Friday, February 26, 2010

Eating Animals

I have been vegetarian for 6 years now (and eating vegan for about 6 months), and have always been extremely interested in sustainability, agriculture, and the processes/policies/politics that surround these topics. However...I am usually extremely apprehensive to read large works on the topic of meat and eating it, because almost always the book is backboned by some kind of agenda. While I don't think this is a bad thing at all (writing does need a "point" and if your "point" is to convince someone of something, by all means do it), it usually turns me off to finishing the author's book. In most books that try to convince the reader to become/why not to become a vegetarian, or even in books about sustainable eating/living, there's some kind of "attitude" in which the reader feels belittled (see: my experience in reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Polan). However...I saw a book by one of my favorite authors, on one of my favorite topics, and I just had to snatch it up.

I started reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer about three weeks ago when I purchased it in hardcover from a local bookstore (Word in Greenpoint, Brooklyn). I absolutely love Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - it's easily one of my favorite books I've ever read - but I couldn't really picture him writing a non-fiction book about...well, animals, and eating them. Now, however, I want to give every single person I know a copy of this book.

Jonathan Safran Foer has again summed up everything I wanted to say about being a vegetarian into much more eloquent words, and taught me many new things in the process. There is humor, honesty, opinions on both sides of the fence, hard facts, experience, narratives, and love - of food, of family, of nature - all rolled up into this glorious work of absolute beauty. He leaves it up to the reader to make their own choices, because the purpose of this book is not to convince, but merely to share and educate in an extremely accessible and sensible manner. The book just flows; it reads more like a novel than a research topic, but yet it is chock full of gems of knowledge and questions for the reader to consider and mull around. Even the most versed foodie will feel touched by this book upon turning the last page.

I love this book...and I promise it's not because of the snazzy tubor-esque cover ;-) If you can pick up a copy (I recommend hardcover, because I always do), definitely DEFINITELY get your hands on it and nose in it - carnivores and vegans alike.


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