Work on that Book Shelf in 2011

If you are anything like me, I find the long nights of winter a great time to catch up on some reading. I have quite a stack of books that seems to have accumulated lately, but I am doing a number on it. I am a confessed John Grisham fan and just finished his latest book, The Confession. I am a bigger fan of his earlier books set in rural Mississippi, but his latest are not bad. Now I have moved on to finish Up to My Armpits: Adventures of a West Texas Veterinarian by Charles Edwards. This is a great autobiography by this large animal vet, depicting many adventures on farm calls. Recently I also finished 6000 Miles Of Fence by Cordia Sloan Duke. This was a great read from the historic XIT ranch of Texas. The stories of the cowboys and wranglers from the ranch live on as Mrs Duke has used their journal entries in this collection of stories from the days on the ranch.

Books on my to-be-read stack include The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and Food Inc. And of course there are several Western classics and paperbacks to pad the time between tougher reads. A few of these books may be from the other side of the aisle from the livestock industries, but I think it is important to hear from the other side to understand my beliefs.

In a post from a couple weeks ago, there were some great books recommended written by those more “literate” cowboys. Check out those in the comments on that post.

What books have you read recently and what reads do you recommend for those wanting to learn more about ranch life or where their food comes from? Join in the conversation on the I am Agriculture Proud Facebook group and see what others are reading.


  1. Check out “Steak” by Mark Schatzker, A comprehensive review of steak eating and raising worldwide, with plenty of interesting interviews, profiles and science. And he’s a heck of a nice guy, we shared some emails regarding the final finishing of that t-bone you ate.

    After you read “Omnivore’s Dilemma” you’re gonna want to read some Joel Salatin. He’s written plenty of how too books, but his philosophies and farm struggles can be found in “Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal”. Regarding Pollan, even if you disagree with him, he’s a good writer, which is part of his success.

    If ya wanna get technical, read “Kick The Hay Habit” by Jim Gerrish, an entire book on not feeding hay written by a former grazing professor who now lives in Idaho. They have pretty light winters there don’t they?

    I disagree with him politically, but Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation” is a good review of of how government policy basically created interstate highways, fast food and urban sprawl.

  2. I’ll have to check into some of those! I read Omnimore’s Dilemma this past year. It was tough trudging through many of the half truths he tries to pass as fact. Good Luck! I just started, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. Its a book Pollan wrote a recommendation for about a woman and her boyfriend who live in the ghettos of Oakland and raise a couple of pigs, poultry, and a huge garden. We’ll see if its a good read! I am also listening to The Jungle on my IPOD. Others on my list is A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is A Boy, By Wesley Smith, and then my ongoing resolution to read more of the classics, on my short list is Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, and Franz Kafka.

    I think you are right on target by educating yourself on both sides of the livestock issues. I think a person must be well read on both sides to truly form beliefs, opinions, and to educate others.

    Happy New Year! and Happy Reading!

Leave a Reply