Something completely different: Barbara Kingsolver
Posted October 11, 2010on:
Let’s do something completely different today.
Barbara Kingsolver’s books have been described as chick lit, contemporary lit, environmental, feminist, and historical fiction. I like to call them just damn good. Of her more than a dozen novels and nonfiction, I’ve only read three, but I’ve liked everything I’ve picked up by her – Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, and Animal Vegetable Miracle.
and thanks to Fyrefly over at Fyrefly’s Book Blog (go visit her!), now I have a copy of The Lacuna as well.
As much as I enjoy a rip roaring crazy fantastical adventure, sometimes it’s really nice to sit back and enjoy a novel that feels like a never ending mug of hot chocolate.
If you’ve never read Kingsolver, she has two drastically different books that I can’t recommend enough:
The Poisonwood Bible – Told through the eyes of the four daughters of a missionary Preacher, the family is in The Congo in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The girls, Rachel, Leah, Adah and and Ruth May range from ages five to to 15, and experience their overzealous father, new surroundings, and the political turmoil of the area in very different ways. The girls adapt pretty quickly, and their father, well, doesn’t. He might be an outspoken preacher, but it’s the women in this story who are forced to adapt, forced to change, and choose to be courageous. Two wonderful write ups can be found here, and here
Animal Vegetable Mineral (non fiction) – This is an account of Kingsolver and her family (husband and two daughters) and their move from the American southwest to family propery in rural Virginia. The family had a mission: Could they survive for one year on foods they grew themselves or foods purchased locally? They till their farm, aquire some chickens and turkeys, meet the locals, can up a storm, and generally have a blast. I do enjoy all those documentaries on the evils of corporate farming, but the message of “eat local or die!” often comes off as unnecisarily preachy. This isn’t one of those preachy “eat local” stories. It’s just about a family, and a farm, and learning what works and what doesn’t. And the scenes with the turkeys are absolutely hilarious. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about. There are maybe a dozen farm and family friendly recipes scattered throughout, and the corn pudding has become a standard at my Thanksgiving table. Check our Fyrefly’s great write up here.