Fingerless glove

looking for what's missing... I'm a knitting, spinning, mother of teenagers with a big dog, a small cat, minus the lovely rabbit Meliflua.

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Location: Virginia, United States

Right now I'm listening to "An Irish Country Village" by Patrick Taylor, reading "Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake" by Anna Quindlen and knitting Wisconsin Wintersocks. And casting off the lace shawl I've been working on since I last posted.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dear Barbara Kingsolver,

When I read a book that touches a chord, I sometimes write an imaginary letter to the author to thank her. The operative word here is imaginary. When Carly Simon titled an album Letters Never Sent I thought, "See! I am not the only one." I usually keep the letter in my head instead of committing it to paper and embarrassment. Now with the advent of blogs, theoretically the author could see how delighted I am with her book, and I can embarrass myself without feeling like a stalker.

I have been listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It is a well-reasoned, well-researched, enlightening, personal record of one family's year of eating only locally produced food, cutting out the excess fuel calories. The book covers more issues about what we eat and how it is raised than I ever imagined. The small portion on our country's farm policies made me angry to the point of tears, but most of the book is a hopeful, happy feast, highlighting the care and attention that goes into raising good food without down-playing the amount of work involved. Barbara makes taking bananas off the grocery list not an act of deprivation but a doorway to a richer way of eating. She eloquently defends an omnivorous diet while refusing to eat meat raised under the cruel conditions of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). The book has left me feeling something I haven't felt for years. The miraculous pleasure of keeping a garden.

I laughed out loud at the idea that Barbara appears as #74 in the 2005 book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America by Bernard Goldberg. What is revolutionary about eating fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables? Supporting the local economy -- your friends and neighbors -- instead of foreign economies? Protecting bio-diversity? Cutting down on needless fossil fuel use? I checked out Goldberg's book. It turns out Barbara made the list for an unrelated reason. She wrote an essay suggesting that the hurt and rage acted out under the guise of patriotism following September 11, 2001 could lead to "intimidation, censorship, violence, bigotry, sexism, homophobia and shoving the Constitution through a paper shredder." Smart woman.

I am especially charmed when a book is read by the author (as long as she doesn't have a whiny, smokey wheeze for a voice. Barbara doesn't. Her voice is mellow and has a smile behind it.) The experience of hearing her words in her voice with her inflections makes the book an even greater pleasure.

So here is my fan letter to Barbara. I think your book will change the way we eat. At least, I hope so.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Barbara!


Anonymous bob said...

i read "the poisonwood bible" long ago and recall liking it.

i saw time magazine's cover story yesterday about how biofuels are actually harmful -- i did know it's driving up prices of corn which is a staple for many poorer people particularly in mexico.

6:39 PM  

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