This year our ninth town-wide reading project, North Reading Reads 2012, celebrates local food and community. We will read Kristin Kimball’s “The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love.” About 10 years, ago, Kristin Kimball went to interview a young man at his farm in Pennsylvania, and, in a sense, she never left. The two were married, leased land in New York State, and started Essex Farm. Her memoir describes the effort she and Mark put into creating the farm, which currently offers Community Shared Agriculture (CSA’s) to 170 families. The Kimballs were determined to offer organic food year-round, not just in the summer, and to do it as naturally as possible—using horses, for instance, rather than tractors.
Kimball is a gifted writer, and her book was well received. The NewYorker.com says: “Kimball’s memoir is heightened by the serious question at its heart—What modes of farming besides industrial agriculture are available to us, and how might we achieve them?—and by her intimate yet spacious prose, spiked with color and wonderful descriptions of food… you feel, in reading the book, as if she’s thrown open the big red doors on her barn and invited you in.”
The first event of North Reading Reads 2012 takes place Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m., with“A Taste of Home: Connecting with Music, Food, and Friends.” The Joy of Sax, led by Steve Swartz, of North Reading, will entertain us with jazz and blues. There will be selected readings from “The Dirty Life.” And we invite you to bring a favorite dessert to share. You will find others to talk to about organic food, farmer’s markets, and where to find the best local food.
Additional events include two book discussions, a presentation on how to start a vegetable garden, given by Hugo Wiberg III, and a conversation between Karen Vitale and Nancy Parsons about Karen’s book, My Grandmother Talks to Herself in the Mirror (But it’s No Reflection on Me). Karen Vitale is a long-time North Reading resident.
We are planning an evening about local food with those involved in the field. There will also be craft programs for elementary-school children and for middle school students at the end of March. Please click here for event details.
North Reading Reads began in 2003, when we read Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. If you visit North Reading Reads you can find out more about titles that have brought friends, neighbors and new acquaintances together over the years.
We are grateful to the Friends of the Library, the North Reading Book Discussion Club, and Reading Cooperative Bank for their involvement with the town-wide reading project.