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GOOD EATS

32 WRITERS ON EATING ETHICALLY

A wonderful starting place to think about how to eat ethically.

A collection of essays on the topic of eating ethically, practically, and personally.

Editors Cognard-Black and Goldthwaite, both English professors who have written widely about food, begin with the guideline that there is no one specific diet or method for eating ethically. “Any consideration of ethical eating requires ecological thinking and a close attention to relationships, the environment, and diversity,” they write. The editors divide the book into four sections: Nature and Nurture, Appetite and Restraint, What’s Eating Us, and Our Pasts as Present. Each section opens with an overview of the essays included in that section, and the essays range from two to 25 pages, making the book an excellent choice for casual reading. The editors seek to offer “creative and nuanced food stories that link the culinary imagination to practices of everyday eating,” and they are successful in that endeavor. The essays range from light reading—e.g., “My Children’s First Garden,” in which Michael P. Branch shares his struggles with creating a viable garden—to more focused historical topics, including traditional Indigenous knowledge around food and how the colonization of the Americas directly affected the diet of modern Americans. Vegetarianism and veganism receive ample attention alongside examinations of ethical meat eating and how food remains a vital connection point within our cultures and histories. In a piece titled “Between the Shopping Cart and the Chinese Restaurant,” Adrienne Su explores her often complicated relationship between the joy (and necessity) of cooking at home and the enjoyment of communal dining: “The pandemic revealed that restaurant-going of all kinds can be a social good, keeping people employed, enlivening neighborhoods, and sustaining sources of prepared food for those who can’t cook for themselves.” Other contributors include Nikki Finney, Maureen Stanton, and Aimee Nezhukumatathill.

A wonderful starting place to think about how to eat ethically.

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781479821792

Page Count: 352

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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READING GENESIS

In this highly learned yet accessible book, Robinson offers believers fresh insight into a well-studied text.

A deeply thoughtful exploration of the first book of the Bible.

In this illuminating work of biblical analysis, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Robinson, whose Gilead series contains a variety of Christian themes, takes readers on a dedicated layperson’s journey through the Book of Genesis. The author meanders delightfully through the text, ruminating on one tale after another while searching for themes and mining for universal truths. Robinson approaches Genesis with a reverence and level of faith uncommon to modern mainstream writers, yet she’s also equipped with the appropriate tools for cogent criticism. Throughout this luminous exegesis, which will appeal to all practicing Christians, the author discusses overarching themes in Genesis. First is the benevolence of God. Robinson points out that “to say that God is the good creator of a good creation” sets the God of Genesis in opposition to the gods of other ancient creation stories, who range from indifferent to evil. This goodness carries through the entirety of Genesis, demonstrated through grace. “Grace tempers judgment,” writes the author, noting that despite well-deserved instances of wrath or punishment, God relents time after time. Another overarching theme is the interplay between God’s providence and humanity’s independence. Across the Book of Genesis, otherwise ordinary people make decisions that will affect the future in significant ways, yet events are consistently steered by God’s omnipotence. For instance, Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers, and that action has reverberated throughout the history of all Jewish people. Robinson indirectly asks readers to consider where the line is between the actions of God and the actions of creation. “He chose to let us be,” she concludes, “to let time yield what it will—within the vast latitude granted by providence.”

In this highly learned yet accessible book, Robinson offers believers fresh insight into a well-studied text.

Pub Date: March 12, 2024

ISBN: 9780374299408

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

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THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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