Wednesday, June 27, 2007


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.


  1. Anonymous7:22 PM

    This is LOVELY. I'm going to print this out and hang it on the fridge. I've been intimidated by this book, the way I was by An Inconvenient Truth, but you just saved me with this quote. Thank you!!!

  2. I just decided how to use my book store gift card. I have to read this book!

    After listening to NPR yesterday I decided to stop buying and using bottled water. All those plastic bottles full of filtered tap water are an huge waste of resources. I am going to use my own washable bottles to carry the filtered water I already pay for!

  3. Enjoyed your post. I'd like to invite you to link it to the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle blogpost roundup.

  4. Came over through the Blog Link thing. I totally relate about the reading with a pencil in hand. (Think the library will mind? .... well, my method is to put a little dot in the margin, then erase later, so maybe they'll look the other way)

  5. I am listening to this book in my car. I was already a fan of Barbara Kingsolver, but this book is just amazing, and I like how she encourages us to do something, anything, even if it seems small.


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