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The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry
1593760078
July 2003
Paperback
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From Library Journal
Writer and farmer Berry has long been an inspiration to the contemporary agrarian movement and a guiding light to people who care deeply about the health of their land and their communities. In his numerous books of essays, he has thoughtfully and articulately shown how the current consumer-based, profit-driven industrial society not only destroys our natural world but also increasingly harms our social and personal well-being. The 21 essays in this collection, written over the past two decades, provide both a splendid introduction to Berry's work and a stimulating compendium for those already familiar with it. These are beautifully crafted essays, replete with social criticism, righteous anger, moral guidance, and lyrical wording. Above all, they contain a reverence for the beauty and complexity of our natural...


Wendell Berry
Paul Merchant (Editor)
0917652886
March 1991
Paperback
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That Distant Land
Wendell Berry
159376054X
Apr 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Set in a small Kentucky farming village, this collection of Berry's Port William stories illuminates the evolution of rural American life over the course of the 20th century. In 23 stories, Berry chronicles Port William from the 1880s to the 1980s, evoking the connectedness of the small town's denizens to each other and to the land. In "A Consent," a memorable auction of home-baked cakes launches a romance between farmer Tol Proudfoot and Miss Minnie Quinch, the schoolteacher who becomes his bride. Their courtship, marriage and life together form the backbone of several other stories-in "A Half Pint of Old Darling," set during Prohibition, Miss Minnie goes on a brief but garrulous bender. "Nearly to the Fair" describes how Tol and Miss Minnie "went easy into the modern world" with their first motor car, a Model A...


Wendell Berry
Paul Merchant (Editor)
0917652894
June 1991
Hardcover
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Given
Wendell Berry
1593760612
May 2005
Hardcover
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From Booklist
The latter half, "Sabbaths 1998-2004," of Berry's first all-new collection since A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems, 1979-1997 (1998) contains more of the meditational poems Berry conceives on Sundays alone in the woods on his farm. The other half's three parts contain, respectively, short poems of observation, hortatory poems varying in length from epigram to six-page public epistle, and a brief verse play. The observational poems show the most variety of tone and form and may please the broadest range of readers. The play reprises the notion of personalized community integrity at the heart of Berry's novel Jayber Crow (2000) and extends it beyond death. The intervening exhortations, collectively called "Further Words," reflect Berry-the-prophet, by turns angrily haranguing ("The Ongoing Holy War against...


The Way of Ignorance
Wendell Berry
1593760779
Oct 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Called "the prophet of rural America" by the New York Times, Berry has spent the last 40 of his 71 years simultaneously farming a hillside in Kentucky and issuing a stream of poems, novels and essays (including The Gift of Good Land and The Long-Legged House) that are probably the most sustained contemporary articulation of America's agrarian, Jeffersonian ideal. If the tone of the book's mostly brief 19 essays is sometimes angry and despairing ("We are destroying our country," begins one essay), one can hardly blame Berry. The mere title of one of the essays, "Some Notes for the Kerry Campaign, If Wanted," brings the reader up short—memories of the last presidential campaign are receding so quickly into the past that Berry's amorphous call for a return to "our traditional principles of politics and...


Hannah Coulter
Wendell Berry
1593760787
November 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. "This is the story of my life, that while I lived it weighed upon me and pressed against me and filled all my senses to overflowing and now is like a dream dreamed.... This is my story, my giving of thanks." So begin the reflections of Hannah Coulter, the twice-widowed protagonist of this slim, incandescent novel in Berry's Port William series. In 1940, the precocious, innocent Hannah leaves her small Kentucky farming town to work as a secretary in nearby Hargrave, where she meets Virgil Feltner, seven years her senior, who gently courts her. They marry and have a daughter, but Virgil, "called to the army in 1942," dies in the Battle of the Bulge. Love follows mourning, as a kind but driven farmer, Nathan Coulter, returns from combat and woos Hannah. In delicate, shimmering prose, Berry tracks...


Jayber Crow
Wendell Berry
1582431604
August 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
The questions who and what and how and why are no doubt useful and occasionally even noble in their place. But for Wendell Berry, whose spare and elegant prose has long testified to the rural American values of thrift and frugality, four interrogatives must seem a waste, when one will do. Where is the ultimate qualifier, the sine qua non, for both the author and his characters. Place shapes them and defines them; the winding Kentucky River and the gentle curves of the Kentucky hills find an echo in their lilting speech and brusque affections.

Jayber Crow is another story of the Port William membership, the community whose life--and lives--Berry has unfurled over the course of a half dozen novels. Jayber himself is an orphan, lately returned to the town. And his status as barber and bachelor places him...



The Meat You Eat
Ken Midkiff
0312325363
Nov 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
There are probably few surprises in this exposé of American agribusiness; if you haven't read horror stories about megafarms and slaughterhouses in Fast Food Nation, you've undoubtedly heard animal rights activists talking about the deplorable conditions in which cattle, poultry and hogs are processed "from semen to cellophane." To these tales Midkiff adds an overwhelming flood of animal feces (usually referred to in much more pointed terms), from frightened cattle that soil themselves in the slaughterhouse and don't get fully cleaned to liquefied manure that seeps into the land of neighboring small farms. Using formulaic left-wing parlance, Midkiff points out how giant food corporations wield political influence to save themselves from reform—ensuring, for example, that despite their size they will...


Tobacco Harvest
James Baker Hall
0813123275
Aug 2004
Hardcover
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From Booklist
In the 31-year-old black-and-white photographs that are the meat of this book, Berry and two of his children, along with many others, help a neighbor bring in his yearly crop of burley tobacco, prized for the production of cigarettes. The crop must be cut at the plants' stalks, carefully stacked on wagons for hauling to the tobacco barn, and then hung from beams near the top of the barn. In Kentucky in late August and early September, this is hot work that must be done with dispatch because of tobacco's relative delicateness. Berry explains in the introductory essay that the work begins as solitary for each cutter, becoming somewhat sociable as the crop is stacked, and more sociable, with joke telling, as the big leaves are housed in the barn. Medical and economic developments conspired to make these pictures taken by...


Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Christ's Teachings of Love, Compassion, and Forgiveness
Wendell Berry (Compiler)
1593761007
October 2005
Paperback
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From Booklist
Thomas Jefferson famously culled from the Gospels to present Jesus the Enlightenment rationalist but, knowing that public Christians of the time wouldn't take it well, left the selection for posthumous publication. Berry aims his gospel sampler first at public Christians, and he publishes immediately because he has prophetic fish to fry. Wealthy and powerful Christians continue the age-old processes of warring for vengeance and self-interest, he says, despite what Jesus said about loving our neighbors--and our enemies--and forgiving one another. To make those sayings stand out, he gathers passages including the parable of the Good Samaritan, the story of the woman taken in adultery, and the hard teachings about coming "not to send peace, but a sword." After the selections, he discusses "The Burden of the Gospels,"...


Wendell Berry, Vol. 654
Andrew J. Angyal
0805746285
September 1995
Hardcover
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Book Description
Twayne's United States Authors Series presents concise critical introductions to great writers and their works. Devoted to critical interpretation and discussion of an author's work, each study takes account of major literary trends and important scholarly contributions and provides new critical insights with an original point of view. An Authors Series volume addresses readers ranging from advanced high school students to university professors. The book suggests to the informed reader new ways of considering a writer's work. A reader new to the work under examination will, after reading the Authors Series, be compelled to turn to the originals, bringing to the reading a basic knowledge and fresh critical perspectives. Each volume features: A critical, interpretive study and explication of the author's works A...


Fidelity
Wendell Berry
0679748318
Sept 1993
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
In this powerful new collection, the noted poet, essayist and fiction writer returns to Port William, Ky., the fictional town introduced in The Wild Birds. Berry's narrator roams easily through the town's past 100 years, remarking early in the book that even the unknown past is present in us, its silence as persistent as a ringing in the ears. Birth, life, death and the primary institutions of family and community are the axes on which the stories turn. Their plots are as slender as fence posts: a soldier walks home at war's end; a young woman with a mild fever ponders her first years of marriage; a taciturn farmer takes his moribund father out of a hospital's intensive care unit so the old man can die with dignity. But Berry invests them with intense feeling, using the plain language of a largely oral culture,...


Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity
Lauren F. Winner
158743069X
April 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Winner, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Girl Meets God, weaves an intriguing tapestry from sociological, autobiographical, pastoral and historical threads. She balances a journalistic report of how difficult chastity is for American Christians; a personal account of how she and her friends have approached premarital and marital sex; a survey of what the Bible, pastors and good Christian books say about the topic; and an overview of how chastity has been understood throughout Christian history. The candor with which Winner writes about sex may alarm some Christian readers, but those who follow her arguments to their conclusions will find themselves rewarded with fresh insights about an overdiscussed but still deeply entrenched problem among Christians. Interestingly, some of Winner's best insights are...


Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community
Wendell Berry
0679756515
Sept 1994
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
In eight visionary or polemical essays, Berry ( Fidelity ) sounds the themes of decentralization, renewal of community and ecological awareness that inform his previous books. Assailing the U.S. government's role in the Persian Gulf War, the Kentucky poet/farmer/conservationist calls for the creation of a peace academy and urges Americans to "waste less, spend less, use less, want less, need less." He condemns the Reagan and Bush administrations' international trade policies that, in Berry's view, bring many nations' health and safety standards under the influence of agribusiness. Although he is critical of smoking, his strained defense of U.S. governmental assistance to tobacco growers who agree to limit production may gladden cigarette smokers and anger their opponents. In the title essay, Berry interprets the...


Wendell Berry and the Agrarian Tradition
Kimberly K. Smith
0700612300
Mar 2003
Hardcover
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Book Description
Farmer and conservationist Wendell Berry has published more than thirty books, making his name a household word among environmentalists. From his Kentucky farm, Berry preaches and practices stewardship of the land as he seeks to defend the value and traditions of farm life in an industrial capitalist society. A central figure in the greening of American agrarianism, Berry has been an advocate of small farming and traditional values who has tirelessly reminded readers that sustainable agriculture is more than a catchphrase. Kimberly Smith now reveals the depth of his ideas and their relevance for American social and political theory. Berry's central teaching focuses on the fragility of our natural and social worlds; Smith's timely book revisits the problem of living a meaningful life in a world filled with both...


Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems, 1979-1997
Wendell Berry
1582430063
April 1999
Paperback
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Book Review
The public performance of poetry, writes Wendell Berry in the preface to A Timbered Choir, has become vogue in the English-speaking world. Yet, he counters, his poems are created in silence and solitude, which may be the best way to read these thoughtful lyrics about country life, verses populated by trees, horses, rivers, and stars. This volume gathers nearly 20 years' worth of Berry's Sabbath poems, written after Sunday morning walks across the fields and bottomlands of northern Kentucky. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal
Winner of the T.S. Eliot Award, Berry (A World Lost, LJ 10/15/96) spends Sunday mornings in walking meditation in the forests and fields around his Port Royal, KY, farm. During these walks...

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