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Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,431 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
A gorgeously observed chronicle about getting out of the city and living life on the land, in the tradition of Anne Dillard?s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek .When acclaimed novelist Brad Kessler started to feel unsatisfied by his Manhattan lifestyle, he opted to tackle his issues of over-consumption and live a more eco-friendly life. He and his wife moved to a seventy-five acre g ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Scribner
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Michelle
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book came into my life in an unusual way.

I recently finished a series of three IRS exams to become an Enrolled Agent. For the final one, I found a colleague who was also studying for the same test, and we became study partners. Two times a week, for 10 weeks, we met at a Panera in between our two homes and shlogged through the very difficult and boring material.

One of the topics was Farm Taxation. Now, there are no farms to speak of in metro Boston, and the odds of either of us EVER doing a
...more
Skostal
Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a sweet book in the genre of "over-educated urbanites, usually writers, who move to Europe or to the country, preferably Vermont, to escape mid-life responsibilities and find their souls via artisanal foods." Snarkiness aside, I liked this book, especially Kessler's admirable musings on the life and spirituality of a shepherd. It is a great lesson on the food chain and circle of life. When he describes recalling the heat of the summer when he feeds his goats, in the midst of winter, the ...more
Dina
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I know when I really love a book, I tell everyone that they need to read it. I also know that it rarely happens, and that it's even less likely to happen when the book in question is on goat farming. But Goat Song is about so much more than just goat farming. Sure, Kessler walks you through his process of buying, raising and milking goats, but don't expect this to be some utopian 'back to our roots' foodie lit. This is the real deal, right from the goat vulva to the spinal parasites that threate ...more
Cameron
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If the joy of escaping with a book is one of life's pleasures, then the rapture at being utterly engaged by a book is inestimable. Enraptured was I today with Kessler's Goat Song. From his invitation to follow where his goats lead, to his introspective and spiritual conclusion in which he reads an anagogic parable within cheesemaking, his affinage of milk and spirit, Kessler crafts his sentences, story, and references with the grace and reverence he displays in his relation of raising, herding, ...more
Lauren Henderson
I just couldn't finish this book. Sure... there are some interesting facts about goats that I didn't know. But the author's writing style is extremely forced. He uses big words to make himself sound smarter and tries to tell stories in a way that makes his life sound dreamy, but it ends up just not flowing. And all the talk of pastoralism and ancient practices is starting to sound snobbish... and I can't stand it. So the end.

"A goat's anus would open like the aperture of a camera and produce pe
...more
Drew
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book. Kessler, a writer, and his wife moved to Vermont and bought a small, rural place. The book is the account of purchasing, raising, tending, and milking Nubian goats. Kessler is a Jew who lived in Dharamsala for a year, conversant about Christianity and mythology, observant of nature and a maker of cheese and philosophy. Plus, poetic!
G.K. Hansen
Jul 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
I hated everything about this narrator but I loved his goats.
Ryan Louis
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top10nonfiction
I'm moving again.

Well, technically, I'm always moving. Whether to a new apartment, home, city or region, it seems I can't keep myself still. Maybe that's why I continually return to the Midwest: a place that--in the public mindset anyway--looks to be immutable; still. I love the romantic view of a land so broad and uninterrupted that a sunset is not just an event, it's a spectacle.

Yet, if you know anything about Kansas, you know it's anything BUT still: otherworldly winds, cyclones, torrential
...more
Aspen Junge
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
Yet another memoir of an arty Manhattanite with a substantial off-farm income who moved to the boonies and discovered the meaning of life by tilling the soil and eating the produce of his farm. His book is contemplative, historical, and literary as he extolls the joys of herding his goats through the countryside. Read it, and realize that this story has been told eleventy-bajillion times before in just the last decade, not to mention during the back-to-the-land period of the 60's and 70's, and p ...more
Elizabeth
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was my surprise read of the year - absolutely delightful. Kessler is a lyrical writer so much so that he almost made this city girl want to move to Vermont. He didn't romanize the work or the time that are involved in the care, sexual habits and milking of the goats and the intricate and exacting effort it takes to make cheese. But the grinding reality of the enterprise was countered with endearing descriptions of the personalities of the individual Nubian goats, the magnificent mountains a ...more
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Brad Kessler’s novel Birds in Fall won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. His other books include Goat Song, Lick Creek, and The Woodcutter’s Christmas. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The Kenyon Review, and BOMB, as well as other publications. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and the Rome Prize from the American Acad ...more
More about Brad Kessler...
“A book is like a key that fits into the tumbler of the soul. The two parts have to match in order for each to unlock. Then—click—a world opens.” 48 likes
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