Previous month:
December 2009
Next month:
February 2010

Of possible interest: "My Empire of Dirt"

Nonfiction Reviews: 1/25/2010 - 1/25/2010 - Publishers Weekly.
My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big City Backyard into a Farm Manny Howard Scribner, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4165-8516-9

Howard expands upon a prize-winning New York magazine article about converting the backyard of his family’s Brooklyn home into a farm with the goal of growing enough crops and raising enough livestock to feed himself for a month (turning the garage into a barn helped), and it’s not a pretty story. READ MORE ...

Flourish on WB's "Gift": Wirzba

Norman Wirzba on Wendell Berry's — Flourish.
Reading “The Gift of Good Land” 30 years after its initial publication, it is remarkable how well Wendell Berry’s statement holds up as an analysis and challenge to our current situation. Given the ongoing, and in some cases accelerated, destruction of forests, oceans, fields, and watersheds, and the deterioration of many communities and communal spaces, it is a statement worthy of our continued attention. READ MORE ...

Review of "Coal Country"

Book Review | 'Coal Country: Rising Up Against Mountaintop Removal Mining' | | The Courier-Journal.
Coal Country is the eponymous companion text to the documentary film. Essays, commentaries and oral history interviews by such well-known contributors as Denise Giardina, Wendell Berry, Silas House, Ashley Judd and Loretta Lynn characterize the ways in which mountaintop removal (MTR), the practice of coal companies exploding the mountainsides of Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio to extract the underlying coal, is destroying the ecosystem as well as exploiting the culture. READ MORE ...

Flourish on WB's "Gift": Merritt

James Merritt on Wendell Berry: What Is "Right Livelihood" in a Good, but Broken, Land? — Flourish.
I find Wendell Berry’s essay “The Gift of Good Land” both informative and stimulating. For the most part, I find his emphasis on humanity’s place as stewards of God’s creation to be eminently biblical and solidly rooted in the creation account found in Genesis. For too long there has indeed been an “other worldly” mindset concerning the world itself. There is simply no moral, much less biblical, justification for a cavalier approach to the way we relate to this God-created, God-owned, and God-given world in which we live. READ MORE ...

Blog Watch: WB on taking back our power

In defense of living better « Anarchy in a Jar.
The 20th century was all about exploration: space, the poles, the moon, mountain tops, globalization and corporate expansion. There was great invention and profound devastation, greed, waste and limitless consumption; a foolish Icarus fumble that civilizations can relentlessly expand, relentlessly consume without consequence.

But we, the inheritors of this debt, are changing direction. We have no choice. Here in America, at the cusp of the second decade of the 21st century, the state of existence can seem daunting as we face environmental crisis (pollution, species extinction, loss of wilderness, loss of farmland), energy crisis, economic collapse, and war. But not all is lost. Wendell Berry, that sage of our age, says in his incredible essay “The Idea of a Local Economy“:

The “environmental crisis,” in fact, can be solved only if people, individually and in their communities, recover responsibility for their thoughtlessly given proxies. If people begin the effort to take back into their own power a significant portion of their economic responsibility, then their inevitable first discovery is that the “environmental crisis” is no such thing; it is not a crisis of our environs or surroundings; it is a crisis of our lives as individuals, as family members, as community members, and as citizens. We have an “environmental crisis” because we have consented to an economy in which by eating, drinking, working, resting, traveling, and enjoying ourselves we are destroying the natural, the God-given world. READ MORE ...

Oliver? Berry? Berry? Oliver?

The Reading Life: Parsing the Poetry Best-Seller List - ArtsBeat Blog -
Scanning the most recent Poetry Foundation list, for the week ending Jan. 3, 2010, one thing is pretty clear: it’s Mary Oliver’s world, we only live in it. Ms. Oliver, who writes earnest poems about nature, has no fewer than five books in the Top 10. (She’s been knocked out of the No. 1 position this time, however, by Wendell Berry’s book “Leavings.”) READ MORE ...