Lisa Vegan's Reviews > Eating Animals

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
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's review
Nov 05, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: animal-rights, non-fiction, philosophy, biography, reviewed, 1-also-at-lt, goodreads-author
Recommended to Lisa by: Christina
Recommended for: everybody 16+; anyone who’s in a position to decide for themselves what to consume
Read in November, 2009

I was torn how to rate this book. It isn’t perfect (I noted many flaws in its comprehensiveness) but it’s amazing enough, so 5 stars it is.

I’ve read so many books such as this but none for a while, and it’s because reading about how humans use animals is so devastating for me. It’s not just the books’ contents, it’s knowing that, at most, only 1% of Americans feel as I do, that my feelings and beliefs are shared by so few (The latest statistics I have are that 3% of Americans are truly vegetarian and 1% are vegan. vegetarian = never any meat, poultry, fish, vegan adds never any dairy, eggs, honey, leather, wool, silk, beeswax, or, as much as is feasible, any product of animal origin) Also disturbing for me is that I know that others will read this book and won’t absorb what it offers but will dissociate, that even more people won’t have the courage or the interest to read it at all. (Oh, I kind of told a lie: The information in here is incredibly disturbing, whether or not you’ve known it. I don’t want to discourage readers from reading this book though, so I’ll say it’s upsetting but hope that people will want to make an informed consent about what they do. I’m hoping that’s the case because I want many, many people to read this book.)

I highly respect Foer. He is thoughtful and philosophical and, maybe most importantly, non-judgmental and empathetic, and he’s very funny and that helps with taking in the disturbing facts. I appreciated how he incorporates his Jewish background into the book, and enjoyed the family stories that he tells. I’m truly puzzled why he doesn’t have better communication with his dog/why he can’t interpret better his dog’s communications, but given that he started off not even liking dogs I guess he’s made great progress in dog-human relationships.

He provides little snippets of information that are so interesting. For instance: Americans choose to eat less than .25% of the known edible food on the planet. I always know I’ll learn a little with every book I read and I learned a lot, especially about some individual animals/cases.

The letter on page 84 is hilarious, if the reader is already aware that the last thing any factory farmer wants is for the public to see their operations. I laughed and laughed at this letter and I’m so grateful it was there because so much of the book’s contents caused me much emotional pain. (When I needed cheering up while reading the book I kept going back and rereading that letter.)

I’m glad he touched on the connection between animal agriculture and the existence of influenza illnesses in humans. It’s one of my perennial rants, and with H1N1 in the news (and scaring me) it’s very topical.

This book – well, it will depend on what the reader brings to it and who the reader is. For me, it’s so obviously a cogent argument for veganism, but it’s like my last stint as a juror. At the end of the case, as the twelve of us were about to go into deliberations, I said to myself, it’s obvious how we should vote, but our first vote when we got into the jury deliberation room was 6 to 6, not so obvious in the same way to everybody, and the deliberations ended up being very stressful. People feel different ways and believe different things. Foer respects that and that’s one reason why I think this book can strike a chord in anyone who reads it.

This book is very well researched, and Foer spent three years in some hands on type research. The book proper including acknowledgements went through page 270, the notes went from pages 271-331 and the index is on pages 333-341, but it reads more like the memoir it partly is; it does not read like a textbook. The writing is engaging and not at all dry.

Well, it’s good to read a book that isn’t preaching to the choir (ethical vegans) because I think more readers will be open to what this author offers. I don’t see how anyone can read this book and not be changed, whether or not they make changes.

Foer has a “beef” with Michael Pollan, as do I, but I have a bit of a “beef” with Foer: it’s his book (and there are many other books out there and they’re all doing a lot of good in my opinion) but I wish he hadn’t provided so much time to give their points of view to the 4 more humane animal farmers and the vegan who was designing a slaughterhouse. It boggles my mind even more, that those who’ve really known these individual animals could kill them, especially when one is vegetarian and one other says he knows it isn’t necessary for humans to eat meat. I have such mixed feelings, but I’m afraid their rationalizations will give permission for readers to act with the status quo. However, only 1% vegan and 3% vegetarian of the American population, the actions these individuals take can make a difference. Never will 100% of Americans go 100% vegan so reducing suffering and having less of a negative impact on the environment - well how can I argue wholeheartedly?, but I felt very uncomfortable reading these parts, although certainly not as uncomfortable reading the factory farming and slaughter parts of the book.

I’ve heard some vegans complain that Foer doesn’t go far enough and the book doesn’t promote veganism, but this book is getting more mainstream attention than most books of its type, and some people say that they are eliminating or reducing the animal products they consume because of this book. So Foer, along with a bunch of others who are my heroes, are putting more and more information out there. It makes a difference. This book will make a difference. Hopefully, many will read this book and then continue and read some of the other many books and other resources out there as well. I’m very happy that this book is getting the attention and readership that it is.

I found it very interesting reading this book in early November because Foer talks about American Thanksgiving in the book.

So, now I feel incredibly sad and very angry (I know anger is a distancing emotion and I don’t want to others to withdraw from me, but I have a lot of compassion for myself right now and I have a reason to feel that way and that’s how I feel) and I definitely need some lighter reading materials, pronto.(Edit: Re the compassion for myself, blah blah: I'm not a new age type person at all and I don't remember ever saying anything like this with regard to myself, but I was very distraught after reading this book.)

Please go read other reviews of this book. Don’t let my distress dissuade you from reading this important book. I can guarantee that if you get even remotely as emotionally involved as I did while reading this book, you’re either already vegan or you’ll be grateful for the information.

I do have a fundamental disagreement with Foer, who seems to think it's okay at some level to use and kill animals if done humanely. I don't feel that way. Maybe because I'm already vegan and knew so much of the information in this book, my favorite parts were when Foer wrote about his (holocaust) survivor grandmother.
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Quotes Lisa Liked

Jonathan Safran Foer
“Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn't motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn't enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Reading Progress

11/04/2009 "I'm not quite starting this yet. Rereading The Giver for a group and a couple of other things but have this in hand as of this evening!" 4 comments
11/05/2009 page 1
0.29% "Plan to start this book tomorrow."
11/06/2009 page 45
13.2% "He's funny-always a plus. Appreciate he includes his Jewish background. Don't understand why he doesn't understand his dog's communications."
11/07/2009 page 81
23.75% "Some are fretting that this isn't a "vegan" book, but in my opinion he presents a compelling case for veganism."
11/07/2009 page 124
36.36% "Ah, the flu! Yes, one of my perpetual rants, and oh how topical!"
11/08/2009 page 165
48.39% "Oh dear. Ugh. Well, if it provides to readers information not known before I guess it's good. Plus, he's funny and personable."
11/08/2009 page 194
56.89% "From '88-'94 & at points more recent read a ton of this stuff. Very painful for me. I hope his conclusion will be in agreement with mine."
11/09/2009 page 247
72.43% "Hard to read. Being in a minority of only 1% of people who feel as I do is harder when I remind myself of the facts."
11/09/2009 page 271
79.47% "About to start the notes section & index. 100% happy w/my choice. I go further than JSF. Devastated feelings back on the surface. So hard." 3 comments

Comments (showing 1-50 of 62) (62 new)

Lisa Vegan Well, this English language title was added by Amazon France, and nobody recognizes the ISBNs, but I'm adding this so I will not forget it. It was recommended to me. I don't know what it's about, but the author and title make it look promising.

message 2: by rivka (new)

rivka This site has it for sale. In Swiss francs, looks like. Says the book is in English.

Ah, correction. They don't currently have any copies, but they'll allow you to put a request to be notified when they do. Sounds like a very small printing, and not too easy to get ahold of.

Lisa Vegan Thanks Rivka. It has a 2009 publication date so I'm assuming there might be an English language American edition added to the database at some point. I thought I'd put it on my shelves as a reminder to myself and assume I'll combine and switch editions at some point.

message 4: by rivka (new)

rivka It has a 2009 publication date

I missed that! It certainly would explain the no copies for sale at the moment. ;)

Lisa Vegan Elizabeth, Thanks very much! I hope so because it's a very worthwhile book. I'm currently trying to recuperate. Right now I'm more stunned than anything, and sad.

RE the anger being distancing: I meant anger in general. I know I'm sometimes uncomfortable when people are very angry. Ah well.

message 6: by Rachel (last edited Nov 10, 2009 08:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel Hi Lisa, good review! Yeah, the factory farm descriptions are very disturbing; this is the information I want ALL MEAT-EATERS to read. They need to know what they're consenting to when they chow down on Thanksgiving turkey or McDonalds sausage and egg biscuit. But for me, it didn't emotionally affect me much, because it's stuff I already know about and have long since processed and moved past. i.e., go vegan and encourage others to do the same. I guess I'm kind of like the guy (in the book) who was able to look at the animals trapped in Aquariums in peace, after he stopped eating fish. When I read those gruesome passages, all I think is, is GEEZ, more people need to know about this! Every time I read more facts about the suffering of animals, it lights more of a fire in me to step up my efforts to volunteer and leaflet and donate money to organizations like PCRM, Vegan Outreach, etc. So I actually LIKE reading these details, and it doesn't emotionally bother me, other than inspiring me to do EVEN MORE to help the animals who are suffering like that.

Also, I really LIKED the differing viewpoints presented. For me, those were the most useful parts of the book, as I didn't know many details about those viewpoints and the less cruel methods of farming. Those are the parts where I really felt I was learning and expanding my understanding and "getting a lot" out of the book.

Lisa Vegan Rachel, Yes, I read your notes somewhere about your take on the alternative (old fashioned) farming methods and I can understand how you feel. I've known about all this for over 20 years but reading the specifics is always difficult for me. I wish I could adopt your attitude. Occasionally I can. Most often, given that I do already know of the atrocities, I can feel as you feel IF if don't read books such as this. I've read fewer and fewer over the last 15 years. I figure I'm already a vegan and so why torture myself. I do feel the same as you about wanting to do even more to help the animals and, while I'm vegan for the animals, to do more regarding the environment too.

message 8: by Lisa (last edited Nov 10, 2009 08:41AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Rachel, That aquarium guy was Franz Kafka. ;-)

Rachel hee hee.
Yeah, I admit to be completely ignorant about FK. How cool that goodreads has a biography feature! Thanks for turning me on to that.

message 10: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Rachel, at any book just click on the aurhor's name and you'll go to their profile.

message 11: by Kathryn (last edited Nov 10, 2009 10:58AM) (new)

Kathryn Lisa,

I was moved by your review and I have also been drawn to your reviews of similar titles. I have tried for over thirteen years to be a strict vegetarian (and, at times, vegan) and have succeeded for long intervals in the past--a challenging feat when no one else in my family has been so inclined. However, I am currently experiencing health issues that make it seem almost impossible for me to maintain good nutrition without being non-vegan as I can no longer eat rice, wheat, corn, potatoes, soy or beans (or sugar)--all of which were my long-term staples for a vegetarian diet.

If you, or any of your vegetarian/vegan friends posting here, can think of any recipes or suggestions to share with me to help me stay as true to a vegetarian or vegan diet as possible, I would be so grateful. Truly, I feel so disturbed at having broken with my ideals and eating eggs, milk and, sometimes, chicken but I am at wits end feeling that I can hardly maintain any sort of "balanced" diet at all given my vast restrictions, let alone keeping vegetarian or vegan.

I am told that this diet will not last forever, that within a year or so my GI tract may be healed enough that I can go back to eating more carbohydrates and, thus, resort to the type of diet I feel in my heart is the right one. I will be eager to read your many reviews on vegetarian and vegan cookbooks then. Meanwhile, I struggle trying to maintain my health and my conscience and any recipes you might suggest would be very welcome!

Thank you,

message 12: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Kathryn, oh, that does sound challenging, and miserable. I hope eliminating those foods has helped you feel better! And I hope that you'll be able to add them back in because I'm sure they were hard to give up.

I am out and about right now but there are hundreds of vegan cookbooks and thousands of recipes, many designed with all sorts of dietary restrictions in mind. I know a few people who might have some ideas, both for more toward a plant based diet and also just to liven up what you can eat. I will share what I learn and I'll try to do sone research too and think about the cookbooks/resources I have as well.

I'm about to get tested for celiac disease, which I don't think I have. If I do it will be tough.

message 13: by Kathryn (last edited Nov 10, 2009 12:47PM) (new)

Kathryn Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness, Lisa! :-) And, yes, I am actually feeling MUCH better with the new diet, so at least there is some reward for giving up so much!

I hope you don't have celiac disease. Supposedly I do not, either, but I still have all sorts of intestinal issues when I eat certain carbohydrates.

Rachel Hi Kathryn,

I saw a presentation by Roe Gallo. She does not eat any of the foods you've listed. Her mantra is the only things the are good to eat are raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Anything else is a compromised food.

Roe Gallo is this incredibly beautiful, slim, funny, amazing lady ... she must be in her 50s, which is neither old nor young, but I was 32 at the time when I saw her speak, and she was lookin' WAY BETTER than me! And it's not just about looks ... she's about loving yourself enough to take care of your body by exercising, eating right, getting enough sleep, etc. Those are her beauty secrets! I saw that in jest, because of course those are not "secrets" to anybody. But if you hear her speak, you will be energized and ready to make positive change in your life.

Here is her web site. I highly recommend Roe Gallo! She is truly inspirational.

Good luck, Kathryn!

message 15: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Thank you so much, Rachel! :-) I am eager to explore that website. YAY!

message 16: by Sfdreams (new)

Sfdreams Kathryn,
I echo Rachel's comment. Raw,living foods are the most healthy foods to eat. It can be challenging (I am currently trying to find my way back to 100% raw) but I feel so GOOD, so ALIVE when on raw. Also, all my aches and pains disappeared and my diabetes abated.

Many people on raw food for a long time report appearing younger, grey hair reversing to natural color, etc. I was only raw for 8 months, so did not have any of these effects, but I did lose 84 pounds, have more energy, and no pain. (I have arthritis everywhere in my body)

Some other websites to explore are: (this one has hundreds if not thousands of raw recipes)

Sorry, I don't know how to make these links, but you can copy and paste, hopefully.

Hope this helps!

message 17: by Sfdreams (new)

Sfdreams Well, duh!! They turned into links automatically! Happy exploring!

message 18: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Yay! Thank you, Terri. It's so wonderful to find some support and ideas during this trying (but healing!) time.

message 19: by Sfdreams (new)

Sfdreams De nada, Kathryn! Let me know how it goes for you!

Rachel Lisa, when you said

"I read your notes somewhere about your take on the alternative (old fashioned) farming methods and I can understand how you feel."

what were you referring to? Hopefully it wasn't the quote from JSF that I used a status update. :) If so, I know that was confusing! I posted it because I thought it was an interesting position to take as a vegetarian. But it's not necessarily what I think ... although I can understand JSF's point of view on that.

message 21: by Lisa (last edited Nov 11, 2009 01:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Rachel, No, you'd said something about being interested in the family farms vs. factory farms; I didn't mean you'd want to consume their products.

edit: Rachel: Here:

Rachel Donovan is on page 203 of Eating Animals

"I may not eat their products, but my commitment to supporting the kind of farming Paul and Frank do [on family farms:] has steadily deepened."

message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Thank you Abigail! I'm relieved. I really, really appreciate hearing your input.

message 23: by Rachel (last edited Nov 12, 2009 04:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel Yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about! I was at the limit of the characters length for status updates ... so there was no way for me to add something to show this was a quote. I immediately added a comment to it, explaining ... I thought it was interesting thing for a vegetarian to say. (Just like I mentioned the thing about the dog recipe.) Of course, once I had more space, I attached a big-ass comment to it, talking about other things in the book. I thought the comment would make it clear to everyone, that this was a JSF quote, and not necessarily indicative of my views at all. But, like a day later, I noticed that when you look at my status update ... the comment is actually very hard to find and locate. So it would be very easy to miss my explanation!

Then, I put in a new status update saying that the p.203 status update is just a quote from JSF and please see the comments to read my commentary on it. And I copied and pasted the "p. 203 status update comment" into the "review comment" section, because i did notice that the comments to the entire review are MUCH MORE accessible and easily find-able than the comments on the status updates.

After all that, I thought it would be clear. Later on, I saw this thing from you saying that I've posted "my take" on the traditional farming methods, and I thought, where did I post that? I never said what I personally think about it. The only place would be if you thought my status update was from me, rather than from JSF, but by that time, I thought surely I had made it clear enough.

But if you're posting, even now, that you think my p. 203 status update is from me, instead of a quote from JSF .... that means: dang! It still isn't clear!

OH WELL! I hope JSF doesn't think I'm trying to plagiarize! I only wanted to post that quote and "hmmm, an interesting perspective for a vegetarian" as my status update, but alas, I was foiled! oh well.

ay-yai-yai. technology.

Lisa wrote: "Rachel, No, you'd said something about being interested in the family farms vs. factory farms; I didn't mean you'd want to consume their products.

edit: Rachel: Here:

Rachel Donovan is on page 20..."

message 24: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Edit: Rachel, You can always edit or delete that particular status update. It isn't clear in my opinion.

Rachel oh, we can edit the old status updates!? that would be great. and yes, i knew it wasn't clear, even as i submitted it, that's why i immediately added the comment explaining that this was a quote from JSF. then, it kept bothering me that the comment did not show up being clearly linked to that ... i kept seeing my status update in various views (some views show everybody's updates on the same book, other views just show my updates, etc), and in each case, there was NO WAY to see any comment i had posted explaining it. i was really irked by that! that's why i kept adding the explanation in more places, hoping that anyone who was wondering about it, would definitely come across the explanation (esp. my gr "friends," as I hoped my comments would show up in their news feed). but if i can change the status update, that will be awesome! i've never seen any way to edit an old status update. ... so i will try to do that. thanks lisa!!!

Rachel ugh! actually, i don't see any way to delete that status update. bummer! i hope the later status update (the one that says something like: "the p. 203 status update is a quote from JSF"), as well as the additional 2 comments I made (one on the status update itself, and one on my review) will serve to alert people. i can't think of anything else to do.

funny thing is, that whole comment is not anything i would ever say ... the tone and everything is just not my style at all (it's much more eloquent than anything i'd write), and as for the philosophical implications ... well, let me just say, i did find it to be a very curious quote from JSF!

one thing that makes me wonder: if he has such an enormous respect for what the family farmers are doing, why won't he consume their products? seems like there's some kind of a disconnect there. he does say in one chapter that he won't eat their products because there is still some cruelty involved in what they do. well, okay ... but then, if there's cruelty involved still, enough so that he won't consume their products, then why does he have this huge amount of respect for them? you see what i mean? it sort of goes round and round in a circle.

i guess maybe he respects them for providing less cruelly produced animals products for the people who absolutely must have meat. i guess, right now i can see some respect because these guys are trying to produce the least cruel meat possible. but what happens when there is an even less cruel option (i.e., laboratory-produced meat)? will he still have the same deepening respect for the family farmers?

the quote brought up so many questions in my mind. that's why i posted it. at the time, i would have loved to hear people's discussion about it. too bad i can't find a way to edit it, and my comments about it (saying it's a QUOTE) do not show up easily. OH WELL.

message 27: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Rachel wrote: "ugh! actually, i don't see any way to delete that status update. bummer! i hope the later status update (the one that says something like: "the p. 203 status update is a quote from JSF"), as well..."

Rachel, Go to the book's page. Click on view all status updates where your review is. At that status update, click on the day/time stamp. From there you'll see a delete link, but then you'll delete your entire status update and all comments on it. If you want to do that, fine. Otherwise, you can edit from there too such as "JSF says:"

message 28: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Many excellent reviews of this book have been written here at Goodreads. Please go check out this new one by Ginny:

Lindsey Your review is wonderful too, Lisa :D Very thoughtful, and I agree with you on everything!

message 30: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Thanks, Lindsey. Even though I knew most of what was in the book, I was a mess when I finished, and I didn't wait until I'd calmed down before I wrote the review. I just spewed it out.

So many excellent reviews here including your review and Ginny's. And Montambo's is terrific too. And others. I'm glad it's getting lots of reviews.

Rachel According to goodreads book shelves, there are 4000+ people "currently reading" the Omnivore's Dilemma, and only 113 currently reading "Eating Animals." There were like 14,000 people with OD on their "to-read" list, and 1000+ with EA on there.

I hope EA will grow in popularity and become even bigger than OD. We'll see!

message 32: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn I'm just curious, what do you think makes EA so superior to OD? (I know OD is not advocating vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, but is there anything else?) I have not read either but, of course, have heard LOTS about OD. Good publicity on that one!!! Sad to see a superior volume read less due to fewer marketing dollars or whatever it is...

message 33: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Well I'm about to start EA so add one more to the currently reading. I hope the readership explodes!

Lindsey My friend went to the bookstore to get EA recently, and they were sold out. They said they can't keep it in stock!

message 35: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Kathryn wrote: "I'm just curious, what do you think makes EA so superior to OD? (I know OD is not advocating vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, but is there anything else?) I have not read either but, of course, have h..."


That's a good question. I have a bad taste in my mouth from The Omnivore's Dilemma. (Read The Botany of Desire A Plant's-Eye View of the World instead. It's a fabulous book!)

Read my review of The Omnivore's Dilemma to get a more in depth view of my take on it:

and Ginny's review of Eating Animals: (toward the beginning she mentions TOD/MP.)

But, that's a good question.

Actually, Pollan does imply that the ideal diet is vegan/near vegan. He specifically says to eat mostly plants.

Both men are terrific and entertaining writers, and I suspect that they're both decent guys.

Pollan's hypocrisy and grandstanding really rubbed me the wrong way. I don't want to tell you too much about either book (Pollan/The Omnivore's Dilemma is mentioned several times in Foer's book) in case you want to read either/both of them. Pollan does some ridiculous things/comes to some ridiculous conclusions, and I don't say that just because I believe in veganism. I do think both books contain important information. They're different types of books.

Re marketing: The Omnivore's Dilemma has been out for a long time. Eating Animals has been out for 2 weeks, and I do think it's getting a fair amount of marketing/publicity.

Rachel, Lee, Lindsey, Yes, many people are reading this book, including omnivores who'd never have thought they'd read a book such as this. I'm excited that more people will get the information that's in this book. I was amazed in 1988 when I learned of this stuff and I'm still amazed at how the vast majority of people are completely ignorant of what goes on in order for their food to get on the table, and for their other consumer items to get to them as well.

message 36: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Thanks, Lisa. Most interesting!

message 37: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Kathryn, I could go into much more detail but I've kind of had my fill of The Omnivore's Dilemma and I'm still getting over being re-traumatized from Eating Animals.

If you have any other specific questions though, I'm always happy to answer them.

Update on Nov. 16 ... "Eating Animals" has moved from #32 to #14 on the New York Times Best Sellers list for hardcover nonfiction:

Yahooo! I wonder if, years from now, EA will have way more readers than OD. I haven't read OD, but it sounds like it gives readers much more of an "easy way out" than EA does. It sounds like OD allows the reader to say "Oh how terrible" and then go ahead eating meat just like always.

BTW, Lisa, is there some way to find out how many people have the item on their "read" shelf? I only see the "to-read" and "currently-reading" stats, as well as a zillion other user-created shelves, but I can't find the stats for the "read" shelf.

message 39: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Rachel,

You got it exactly. Pollan says it's better to not eat meat but he's going to do it anyway. Etc.

Re read: Yes. For every book, on the book's page, it has the number of ratings which generally = number read.

The Omnivore's Dilemma (which has been out for 3 1/2 years):

23,794 ratings, 4.26 average rating, 6,000 reviews

Eating Animals (which has been out for 2 weeks):

83 ratings, 4.57 average rating, 60 reviews

Still, I'd have hoped for more for Eating Animals. But it has been only 2 weeks, plus some advance of publication copies too.

message 40: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Kathryn,

As I said, I don't want to tell too much of what is in either book, but one of Foer's points about Pollan is when Pollan contends that it's more polite (to one's hosts for instance) by not asking to be served a veg*n meal (veg*n = vegan or vegetarian), Foer says it's easier for hosts to serve a vegetarian/vegan meal these days that to try to serve Pollan's way of only locally grown, humanely raised and slaughtered animals (which is nearly impossible and would involve a lot of effort of the hosts' part to even approximate this), slow food movement, etc. etc.

message 41: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Kathryn, Just one more example and then I really will be quiet: Pollan decides to make a meal where he's responsible for the whole thing, Growing, gathering, etc. with a bit of local thrown in that isn't his 100% The man lives in Berkeley, CA. He has a garden. He says it's best to eat mostly plants, In addition to food from his garden, going mushroom hunting, etc. he has to go wild boar hunting. It was gruesome and completely unnecessary. (I'll be quiet now.)

message 42: by Rachel (last edited Nov 16, 2009 04:24PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel Lisa wrote: "Foer says it's easier for hosts to serve a vegetarian/vegan meal these days that to try to serve Pollan's way of only locally grown, humanely raised and slaughtered animals ..."

Yes, when I read this in JSF's book, I thought it was AWESOME. I've often thought this, but I don't hear others say it enough. How the heck would your host be able to get his/her hands on one of Frank Reese's turkeys when he's sold out months in advance, anyway? By contrast, the ingredients for a simple dish like rice, beans, and cornbread, or pasta and marinara sauce and veggies, can be found at just about any corner store that sells canned and dried foods.

Going vegetarian is WAY EASIER than going "all family farm."

message 43: by Rachel (last edited Nov 16, 2009 05:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel There are already 32 reviews of EA at, some of them very heart-felt.

What do you think, Lisa, should we encourage some of the folks who posted compelling reviews here on goodreads to cross-post on amazon? I bet amazon has more readership than goodreads. At amazon, people will be reading these reviews while literally trying to decide whether to click the "add to shopping cart" button.

I know some vegans are boycotting amazon because they sell dog fighting magazines and other bad stuff, but it doesn't change the fact that 1000s of people will be reading those reviews ... and I'd rather have 1000s of people buying and reading EA from amazon, rather than 1000s of people *not* buying it because it's not available at the store or they're just too busy and/or lazy to go out and buy it. (Clicking that shopping cart button is oh so much easier!)

message 44: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Rachel, I'm glad that there are glowing reviews on Amazon and I hope they sell many copies of this book. I won't post reviews there though. Many of their reviews can't be trusted/there are some professional reviewers. Also, Amazon "owns" all posted reviews, at least that's my understanding. There are 2.4 million members here and many are English readers, this book is getting reviewed in many professional publications. There are other online bookstores. Does have reader reviews? Anyway, one problem with posting on Amazon is that I'm not sure it's okay with Amazon that those reviews are posted here too. I'm sticking with Goodreads and trusting that newspapers, magazines, tv shows, Amazon and other reviewers will get out the word about this book.

Then, I hope some other books get read. That's what happened to me in 1988 when I read Diet for a New America How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth. From then on for the next 6 1/2 years + I gorged on book after book about the subject.

message 45: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan This book is mentioned in the movers and shakers section of Goodreads's November newsletter:

I'm thinking an effective action would be to invite Jonathan Safran Foer to be a goodreads author member.

Here are some basic instructions:

Be sure to add your own message. The key is finding an email or snail mail address so that the invitation can be sent. The more invitations sent, the more likely he is to accept. There are Goodreads members who look for books by Goodreads authors for when they look for their next to read book. I do give slight preference to authors who have joined the Goodreads author program.

Rachel Thanks for the info on the goodreads author program! Would be great if JSF joins. I'll send him a message.

Virginia Messina I can't keep up with the comments on Lisa's wonderful review of this book!

Just to add my two cents about The Omnivore's Dilemma, I have actually come to like this book less over time. I think that Michael Pollan's solutions are elitist--totally inaccessible to the average person--and I think it's unfortunate that he was so dismissive of vegetarianism. JSF understands that going vegetarian or mostly vegetarian is the only realistic option for those who don't want to support factory farming, and I appreciate his honesty about this. I also appreciate his honesty about the fact that there is no such thing as humanely-produced animal foods. There is no way Pollan would have admitted that. And I think JSF's struggles with going vegan are honest, too. Pollan just chose the easy way out. JSF chose the best way even if it isn't easy for him.

Anyway, it would be great if he became a goodreads author! His website gives these email addresses: which is for all suggestions.

His publicist is

message 48: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Ginny, Thanks for those addresses. I'll try to invite him within the week.

message 49: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Anyone who invites Jonathan Safran Foer or any other author to Goodreads: You might consider joining this group:

and posting your progress.

I just invited him and I'm about to post in that group.

message 50: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Thank you so much for the discussion, everyone! I truly appreciate it.

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