats of life switch and change. Since Beckett was born, the long afternoons spent lounging in a hammock with my nose in a book are VERY few and far between. Reading is crammed in between chores and duties that are fulfilled during naptimes and after going to bed. Perhaps my greatest gift after graduating from college was the awareness that the binds of near-constant research and textbook reading were freed and I was able to get back to the recreation of reading. What a joyful realization that was.
This project seems to be opening my eyes wider and wider each day. There is always some new fantastic eco-friendly product or frighteningly realistic research pointing out the dangers of processed foods – it’s never ending. And, one of the places I have found myself lost in is the library. Over the past four months I have read a handful of absolutely incredible, must-read, gotta-have-it kind of books. I thought that I would share them with you and include a short synopsis and my personal feelings on why these books are important tools for understanding our world and the impact each of us has on our environment.
This is a book that is dear to my heart. It is a wonderful non-fiction, memoir-like chronicle of the Kingsolver/Hopp family’s decision to eat local for one year. Each family member was given a wild card food that was his/her one non-local splurge (i.e. coffee for Steven, fruit for Camille, spices for Barbara, etc…). The stories are incredibly detailed and the book flows seamlessly. I was left feeling somewhere between awestruck and jealous. I want to grow the volume of produce (half a ton of tomatoes!) and know what to do with it. I want to know how to raise chickens and enjoy fresh eggs. I want to utilize my land and my immediate resources to provide sustenance in the most local sense.
This book is both a story and a tool. The pages are filled with resources, recipes and facts and it is primarily written by a best-selling author that using her words to create a canvas of local decadence and hope.
Available at Village Books for $26.95: http://www.villagebooks.com/book/9780060852559
Just between you all and me, I didn’t actually read this. I listened to it in the car. I love to read, but I have been known to listen to books on CD (only the unabridged versions – who wants half the book?!). And, Beckett likes the quiet time and routinely asks for “Story, peeze”.
Back to the book…
In a unbiased, completely blatant effort to get you to read this book, I must make the obvious statement – this book is a MUST READ. Seriously one of the most fascinating, worthwhile, intellectually driven non-fiction book to cover the breadth of our food system in America and the inherent problems. DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS. And, if you like books on CD, you won’t be disappointed either. The narrator is spot on and completely riveting.
I could write hundreds of pages about this book and go on and on, but then you wouldn’t need to read the book. And, let me say it point blank: you need to read this book. Pollan expertly extracts and presents information about our nation’s food system. He talks about the problems and issues, but does it without judgment. You may change your eating habits based on what you read or you may just learn something new. Wherever you lie after reading the book, that’d okay. Pollan doesn’t have an agenda to single-handedly change the face of our eating overnight, but he will make you start thinking in a way you never have before.
Available at Village Books for $26.95: http://www.villagebooks.com/book/9781594200823
Vermont has become one of those places that keeps popping up in my research for this project. It seems to be a hub-bub of activity for the local food movement and prides itself on a rural mentality that focuses on farm life and providing for oneself using small-scale agricultural methods. This book looks at Hardwick, Vermont (only ten minutes from the author’s home town) and the town’s active goal of working towards a localized food system. The characters are utterly fascinating. The scenery is dreamy and homespun. And, the tales are real. But, as some reviewers have advised: Don’t move to Hardwick, bring Hardwick to you. Every town needs a localized flavor and this small town in Vermont is showing us how it’s done.
**BREAKING NEWS! Ben Hewitt will be at Village Books in Bellingham on June 9th at 7:00pm.**
Available at Village Books for $24.99: http://www.villagebooks.com/book/9781605296869
I am a big fan of the library and use it for almost all of my reading needs. It’s free. The resources are endless. And, the environment is pleasing. So, if you feel inclined – please check it out.