Not Oprah’s Book Club: Eating Animals

For those who’ve been paying attention to my writing about food politics, I’ve slowly made my way through the concepts of eating locally, to volunteering on an organic farm, to self-canning and preserving.
A lot of my changing politics around food have been motivated by books I’ve read on the topic. Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma got me to think about farmer’s markets and where my food comes from, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle got me thinking about gardening and now Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest book, Eating Animals, has gotten me revisiting vegetarianism.
Safran Foer’s book, for me, was about finally reading the things I think I knew existed but had been avoiding about factory farming and the impact of the amount of meat we eat on our environment.
To be totally honest, I didn’t love the way the book was written. I thought it was choppy at times, didn’t have a great narrative flow, and was often too postmodern for my tastes. But Safran Foer is known for his literary fiction, not activist writing, so it’s not surprising that this would be the case.
But he did present the issues at hand without sugarcoating at all, and it was enough to push me over the edge. About halfway through the book I stopped eating meat (including seafood) with the exception of what little meat I buy at my farmer’s market.
I think Safran Foer will bring these issues to a new audience, one who wouldn’t necessarily pick up a book about food politics but loved his first two novels. I’m glad that books about food politics and the realities of factory farming are on the New York Times Bestseller list.
I’m not going to try and rehash the arguments he makes about why we shouldn’t eat meat, or the impact it has on the environment, because he does it much better than I could in a blog post. But I would recommend checking out the book. You can read an excerpt here.

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