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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life | [Barbara Kingsolver]

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

When Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally-produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows the family through the first year of their experiment.
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Publisher's Summary

When Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally-produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle follows the family through the first year of their experiment. They find themselves eager to move away from the typical food scenario of American families: a refrigerator packed with processed, factory-farmed foods transported long distances using nonrenewable fuels. In their search for another way to eat and live, they begin to recover what Kingsolver considers our nation's lost appreciation for farms and the natural processes of food production. Americans spend less of their income on food than has any culture in the history of the world, but they pay dearly in other ways: losing the flavors, diversity, and creative food cultures of earlier times. The environmental costs are also high, and the nutritional sacrifice is undeniable: on our modern industrial food supply, Americans are now raising the first generation of children to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Part memoir and part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.

©2007 Barbara Kingsolver; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"Kingsolver has the ear of a journalist and the accuracy of a naturalist." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Carolyn Seattle, WA, USA 08-19-07
    Carolyn Seattle, WA, USA 08-19-07
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    "Non-audio might be better"

    This may be one of the few audiobooks that would be better in the abridged form or just left as a book. I would have liked to skip through some of the sermons. Unfortunately, Kingsolver's sing-songy reading style also annoyed me. I listen in my car, and had to turn the volume on high so I could hear the end of each sentence -- when she apparently runs out of breath and drops out. HOWEVER, her story is fascinating and I learned a lot. I'd just recommend listening to a snippet first to see if you can handle her kindergarten-teacher reading style.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CARL V PHILLIPS Houston, TX United States 06-25-07
    CARL V PHILLIPS Houston, TX United States 06-25-07 Listener Since 2002
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    "good book, especially good audio"

    This is a good book in any form (I have a paper copy too), though it is not a scientific reference manual. Those interested in the details should really read more widely because Kingsolver gets some stuff wrong (including part of her core theses). But the broad sweeps are excellent and she does a good job of painting a picture, and teaching lessons, in terms you will not soon forget. But what really sets it apart as an aural experience is the narration by the authors, which is personable and perfectly recorded and paced. As another reviewer suggested, you really feel connected to them through their narration, bringing another level to the experience of this captivating story and analysis. Without hearing her wax about it, I would never be inclined to plant asparagus! This is particularly good road-trip listening, as you drive through the in-between spaces where most of our food is produced (and also because the radio-style pace is better for driving than some audiobooks which are distracting or sleep-inducing). Even if you have read the paper version, get this and listen to it again in a year, and you will enjoy it again.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Neil Lebanon, PA United States 07-18-12
    Barbara Neil Lebanon, PA United States 07-18-12 Member Since 2008
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    "If you think her fiction is great..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already reccomended this to quite a few friends and hosted a book group to discuss it. I will continue bringing it to the attention of the many readers at my Library.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Barbara not only writes with wit and charm but narrates with soothing clarity and is incredibly easy on one's ears. The additional sections from her husband and eldest daughter are very well done, and have been bookmarked to refer to their statistics and wonderful recipes. If this book doesn't make you think about how you are living and what you are putting in your mouth, I don't believe you are really listening. If you have the slightest interest in food or gardening this is a must-listen. Non-fiction that reads like fiction is hard to find and their farm life and travels take me to a beautiful place full of sun and tomato leaves. It's realism does not leave me despondent. It is clear that if we try to eat seasonally and locally each of us can make a difference even if we don't aspire to do it perfectly. Contains very practical ideas and educates without lecturing.

    Hopefully there will be a revised and updated edition or a sequel in five to ten years.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I have never written a review before but this title demands it. If I could buy a copy for everyone I would. Thank you Ms. Kingsolver for doing such wonderful work with the book and the narration. It is such a joy.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thursamaday Victoria, BC 06-26-12
    Thursamaday Victoria, BC 06-26-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Really enlightening & informative"
    Would you listen to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle again? Why?

    Barbara did a great job with give mounds of information in a very personal story. It really shifted my perspective on life and food. I would listen to it again, and I wish everyone would read/listen to this book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Silver City, NM, United States 01-17-12
    Kindle Customer Silver City, NM, United States 01-17-12 Member Since 2015

    Book Addict

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    "Loved the Journey"
    What other book might you compare Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to and why?

    Botany of Desire


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    I enjoyed the different prespecitives from the daughter and mother.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Loved the discoveries made along the way and how they grew into the changes and worked things into their life


    Any additional comments?

    As an avid organic gardner and now chicken raiser (eggs only thus far) I think so much about the soil growing the soil and how to work with the plants animals and my climate. I loved hearing all the sustanable learning that went on in this book. Yes I also make my own cheese, can, freeze and dry my foods and enjoyed learning anothers personal experiences in these areas and how proud they also are of their stores.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Pearson Idaho 11-23-11
    E. Pearson Idaho 11-23-11 Member Since 2008

    Occasional Thinker

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    "Non-fiction As Good as it Gets"

    Kingsolver is a master writer. It blows me away that she can take a year-long experiment/ philosophical statement and keep it both entertaining and digestable. While I tended to agree with much if not most of her views about approaching the dilemmas of responsible agriculture production and consumption, I can imagine that some of her statements might rub SOME readers as a bit polemic; still, she relays her views with a good-humored and gentle fair-mindedness that would cause very few to disregard her overall message: this life we are all beneficiaries of is essential to respect and reverence. I particualry appreciate that she (and her two co-authors) are rigorously intellectual and sensible about the information they share. This is solid academic fare, delivered as credible and enlightening story: doesn't get much better than that. Sidenote: it's been my experience that authors are often NOT the best readers of their own work; as I embarked on this listen, I thought the authors' reading was going to cause me to give it up. But with time it improved and, I suspect, we all felt a bit more comfortable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AsInfo 08-03-11
    AsInfo 08-03-11 Listener Since 2005
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    "This book inspired me"

    This book speaks to the principles that I desire to live by. I did learn some, but mostly I was inspired. I'm far from acheiving my goals, but making an effort every day helps. I love Kingsolver's voice and enjoyed the "sidebar" comments from her daughter. It's sort of a documentary and a story. Well worth listening to. The accompanying web site has good recipes and info.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clarissa St. Paul, MN, USA 06-22-09
    Clarissa St. Paul, MN, USA 06-22-09
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    "Inspiring, informative and a wonderful story"

    Thank You Barbara Kingsolver for sharing some of your life with us. Thank you for introducing us to your family and sharing some personal anecdotes. Thank you for this true account detailing local, sustainable living and providing context for why you and your family decided to live this way as well as providing resources for anyone wanting to do the same. I'm a tremendous fan of your work and I remain inspired and enthralled.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrienne Somerville, MA, USA 04-20-08
    Adrienne Somerville, MA, USA 04-20-08 Member Since 2015
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    "Brilliant book"

    Excellent book, beautifully read. I love Barbara Kingsolver's books but this one was particularly good. I learned a lot and enjoyed the story immensely. She reads with such care for the words of her story--I highly recommend it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Palos Heights, IL, USA 01-16-08
    Suzanne Palos Heights, IL, USA 01-16-08
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    "Good Read"

    I enjoyed listening to this book. While it is entertaining; it is also educational. I didn't realize our food system was in such a state! I will think of this book every time I bite into a hamburger!! And, this summer I will attempt to grow my own heirloom vegetables!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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