Finished The Omnivore's Dilemma [4/23/2009]

I am unabashedly a complete novel junky. I regularly devour science fiction, fantasy, mystery/thriller, modern and classic fiction. I'd be lost forever in another world if I didn't occasionally try to sprinkle in some non-fiction to bring me back to reality. While I choose topics that are of great interest to me, I usually still struggle to finish. For example, I plowed through War and Peace in less than a week, but, it was many months before I was done with Collapse (despite being much more intrigued by anthropology than Napoleonic history). I had quite a bit of trouble getting through Pollan's The Botany of Desire. So, I was worried about The Omnivore's Dilemma. It turned out to be THE notable exception. Pollan's writing has improved significantly. He sucked me full force and kept me reading. The book was jam packed with non stop facts but, it was still easy to read quickly.

The breadth of what Pollan covered in The Omnivore's Dilemma really amazed and impressed me. I didn't expect a natural history to delve into such detailed analysis. I learned more than I ever would have imagined about modern agriculture in the U.S. and the food industry. I think everyone should read this book. I even felt the urge to write to the president and plead him to read it (I haven't yet).

A bit of warning though, at times I was overcome by hopelessness and anger that nothing can be changed. I'd compare this strange combination of awe and anger with how I felt watching An Inconvenient Truth, Fahrenheit 911, and Sicko. Yes, it is somewhat sensationalistic, but, it is also good investigative reporting and well researched.

If you want to eat healthy, and also be aware of the sociopolitical and environmental impacts of what you eat, I recommend you read this book. Pollan fully imparts the importance of sustainability to our future. If you don't already have a backyard garden, you will want your own, or, at the very least, you'll be looking into CSAs and farmer's markets.