Review, Book Tour & Giveaway: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal Vegetable Miracle Book Cover

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
By Barbara Kingsolver
HarperCollins
April 2008
400pp

The Short of It:

This is a life-changing book for anyone who has ever stopped to think about where food comes from. Not preachy, just wonderful.

The Rest of It:

Barbara Kingsolver is known for the many books she’s written. Many of which, I have grown to love. What I didn’t know is that she is an advocate for buying local. Local produce, local meats, dairy, etc. There is a huge advantage to the planet when a purchase is made locally. When you think of fuel costs and what it costs to transport food half-way across the country, it just makes more sense to buy things locally.

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Kingsolver and her family move from Tucson to their farm in the southern Appalachians for a year of growing their own food, raising their own livestock and testing out their ability to survive on what’s available to them locally. What struck me with this book is that it is truly a book of discovery. No lectures. No pointing fingers telling you what you must do, etc. It’s just a beautifully written “year in the life” memoir that happens to be about my favorite thing, food.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this book is life-changing. It is. It really makes you question where your food comes from. As a nation, we are used to walking into a grocery store and having everything available to us at all times. Take watermelon for example. It’s available to us year-round but just because it’s available, doesn’t mean it’s good.

Think about where that melon came from for it to be available in the off-season. Then think about how much it costs to transport that fruit. If you’re so inclined, go one step further and think about taste. How fresh could it be if it was driven half-way across the country for it to end up in our shopping cart?

In addition to buying wisely, Kingsolver also touches on sustaining your family on what you can grow or raise at home. This isn’t a “how-to” book by any means but it’s gotten my wheels turning and it’s made me look at gardening in a different way. Even someone without a lot of property can grow some herbs or tomatoes to add to salads and other home cooked meals. The gesture need not be big. It could be as simple as buying produce at your local farmer’s market.

I know with my time constraints I will never have the vegetable garden that I’ve always dreamed of, but I have the land so this spring I am going to grow something. Not sure what quite yet but something good. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has inspired me to at least try. If you’ve ever been interested in the food chain, I encourage you to read this book.

Barbara Kingsolver

To visit Barbara Kingsolver’s website, click here.

To visit the Animal, Vegetable, Miracle website, click here. The site includes recipes from the book!

To view Kingsolver’s other TLC tour stops, click here.

Source: A big ‘thank you’ to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be a part of this tour and to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of the book and a second copy to giveaway.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

I am so excited to be giving away a copy of this book. If I could afford it, I’d give a copy to everyone I know. For a chance to win, read the details below and simply leave a comment under this post.

1. Open to the U.S. and Canada.

2. Make sure I have a way to contact you.

3. Giveaway is open until Sunday, 10/17/2010 (Pacific).

4. A winner will be announced on Monday, 10/18/2010.

Good luck!

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27 Responses

  1. I am glad you found this book so inspiring, Ti! I’ve seen mention of this book before and been curious about it. It certainly sounds like a worthwhile read.

    No need to enter me in the giveaway–I’m trying to keep book intake down right now with the upcoming move.

  2. This book definitely sounds like something I want to read. I’ve changed my approach to food since discovering Michael Pollan’s books and this book looks like it would take things even further!

  3. I SO want to read this book, and just have not acquired a copy yet. So many have raved about this one. Please enter me; thanks Ti

    bibliophilebythesea AT gmail DOT com

  4. This certainly sounds like a worth while read. I’m embarassed to say I never bothered to check this book out despite being a fan of much of Kingsolver’s books. I kind of dismissed it because it was a non-fiction book about well, where our food comes from! But I was thinking more along the lines of the horror stories I’ve heard about how chickens are treated, how poorly the animals from whom we get our meat are cared for. But your review has set me straight. And when I think about it, if I’m eatiung & giving my family certain foods, I should know something about them.

    Thank you for your insightful review, Ti!
    ~ Amy

  5. Ooops, I forgot to include my email address in my above comment!

    I’d love to win a copy of this book and learn something about the food I eat from a writer whose work I always have enjoyed reading.

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway! Please include me in it!
    ~ Amy
    Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

  6. Please sign me up!! rubbieburns at gmail dot com

  7. All of the reviews I’ve read lately for this book have been positive, so I was excited to see that you were giving away a copy!

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  8. Please throw my name in the hat for this giveaway T! Thanks!!

    planetbooksworldwide (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. It’s so true that buying local is better. I live in the “fruit belt” area of Ontario & there’s nothing better than buying peaches, cherries, tomatoes, and green beans from the roadside stands with the farmland in the background :) Will add this to the TBR list. Great review, Ti!

  10. I just read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, and had a similar reaction. He talks about similar issues, although he doesn’t move to a farm!

  11. I’d love a chance to read this book – I’ve heard quite a few good things about it.

    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

  12. I’ve had this on my to-read list for a long time.

    cruzed at knoxnews dot com

  13. I tried to get this one on audio but it had scratches all over it and I cried while taking it back to the library! I just know that I want/have to read it!!!

  14. I’ve been growing my own vegetable garden for a few years now in the backyard of my Toronto house. It’s only this year that we’ve started trying to think of ways to preserve our veggies by freezing them so we can enjoy them all year long. Good thing we have a big deep freeze! I guess it’s one step closer to local all year long.

    I’d love to read this book! Please put my name in the draw.

    jennyleeferguson at gmail dot com

  15. Brilliant review. It makes me never want to buy out of season produce again. Just because I can doesn’t mean I should. You’ve intrigued me … and I hope I win the book, but I think I shall look into getting it on my own if I don’t.

  16. Do not count me in as I am overseas. I just wanted to say I never knew she wrote anything other than fiction! It sounds a very good read particularly for anyone who is living in a very “supermarket” oriented society.

  17. I need to figure out how to do a giveaway and why…I am stuck with 77 followers…should I do a 77 follower give away? Just teasing…you should try the chicken slow cooker recipe on my blog…it was yummy…I am ok without the giveaway…I am not entering until I learn how to give something away…hee hee hee…

  18. Very relevant book, please count me in!

  19. I’m really excited about this book myself, since I love so many of her others. Confession time: I’ve had it on my shelf for YEARS and haven’t read it. :( I definitely have to remedy that soon!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  20. I loved this book too and learned how to make cheese after I read it! I loved the idea of buying local food. No need to enter me.

  21. I’m so glad you thoroughly enjoyed this book. I did too. I agree it’s a life-changing book. It made me think and re-evaluate everything I did after reading it. No need to enter me.

  22. I was so glad to see a review of this book on your blog. I recently finished In Defense of Food which was very interesting but a bit dry. This sounds as informative but entertaining as well. Thanks for the chance!

  23. I do like the idea of buying locally–I just wish it were less expensive. It’s also an idea that’s vastly more easy to make happen if you live in a part of the country where you can buy fresh things locally year–round. If I had to survive off what is local to me in the winter, I’d be eating a lot of beef and feed corn!

  24. [...] by Laura Lippman 46. Naked in Eden by Robin Easton 47. The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen 48. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver 49. The Angels are the Reapers by Alden Bell (aka Joshua [...]

  25. [...] by Laura Lippman 45. Naked in Eden by Robin Easton 46. The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen 47. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver 48. The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (aka Joshua Gaylord) 49. Proof: [...]

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