Barbara Kingsolver ranks high on my list of authors with whom I would love to have a lengthy chat (along with Diana Abu Jaber and Khaled Hosseini). Besides the fact that I admire her literary artistry, I am intrigued by Kingsolver’s spiritual and religious views. I tend, for example, to think Nathan Price in The Poisonwood Bible so deranged that Kingsolver could not have intended anyone to take him seriously as representative of evangelical missionaries. … But does this character suggest Kingsolver perceives missionaries or evangelicals generally in a negative light?
In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Kingsolver frequently references her rural childhood and observes that many of the small farmers she writes about are probably church-goers (though she mentions appreciatively that they keep their religion to themselves) (204-05). I assume Kingsolver, having grown up in such an environment herself, had a fair amount of exposure to Christian spirituality, if not from her family, at least from her neighbors. Regardless, she is now an evangelist for evolution, with a graduate degree in evolutionary biology. Continue reading
Barbara Kingsolver is #74 on the list of America’s most dangerous people, according to the author of a recent well-publicized book cited in Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (p. 236). I’m not sure how Kingsolver earned her stripes in that author’s opinion, but I would agree that her linguistic artistry, self-deprecating humor, and winsome enthusiasm for her cause impart a formidable ability to win converts to just about any position.Well, maybe not any. Actually, I was already in at least theoretical sympathy with Kingsolver’s commitment to local, organic food, so I didn’t need much convincing, but Kingsolver’s treatise broadened my understanding and deepened my convictions. (I just bought some bean and pepper plants for a nascent garden on the balcony of our condominium. So I’m a little late getting started … at least I’ll get a feel for container gardening.)
We recently retreated for a quick overnight getaway to Southern Oregon, where we stayed in a delightful B&B. The house is straw bale construction, built by artists Dennis Meiners and Leslie Lee. The ambience is refreshing, the hospitality warm, and Penny the resident canine affectionate. We enjoyed discussing alternative construction, books, linguistics, and international travel. Dennis and Leslie gave us a tour of their adobe studio, where they make their ceramics, and told us about their experiences with alternative construction. They also have a nice selection of books for browsing. We started reading The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason, and are looking forward to continuing it as soon as we can obtain a copy.
The Hummingbird is conveniently located for fans of the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland or visitors to the historic mining town of Jacksonville. We particularly recommend it for those interested in ceramics, art and/or alternative construction. Dennis and Leslie also offer classes and the opportunity to work in their studio. Learn more here: Hummingbird Bed and Breakfast