Frustrating! Just when it’s almost impossible to stay inside hooked to the internet, I’m signing on for another online book club. This one’s at Crunchy Chicken and will be discussing Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A History of Four Meals. Published in spring, 2006 to much excitement, Omnivore’s Dilemma takes an uncommonly close look at that most prosaic question, “What shall we have for dinner?” Though I haven’t read Pollan’s latest book, The Washington Post says of him, “His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling.” Crunchy Chicken has already posted questions to stimulate lively discussion, and I hope to join you over there to exchanges views on what we should eat and where it should come from.
Since March, I’ve also been immersed in an online book discussion focusing on Rachel Carson’s works. That group got started in March, so you’ll have to check the book club archives to read our chats about Silent Spring. But now we’re reading a brand new book of essays, Courage for the Earth: Writers, Scientists, and Activists Celebrate the Life and Writing of Rachel Carson about Carson’s impact, 45 years after her landmark book appeared. That book I have read, but I don’t want to prejudice your approach to it with a rave review here. Instead, I’ll rave about the group, especially as a place to interact with expert moderators, notably Linda Lear, Carson’s esteemed biographer, and Freeman House, author of one of the most disturbing but eloquent essays in Courage for the Earth. Looking closely at Carson’s work with the help of these guides and companions for two months has led me to a deeper appreciation of her as a scientist, activist, writer, and emblem of hope. If any fellow RC Book Clubbers are reading this, thanks!
Two other online nature book opportunities are worth mentioning. Sierra Magazine has an online book and film club, Let’s Talk. All I know so far is that the May/June selection is a film about environmental justice issues related to the coffee trade, called Black Gold. And novelist & essayist Barbara Kingsolver was on a radio talk show today to publicize her new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about her family’s experiment in eating locally. I only heard snatches of the conversation, but one cool twist that I haven’t heard from other “locavores” is that the Kingsolver clan is raising heirloom poultry as part of their culinary adventures. If you’d like to tune into the show, however belatedly, visit the WAMU radio archives. Maybe you can download it to your iPod and listen outdoors.