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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Book Review: "Living Wild and Domestic"

It's an interesting experience to finish a book and think, "I could have done that myself." Of course, I couldn't have done it as well as Robert Kimber. He says things I think with far greater skill than I even manage to think them. I found his book, "Living Wild and Domestic - The Education of a Hunter-Gardener" at the library while browsing the shelves. It looked interesting, so I added it to my pile of take-homes. And read all the others first.

Rarely does a hunter express the dichotomy of loving to hunt while hating to kill with anything approaching Kimber's finesse. Anyone who hunts successfully knows the dilema. There is - or should be - a bit of sadness attending to putting game on the table. It's a serious thing to take a life, even when it's going in the stew pot. It's the same with animals raised for meat. To get dinner on the table, the animal has to die.

Even an unrepentant carnivore like me wants some vegetables to go with the steak. Kimber's wife is the gardener in his equation. It's been about 5 years since I've been able to plant a garden...I miss it. Growing your food makes you responsible for your dinner in a way that going to the grocer does not. The care put into digging, planting and tending is revealed in the harvest. The big thing I miss about Missouri is standing in the garden in the hottest day of summer with fresh tomato juice dripping off my elbow as I eat the first Brandiwine right there.

If you are concerned about your food, where it comes from, and how it gets to the plate, this is a good book to read. If you hunt and/or grow your own food (animal or vegetable) it will sort out your feelings about your actions. If you buy all your food, it might help you understand why some of us do it ourselves.

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My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"