Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nibbling Through a Good Book


You've signed up to Be a Bookworm but now what?

Check out the sidebar for "Greening Our Beans" where I'll keep track of all books being read for the challenge. If your book is not up there, please leave me a comment so that I can add it. Already, there are a number of listed books that I had never heard of that but that look fascinating.

If you are deciding on what book to read this month, here are my absolute favorites:
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver: Ms. Kingsolver chronicles her family's attempt to eat locally (mostly from their own yard) for an entire year. The journey is a beautifully written, lyrical romp through seasonal eating and is chock full of the most memorable, meaningful quotes I've encountered. This book was a favorite among my Green Book Club members - many of whom identified with Ms. Kingsolver as a parent. This book will motivate you to grow an edible garden and to fight for your local farmer.
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan: A dense read that sparked more conversation at my Green Book Club meetings than any other book so far, Omnivore's Dilemma explores eating in the industrial food chain (think McDonalds), eating big organic (think Whole Foods), eating small organic (think farmers' market) and eating food you've hunted and gathered (think, um, hunt and gather). You'll never reach for another factory farmed burger without thinking twice after devouring this book. The truth behind "big organic" will also surprise you and the earnestness with which smaller farmers approach your dinner plate will awe you.
  • Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic by John De Graaf et al: An entertaining read, Affluenza compares our society's desire to consume (and the accompanying need to work more, use more resources, pour more toxins into the environment and distance ourselves from our community) with an illness and prescribes inoculations, medicine and other "cures". After consuming this book, I finally understood how and why we, as a society, lost touch with the simple life and got lost in the rat race. I also learned how to escape.
  • Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet by Jeffrey Sachs: Authored by a former big wig in the United Nations, Common Wealth addresses the converging crises of the twenty-first century not with the gloom and doom of many books, but with hope and realistic suggestions for change. I suddenly understand how farming in Africa, drought in Australia and the social welfare system in Sweden relate to life in the United States and how those things, among many others, will impact our ability to mitigate global climate change, biodiversity, famine, water shortage and energy supplies.
My runners-up include In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan, which explores the world of processed food and offers a number of helpful rules to avoid eating, for lack of a better word, crap. I also enjoyed my first "eco-read", Plenty:One Man, One Woman and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon, an entertaining, quick read about the creators' of the 100 mile diet and their effort to eat local food for an entire year (starting in the dead of winter!). Finally, if you are a parent or work with children, I cannot recommend Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv highly enough. The book has spawned a movement to get our children back in touch with nature in an effort to save them from obesity, consumerism, boredom and a myriad of "disorders" as well as to instill in them a love for and need to protect the natural environment.
A number of you recommended your favorite books in the comments:
Finally, for more recommendations, check out Rural Inspirations book list, Bean Sprouts' Top Ten Inspiring Books About Self Sufficiency, or Sharon Astyk's uber comprehensive two part The Best Books About Nearly Everything series: (1) Books to Help Us Understand Where We Are Now and (2) Books to Help Us Regenerate.
That's a whole heck of a lot of books to nibble through. Now go . . . be a bookworm.

If you haven't booked your May yet and would like to join the challenge, please leave me a comment and I'll add you.

14 comments:

miss muffet said...

I would love to join. This is perfect timing, as my grad school semester is OVER!! I am currently reading Omnivore's Dilemma and will read at least one more book--probably Simple Prosperity or In Defense of Food.

Theresa said...

Oh please do add me! I will be reading "Blue Gold: The fight to stop the corporate theft of the world's water" by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. And for balance, I will also be reading "The Places that Scare You" by buddhist monk Pema Chodron.

Theresa said...

(p.s. I'm having a draw for my copy of Simple Prosperity by David Wann over at my blog if anyone would like to read that in May.)

Green Bean said...

Miss Muffet: Excellent to have you join. I just started Simple Prosperity too! Either seems like a great choice. BTW, check out Theresa, see below, for her give away of Simple Prosperity.

Theresa: Both books sound really interesting. I look forward to reading your thoughts on them. Oh, and I'll post a link about your giveaway later. What great timing. I'm so happy you in. :)

Carla said...

PSSSST! Bean - Affluenza is not on your book list ('typed' in a stage whisper)
I might read that after I finish The Omni's Dilemma, & save the last child for summer...
Carla

Green Bean said...

Pssst. Thanks for the heads up, Carla. :)

arduous said...

Okay, in conjunction with my May monthly challenge, I'm going to read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." I'm not telling you what my challenge is, but I think that's a pretty big hint. :)

Green Bean said...

Hmm, Arduous, that's a tough one. I'm going to go with either water conservation or elimination of plastics.

Donna said...

I want to suggest you add "Coming Home to Eat" by Gary Paul Nabham to your list of recommended books. I loved it! It's like "Animal, Vegetable," except a bit more radical. :)

Green Bean said...

Thanks Donna. I added it. I've looked at that book many times and thought about reading it. I'll have to add it to my personal list as well.

The Purloined Letter said...

Fantastic! I'm definitely up. Right now I'm just about to start _Extreme Simplicity: Homesteading in the City_ by Christopher and Dolores Lynn Nyerges. I also have Lester Brown's Plan B 3.0 and David Korten's The Great Turning on my nightstand. Off to prepare a good green reading nook for myself....

Green Bean said...

Purloined Letter: wonderful! thank you for joining. dang your books look good. I'm really starting to look forward to the Reading Roundup when everyone reports back in on their books. I'm coming across so many amazing-looking books that it is impossible to know where to start.

Kim said...

count me in! I've been meaning to get to Omnivore's Dillema, and I just so happen to have spare time for reading (what I want to read) starting in May!

Green Bean said...

Kim, You're in! Look forward to hearing what you think of OD and home you implement things way up there in Alaska.

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