Monday, February 04, 2008

2 nonfic down, 2 to go

(c) 2008 Ms. Huis Herself at

I'm now officially half-way through one of my 2008 Resolutions! I'd decided to try to read at least 4 non-fiction books throughout the year because I have a tendency to just read fiction as escapism/relaxation.

I'd started The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan in December at Mr. Kluges's recommendation and found it fascinating. It's a slow read, vocabulary-dense and content-rich, but I enjoyed it and found it thought-provoking. It's certainly caused me to consider eating more local and sustainably when possible, as well as marvel at the plant/industry/ingredient that is corn. The first part is a lot about corn, then different approaches/styles to organic-type eating (including a fascinating farm where the self-described "grass farmer" really thinks about the chicken-ness and pig-ness, etc. of his animals), and finally Polland cooks, hunts, and gathers his own meal.

Here's a quote from his website to give you an overview... of America’s most fascinating, original, and elegant writers turns his own omnivorous mind to the seemingly straightforward question of what we should have for dinner. To find out, Pollan follows each of the food chains that sustain us—industrial food, organic or alternative food, and food we forage ourselves—from the source to a final meal, and in the process develops a definitive account of the American way of eating.

While The Omnivore's Dilemma took me several weeks of reading (due in part to having to return it to the library since someone else had a hold on it, and then waiting to recheck it out), I just buzzed through my second non-fiction book in only a few days. I went shopping all by myself on Friday after Mr. Kluges returned from his business trip. Hitting the local Goodwill, I was impressed with their huge book selection and came home with a bunch of kid books, but also with one for me: Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. I'd heard of this one before and since I've now got two kids, I figured it'd be worth a read, and if good, to be stuck on the bookshelf for future reference as well! A lot of what they covered fit well with the skills that I learned and honed at the wonderful school where I used to teach - recognizing children as unique individuals, noticing actions, respecting feelings, "equal" does not mean "the same," establishing boundaries, and most importantly, helping kids learn and practice the skills they need to be able to handle things themselves. While I didn't have any "aha!" moments with it, it was a good reminder/refresher and one I know I'll be finding a spot for on the bookshelf!

Amazon links for The Omnivore's Dilemma and for Siblings Without Rivalry.

P.S. Thanks to those who left nonfiction recommendations for me on the earlier post. I'll have to check them out... and if anybody has any more, I'd love to hear them!


ewe are here said...

I've heard of Siblings without Rivalry... may check it out.

Pusher said...

If you're interested, I'd be happy to mail you my copy of The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary.

nonick said...

I just started reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma", and I would agree so far that it is a very interesting read. The bad part being that I'm not sure I'll ever enjoy a steak as much as I did before reading this.

Mr. Kluges said...

If you know how your steak was raised and where it came from, and you approve of those two things, wouldn't that increase your enjoyment?

DiploWhat said...

I suggest "River Runs Black" if you have any interest at all in the Chinese (and world) environment. It's actually a very easy read, and will also make you think about commercialism and what you my think is being "recycled"

nonick said...

Yes, if I did know where my steak was coming from, it would increase my enjoyment - or at least I wouldn't feel like I was eating filthy corn. I'm curious now how difficult it will be to find a local, grass-fed steak.

Er, the animal would have been grass-fed, not the steak itself. That would be even weirder than the current situation.