California Literary Review


Movie Review: Food, Inc.


June 18th, 2009

Shocking and heartbreaking, Food, Inc. gives us those nitty-gritty details of how a tomato is grown or how a chicken is raised. It reveals that every step of the process from farm to factory to functional product is not as scrupulously regulated as government organizations like the USDA and the FDA would have you believe. According to Pollan, “the industrial food system is always looking for greater efficiency. But each new step in efficiency leads to problems.”

The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker


May 27th, 2009

Deceptively plain in its phrasing, almost lethargic in its pace, The Twin is about as flat as the Dutch landscape in which it’s set. Yet lurking in the white spaces is something one can sense, if not pin down precisely. A moody sense of colors – of grey and blue – of silvery insights breaking through a dull day, and of moving between the modern world and a rural life untethered to minutes.

All the Living by C.E. Morgan


April 7th, 2009

For All the Living is an excellent debut for Morgan, a bold book of small incidents and large emotions. It is the work of an author unafraid to wrestle with language and if, at times, language wins out, well then, it’s merely shaping her muscles for the next round.

What’s Killing the Honeybees?


November 4th, 2008

“So the bigger conclusion is that we have soaked our landscape in toxic chemicals, many of which can interact to form even more toxic compounds, and there is absolutely no regulation or testing of this mixing. Most beekeepers and researchers I’ve spoken with believe pesticides are one factor, working in conjunction with introduced parasites, viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and quite possibly with deteriorating living conditions for bees. Bees could handle one or two of these stressors, but not all of them.”

Hannah Coulter – by Wendell Berry


April 22nd, 2007

There was a time, not many decades ago, that most of America’s population labored on family farms. Then, the primary objective of the American farmer was to be debt free, to be independent. I was made aware of this “independence” many years ago when my mother-in-law, Jessie Hobbs, the daughter of a West Virginia farmer, once commented about her childhood, “We didn’t know there was a depression.”

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