Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What I've Been Reading: A Round-Up (Part One)

In looking back through my “What I’ve Been Reading” posts, I realized that there are several books that got left out. I’m a naturally fast reader, and have also made an effort to blade through more books in the past year, so I’ve kept my library account busy! Here’s a sampling of the books that I’ve read over the past several months but forgot to mention.

This is a sort of sequel or epilogue to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a manifesto about basic, commonsense rules for healthy eating: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I almost felt like I had already read the book, since so many whole-foods bloggers recite his rules with religious fervor. I appreciate his premise: that Americans are obsessed with nutrients and care little about actual food, thinking that “healthy” food is disgusting and the only way to be healthy is to deprive yourself. This book encourages helpful attitudes about eating, such as enjoying meals, avoiding mindless snacking, sharing food with other people, and taking time to make things from scratch.

I’ve read some pretty scathing rebuttals to this book which point out that Pollan has a starry-eyed view of growing food/cooking and that one of the triumphs of the modern world is having the luxury not to cook. While I agree with that on some level, I think Pollan, as a journalist, is simply sharing his passion for gardening and cooking, and arguing that Americans could devote the energy they spend on counting calories in their fast-food meal to making simple homemade food instead. And I can definitely get behind that. 

In the end, this is a good quick read, but The Omnivore’s Dilemma is much better.

This memoir, about the author’s long journey from cattle ranching to bison ranching, is a captivating read. O’Brien loves South Dakota, and makes you love it too as you read the story, which he narrates in a spellbinding way. It’s part autobiography, part history, part travelogue, and part agricultural commentary. Highly recommended!

I’ve written about this book before, and I just reread it. The concepts she presents were so new to me the first time I read this, so it’s nice to come back with a little more experience and think about how plastic ties to other areas of ecology and social responsibility. As before, this book is encouraging and practical, motivating me to continue my journey toward a life of less plastic and more sustainability.

Tomorrow... Part Two!


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