ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE by Barbara Kingsolver
This is narrative nonfiction, a book about her family's year-long attempt to be locavores -- eating almost exclusively locally grown (mostly in their garden and on their farm) foods. I read this book with a pencil in my hand. I underlined and starred and exclamation pointed and smiley faced my way from beginning to end. There are too many great lines and important thoughts to share here, but I'll pick one:
"I share with almost every adult I know this crazy quilt of optimism and worries, feeling locked into certain habits but keen to change them in the right direction. And the tendency to feel like a jerk for falling short of absolute conversion. I'm not sure why. If a friend had a coronary scare and finally started exercising three days a week, who would hound him about the other four days? It's the worst of bad manners -- and self-protection, I think, in a nervously cynical society -- to ridicule the small gesture. These earnest efforts might just get us past the train-wreck of the daily news, or the anguish of standing behind a child, looking with her at the road ahead, searching out redemption where we can find it: recycling or carpooling or growing a garden or saving a species or something. Small, stepwise changes in personal habits aren't trivial. Ultimately they will, or won't add up to having been the thing that mattered."
Thank you, Barbara Kingsolver, for reassuring me that I AM making a difference by recycling and composting and completely giving up Mandarin oranges from China and flatly refusing to buy apples from New Zealand. Now that the farmers' markets are in full swing, you'll know where to find me on Saturdays. I'll probably do some canning again this summer. I'm back to baking bread. I'm making my own kind of difference.