Sunday, March 09, 2008

Reading Notes: The Omnivore's Dilemma

My book group is meeting in two weeks to discuss The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan’s eater’s manifesto. I’m only on page 64—still in the corn, as it were. I need to read approximately forty pages a day in order to finish the book by the designated date. There, I’ve psyched myself out.

I find it very easy to get bogged down in the details. In this section, I’m fixating on the chemistry of corn, which isn’t important to understand in order to finish the book. Still, I feel like mastering the information as if I was goingn to be quizzed.

So far, I like the way the book is structured, examining the three principal food chains that form the American diet. Pollan’s writing style is accessible, and I am enjoying the way in which he makes and supports his argument.

My coworker Ginny is also reading OD. She assured me that Pollan’s narrative picks up speed once you get past the corn section, so my goal for this evening is to finish it. That’s sixty pages, but who’s counting. I’ve have been reading about the corn farmer, who is the human focus of the section, and his practices, as well as about the absurdities of subsidies and the multinational corporations (Cargill and ADM) that have an extraordinary influence over nearly aspect of corn production.

I am now looking forward to meeting the corn-fed cow.

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