Personal Reading Challenge – Non-fiction Point/Counterpoint

I’m opinionated and stubborn.  My parents would probably say stubborn is one of the first personality traits they saw in me.  Obviously what I’m opinionated and stubborn about has changed since I was a toddler (as has how I handle my stubbornness) but it’s still there.

I’m also mainly a fiction reader and sometimes I wish I read more non-fiction.  When I do read non-fiction it has a tendency to reinforce what I already believe.

So my challenge for the year is to read 2 non-fiction book on the same topic, but with opposite views.  So read one book explaining the dangers of Global Warming, followed by one with the view that Global Warming doesn’t exist.  Or a book on Veganism, followed by a book promoting a Paleo diet.

I believe these are the two I will read, but I’m still examining my options.  If anyone has suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Point

May All be Fed: Diet for a New World by John Robbins  (Summary from Amazon)

Since the 1987 publication of Diet for a New America, beef consumption in the United States has fallen a remarkable 19%. While many forces are contributing to this dramatic shift in our habits, Diet for a New America is considered to be one of the most important. Diet for a New America is a startling examination of the food we currently buy and eat in theUnited States, and the astounding moral, economic, and emotional price we pay for it.

In Section I, John Robbins takes an extraordinary look at our dependence on animals for food and the inhumane conditions under which these animals are raised. It becomes clear that the price we pay for our eating habits is measured in the suffering of animals, a suffering so extreme and needless that it disrupts our very place in the web of life.

Section II challenges the belief that consuming meat is a requirement for health by pointing out the vastly increased rate of disease caused by pesticides, hormones, additives, and other chemicals now a routine part of our food production. The author shows us that the high health risk is unnecessary, and that the production, preparation, and consumption of food can once again be a healthy process.

In Section III, Robbins looks at the global implications of a meat-based diet and concludes that the consumption of the resources necessary to produce meat is a major factor in our ecological crisis.

Diet for a New America is the single most eloquent argument for a vegetarian lifestyle ever published. Eloquently, evocatively, and entertainingly written, it is a cant put down book guaranteed to amaze, infuriate, but ultimately educate and empower the reader. A pivotal book nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction in 1987.

Counterpoint

The Vegetarian Myth:  Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keither (Summary from Amazon)

Part memoir, nutritional primer, and political manifesto, this controversial examination exposes the destructive history of agriculture—causing the devastation of prairies and forests, driving countless species extinct, altering the climate, and destroying the topsoil—and asserts that, in order to save the planet, food must come from within living communities. In order for this to happen, the argument champions eating locally and sustainably and encourages those with the resources to grow their own food. Further examining the question of what to eat from the perspective of both human and environmental health, the account goes beyond health choices and discusses potential moral issues from eating—or not eating—animals. Through the deeply personal narrative of someone who practiced veganism for 20 years, this unique exploration also discusses alternatives to industrial farming, reveals the risks of a vegan diet, and explains why animals belong on ecologically sound farms.

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