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26 May 2010

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Damn. With all the food politics books I've read or reread recently, I have had chicken exactly once since December, and I was queasy for a full day afterwards* (yes, purely psychosomatic, I know). Sigh. I have to stop reading these things.

That's a very effective argument he is making in that paragraph. I'm definitely going to have to read this one. Would this be an effective choice for a future menage?

*It was the description of the salmonella baths in the otherwise not very well written Eating Animals that stuck with me. Goes to show that a book doesn't have to be particularly good to linger with a reader.

Rachael,
I know exactly how you feel. I must confess my desire to buy chicken breasts at the store has waned to nil. I will just have to bite the bullet and try and find more local sources for meat (luckily I already have a source for my beef, at least for the time being) and pay more, and maybe mix up other meals with beans and other sources of protein. I am so lazy, and I don't like shopping at multiple places or really, at farmers' markets (just another thing to go do that ISN'T reading, after all), but it's becoming increasingly clear that it is something a person who has the options to do so should take advantage of.

Hm, menage book. I hadn't thought about it. But maybe there's another nonfiction genre we haven't explored yet that we should do. I will have to pose the question of when everyone wants to do a menage, and what they want to do. Maybe another NF/F pairing.

Oh, the salmonella bath, yuck. That got me too. But I must say reading about the misfortunes of the workers made me feel even worse than about consumers' health risks or the lives of the birds. Of course it's terrible for the chickens too, but at least they live and die in less than a year. For these workers? It just goes on and on and on.

Have we talked about reviews from readers on Amazon and B & N? Here is one reviewer on Amazon.com who gave this book two stars: "I admit upfront that I have yet to read the book. I've only seen and heard the author on C-Span Book TV. His presentation of his ideas is why I may never read his book." I give people who review books they haven't read two stars.

This is a topic that just gets me going. I have a girlfriend who shops at Nordstroms, has 20 different colors of Chanel eye shadow and gets monthly facials who tells me that she would she would pick fruit in eastern Washington State if that was the only job she could get. Did I say that she has three kids and that fruit in eastern Washington is harvested from spring to fall? Then people who pick the fruit and vegetables have to move to warmer agricultural areas during the winter. sigh...

I am "looking forward" to reading this book. Thanks again, C.R., for your great suggestions.

P.S. Did I tell you that an instructor I work with is using Nobodies in her class after I suggested she read it?

This book might go well with the Elaine Viets Dead End Jobs mysteries. the author actually worked at each of the jobs before she wrote the book. One thing I learned...always leave a dollar or two in your hotel room every day rather than more when you check out because different maids work different rooms each day...and most people don't leave a tip at all, though they'll give a buck to the guy who take their suitcase out of the cab!

Venta,
We haven't really talked about user reviews, or those at Amazon and B & N. I know why I don't bring them up--I never read or use them, except if I need a chuckle. Sometimes they're useful, but I figure most of the time they're either made up by the authors themselves, someone who hates the authors, or they're written by people who have other axes to grind. Why you would discount a book just because of someone's style on Book TV, I'm not sure; sometimes if I'm annoyed or surprised by an author I might actually go check out their book! Two stars, tee hee.

Oh, my. Nothing against your friend, but I'm guessing she has a rather more idyllic "picking fruit" scenario in mind. There is nothing idyllic about how these big companies approach ag--they only use people when they have to, for the tasks that are sufficiently complex that they can't leave them to the machines, but which are still terrible, back-breaking, repetitive jobs.

I can't wait to hear what you think of this one!! And good on you, suggesting "Nobodies"! How cool that it's being used in a class. At least one book the students get that semester will be readable.

Cindy,
FABO tip about the tips for hotel staff--I'll admit I had never thought of that but will do so in the future. I think I read one of those Elaine Viets novels a million years ago and liked it--may be time to try another one!

Because of your recommendation, I'm reading this right now. I just started the section about working in poultry processing. Thus far, I agree that it's a fabulous book. My only criticism is that I think it's too short--I'd like to read more about the lives of the workers.

Barb,
Have you finished it yet? What did you think? I too thought it was amazing, but I thought the length of it was a big part of the appeal. I love it when authors tell a good (sad) story and know when to end it. Maybe he could do another book in the future, focusing more on the workers and their lives outside the workplace.

So glad you were liking it so far! It's another one of those titles that not enough people will read.

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