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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver is the author of nine bestselling works of fiction, including the novels, Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, and The Bean Trees, as well as books of poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction. Her work of narrative nonfiction is the enormously influential bestseller Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Kingsolver's work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned literary awards and a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country's highest honor for service through the arts, as well as the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize for her body of work. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia. Camille Kingsolver graduated from Duke University in 2009 and currently works in the mental health field. She is an active advocate for the local-food movement, doing public speaking for young adults of her own generation navigating food choices in a difficult economy. She lives in Asheville, N.C., and grows a vegetable garden in her front yard. Steven L. Hopp was trained in life sciences and received his PhD from Indiana University. He has published papers in bioacoustics, ornithology, animal behavior and more recently in sustainable agriculture. He is the founder and director of the Meadowview Farmers Guild, a community development project that includes a local foods restaurant and general store that source their products locally. He teaches at Emory & Henry College in the Environmental Studies department. He coauthored Animal, Vegetable, Miracle with Barbara Kingsolver and Camille Kingsolver.


In her engaging though sometimes preachy new book, Kingsolver recounts the year her family attempted to eat only what they could grow on their farm in Virginia or buy from local sources. The book's bulk, written and read by Kingsolver in a lightly twangy voice filled with wonder and enthusiasm, proceeds through the seasons via delightful stories about the history of their farmhouse, the exhausting bounty of the zucchini harvest, turkey chicks hatching and so on. In long sections, however, she gets on a soapbox about problems with industrial food production, fast food and Americans' ignorance of food's origins, and despite her obvious passion for the issues, the reading turns didactic and loses its pace, momentum and narrative. Her daughter Camille contributes recipes, meal plans and an enjoyable personal essay in a clear if rather monotonous voice. Hopp, Kingsolver's husband and an environmental studies professor, provides dry readings of the sidebars that have him playing "Dr. Scientist," as Kingsolver notes in an illuminating interview on the last disc. Though they may skip some of the more moralizing tracks, Kingsolver's fans and foodies alike will find this a charming, sometimes inspiring account of reconnecting with the food chain. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 26). (May) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Best-selling novelist Kingsolver and her family moved from Tucson, AZ, to the fertile lands of Southern Appalachia, where agriculture is an accepted excuse for absence from school, to undertake an experiment of sorts. The family joined the locavore movement, which promotes eating only what is locally raised, grown, and produced. This account of their ongoing experiment is a family affair: daughter Lily morphs into a poultry entrepreneur; daughter Camille, a college student, sprinkles her own anecdotes and seasonal menus throughout; and essays by Kingsolver's husband, Hopp, an academic, warn of the high cost of chemical pesticides, fossil fuels, and processed foods environmentally, financially, and on our health. Patience is a virtue in this undertaking, which calls for eating only what is in season; however, Kingsolver's passion for food and near sensual delight in what she pulls from her garden make the enterprise seem enticing. The author's narration is homey, folksy, and warm; Camille and Hopp narrate as well. Part memoir, part how-to, and part agricultural education, this book is both timely and entertaining. With Kingsolver's broad readership; a large movement toward organic, healthful eating; and heavy media attention on the subject, expect demand. Recommended for public libraries.--Risa Getman, Hendrick Hudson Free Lib., Montrose, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE makes an important contribution to the chorus of voices calling for change.""--Chicago Tribune
"Charming...and persuasive...Each season-and chapter-unfolds with a natural rhythm and mouth-watering appeal."--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Charming, zestful, funny and poetic...a serious book about important problems."--Washington Post Book World
"Classy and disarming, substantive and entertaining, earnest and funny....Kingsolver takes the genre to a new literary level."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Delectable . . . steeped in elegant prose and seasoned with smart morsels about the food industry."--Chicago Tribune
"Every bit as transporting as-and more ecologically relevant than-any "Year In Provence"-style escapism...Earthy...informative....[and] englightened."--Washington Post
"Faithful, funny, and thought-provoking...Readers-whether vegetarian or carnivore-will not go hungry, literally or literarily."--BookPage
"Kingsolver carries us along in her distinct and breezy prose."--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Kingsolver elegantly chronicles a year of back-to-the-land living...Readers...will take heart and inspiration here."--Kirkus Reviews
"Kingsolver, who writes evocatively about our connection to place, does so here with characteristic glowing prose. She provides the rapture."--Miami Herald
"Loaded with terrific information about everything from growth hormones to farm subsidies."--Entertainment Weekly
"A lovely book. "--Los Angeles Times
"Provocative . . . Kingsolver . . . evokes the sheer joy of producing one's own food."--People

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