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Saturday, September 29, 2007

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Kingsolver)

ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE; a year of food life (HarperCollins,
2007, unabridged, 14.5 hours on 12 CDs, ISBN 978-0-06-085357-0, $49.95
set) is by Barbara Kingsolver, an American poet, novelist and creative
non-fictionist. This is the audiobook version of the printed book
released in the Spring of 2007. Academic parts of this book have been
written by Steven Hopp, an environmental studies teacher, who is
Kingsolver's partner. Personal, diary-like entries come from Camille
Kingsolver, her teenaged daughter. All three of them read their own
writings on this audiobook. The basic premise of the book is: you are
what you eat, and you need to put the kitchen back at the centre of
family life. The family has moved back to Hopp's Kentucky farm full-
time. Previously, they were there just during the summers, and rented
it out for the other months. Now, they will be raising their own food
on their mixed farm, doing without the civilities of convenience foods,
junk foods, etc. etc. This work has been described as part memoir and
part journalistic investigation, with diversified farms at the centre
of the American diet. It goes the 100-mile diet one better: this is the
100-yard diet. The recipes are part of CD number 12, and you can print
them out (it's a PDF file, 28 pages long).
Audience and level of use: environmentalists, foodies, farmers.
Some interesting or unusual facts: there is an author interview not
found in the book.
The downside to this book: the book itself lacked an index, which I
found extremely annoying since I wanted to refer back to some points
and to Hopp's notes. The audiobook also has no index. There is also a
list of resources (organizations, bibliographies) which is not on the
The upside to this book: glory be, there ARE chapter designations and
descriptions and timings on the CD labels, so the listener can get his
bearings (e.g., Looking for Mr. Goodvegetable 10:27 timing, part of
Chapter 20).
Quality/Price Rating: 92.

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