Reach and Read: Three Farming Reads for the Young and Young at Heart

Here are my thoughts in regards to three reads off the recent Modern Farmer list of 6 Great Farm Reads for Young Adults. I have also read, re-read and reveled in the Little House series, Haddie Big Sky will get her own post, leaving me only with Stoner by John Williams to read at some point. Do not let the young adult label deter you. They are still pretty deep stories but one can consume them swiftly. I would hazard to say that Prodigal Summer is not really “young adult”, but certainly readable for many ages.

Book Review: The Day No Pigs Would Die By Robert Newton Peck

Reads like fiction but it actually is an autobiography of Robert as a boy and his father, a butcher. You pretty much can guess where the story headed knowing the title, the father’s occupation and the moment Robert gets the piglet. However, it is full of lessons, tough to say the least but also highlights the value of hard work, community and solid family units. It is also a reminder of how people show their emotions in many ways and that we all need to be open to receive them. It may not be in direct words or a card addressed to you.

Best line out of the book: “Never miss a chance to keep your mouth shut.”

Book Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Oddly historical yet futuristic, maybe a play on alternative modern reality. I can see this being made into a TV mini-series, a juvenile version of Revolution. Endearing characters and evidence that there is sustainability and self-reliance in all of us. The love story is bit “non-traditional” and might raise some questions, but is critical to the plot. However, the one part of the book that just didn’t sit with me is the main character’s attitude towards food and weight. While the author tries to not emphasis being thin (as a means to popularity), the message was felt loud and clear (perhaps I am sensitive to such topics). Best part of the story – the mushroom experience. I am a new member of Puget Sound Mycological Society for a reason. Can’t wait to get out there and forage!

Book Review: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

What is the definition of prodigal? Per Merriam-Webster: yielding abundantly – and yes this book does….. A careful weaving of character’s life stories in Zebulon County with a great emphasis on natural farming and gardening methods, highlighting the importance of maintaining balance in nature and agriculture. At the same time, demonstrating balance in a community between people and how choices we make can have down stream effects. I walked away with renewed energy to put away the Round Up. I know you will fall in love with each of the characters and wish that you too had a Nanny Rawley. A couple quotes I enjoyed:

“I thought I wouldn’t live through it. But you do. You learn to love the place somebody leaves behind for you.”

“A bird in the hand loses its mystery in no time flat.”

What farming reads have you enjoyed lately? Anyone read Stoner yet?

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