I never gave a final review of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that I was reading a month ago, but I have to report that I haven’t bought an imported banana or a tomato since I finished it, and I started making bread regularly and even homemade pizza. (I haven’t been able to get true local food yet, for reasons of weather and budget, but I’ve tried to not buy anything from farther away than California.) I think that’s a good indication of the book’s sticking power right there. The prose is excellent, too.

Yesterday I picked up another book that might stick with me: The Year of the Goat: 40,000 Miles and the Quest for the Perfect Cheese. It’s about two New Yorkers who take a year off and research goat farms to see if they want to buy their own. I got three chapters into it and thought, “I don’t want to read this if they don’t end up with a farm,” so I skipped ahead and whew–I can read it.

It’s well-written but it’s not as masterful as Kingsolver, and there’s a certain amount of irritating New York self-consciousness (along the lines of, “Look, we are at a goat chariot race! How quaint! We are so daring!”), but I’ve already learned that La Mancha goats have no ears and are the only American-developed dairy breed, and that Boer goats are for eating. (That’s not an option on my ranch, of course.)

Next question: How do people afford to take a year off and learn about farming, and then manage to have a successful farm? Maybe that’s the next book I’ll have to find.