We have always practiced hospitality but the Holy Spirit is using this book to help guide us in broadening that circle of welcome to strangers. I'm st...moreWe have always practiced hospitality but the Holy Spirit is using this book to help guide us in broadening that circle of welcome to strangers. I'm still not sure exactly how to do that, even after reading the book, but my heart is totally there. Very excited about what God has been changing in our lives and how this book will help us grow even more.(less)
An "outsider's" insider view of Patrick Henry College. Which, near as I can tell from reading the book, is for homeschooled, evangelical, right winged...moreAn "outsider's" insider view of Patrick Henry College. Which, near as I can tell from reading the book, is for homeschooled, evangelical, right winged, politically motivated students. Wow, scary stuff and a very fascinating read. Because of my own evangelical leanings (I hate labels) and the fact that I homeschool my kids I found this book on one level to be embarrassing. Kind of like "yessh, I can't believe I have basic beliefs in common with these people". However, it is in Rosin's honest and sometimes embarrassing descriptions of the students & their families, faculty and administration where the book really shines. The "characters" are real people and she portrays them as such, without caricature or judgement. Against the backdrop of the birth and growing pains of Patrick Henry College she chronicles the personal growth, failings & achievements of the people that make the college what it is. She is honest in her writing and the people are real - intelligent, kind, stupid, honorable, devious, courageous, struggling & discovering - and that is what I liked most about the book.(less)
This book is about how the younger generation (Mosaics & Busters) view Christians. The research findings done by the Barna group were not particul...moreThis book is about how the younger generation (Mosaics & Busters) view Christians. The research findings done by the Barna group were not particularly surprising to me. It is such a shame that we are most often viewed as hypocritical, anti-gay, sheltered, too political, and judgmental. So ironic considering Jesus was NONE of these things. With God's grace I want my life to be characterized by love, grace, acceptance and holiness (to name a few).(less)
I was so excited to finally get my hands on this fantastic story about one family's year long experiment in growing & raising most of their own fo...moreI was so excited to finally get my hands on this fantastic story about one family's year long experiment in growing & raising most of their own food. I love reading about people who think differently, act differently and live differently than the norm.
I think the grow your own philosophy of this family is extreme for our culture but I am so attracted to it because it's a life lived with intention and deep conviction. In comparison I found our own family's efforts in supporting our local agriculture fairly piddly. This was a reality check since I can sometimes get on my high horse because I belong to a CSA and visit the weekly summer farmer's market.
My basic criticisms of the book are two. Firstly, Kingsolver spends a fair amount of time writing about being a working mother. How she's managed to have a career and still can tomatoes. But from my farm & gardening experience I have a hard time believing that during the course of their grow-your-own year both she and her husband worked full time, yet she leaves readers with that impression. Or at the very least she doesn't exactly expound on her daily goings on except for what she's picking from the garden and special events celebrated with family and friends. What I want to know is how do you raise animals, plant, weed, pick, can and preserve the garden, butcher the animals and cook a home cooked meal every night? All while parenting, cleaning house, doing laundry, running errands, ya-da, ya-da, ya-da AND working full time?? These questions are never answered. And yet growing at least some of your own food is presented as achievable for the American family. I believe that unless the average American family undergoes a shift in priorities to spend less, drive less and work less the grow your own mentality is largely unrealistic. But hopefully books like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle will be a part of the movement that changes our popular fast food, fast life culture. So that realistically more families will choose to grow more gardens and shop for local, in season food.
That brings me to the second criticism or perhaps observation. As a plant based eater living in Northern New England if I chose to eat only locally grown foods I'd eat a lot of potatotes and go crazy with summer blueberries (not a bad thing). Our family has chosen to base our diet on plants for improved immediate health and longevity, we want to be hiking with our grandkids. Eating a variety of foods from around the globe (at times) makes this possible. And for many, many people the only way to achieve the health they want in northern latitudes is to eat fruits and vegetables grown elsewhere. A bit of a conundrum if you believe in local sustainable agriculture - which I do. So, I'm thinking this one through. Trying to think of all the healthy foods which are grown here, how we can maximize our consumption of those and perhaps decrease the food we eat that is shipped from long distances.
Overall, the book was a fantastic read . Kingsolver is engaging, funny, convincing and just an all round excellent writer. The book is an eat your local veggies & meat mantra but the narrative of her family keeps it personal and interesting. (less)