My Vegetable Love: A Journal of a Growing Seasonby Carl H. Klaus
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This passionate gardener's daily record of a growing season adds up to one of the best pieces of garden writing in years. But this book is about much more than planting, tending, and harvesting a vegetable garden. It's about all the things that influence this gardener: the weather, the neighborhood, his wife's possibly recurring cancer, the changing nature of the academic community; it's about the last months of his twenty-year-old cat, about his dog, and about all the other humans and animals in his gardening world. And about his family: the aunts and uncles who cared for and fed a six-year-old orphan and instilled in him the understanding that good food was a way of knowing that someone cared. In all the gardens he has tended, the dills he has pickled, and the dinners he has cooked, Klaus has tried to carry on that tradition and pass it on to his own children.
Klaus, who was director of the nonfiction writing program at the Univ. of Iowa before his recent retirement, is a specialist in the personal essay. His book collects almost a year's worth of brief daily reflections on his Iowa vegetable garden, beginning on March 16, 1995, and concluding on November 24. Unlike other practitioners of the popular garden journal genre, Klaus isn't beguiled by prettiness, either as a grower or as a writer; his pragmatism is reassuringly free of adjectival abandon. This is about as elated as he ever becomes: "The most important news of the day is that I finished transplanting the tomatoes this afternoon." Similarly down-to-the-ground are his notes on marauding groundhogs, never-ending rain, and 100-year-old manure, suggesting common frets and pleasures without rhetorical swoons. Reading him is comforting because he invokes a too easily forgotten seasonal rhythm, page after page, and also because Klaus is very good at introducing human mortality into nature's timelessness as a consistent sidelong subject. He never whines, not even when discussing the serious illnesses of dog, cat, and wife. After some hours spent gardening, dinner is always waiting, and thisvirtuously, yet not prissilyseems like enough: "Bloody Marys made with our own homemade tomato juice, to go with . . . salmon mousse from a poached Atlantic fillet, the organic endives from California (garlic-stuffed, pimento-stuffed, and Italian-spiced greens), and pumpernickel rye from the Lithuanian bakery in Omaha."
Any gardener, true-blue or armchair variety, will want to settle down and read Klaus.
“[A] steamy romance of vegetable gardening.”BookPage
“A gardener's touch [is] not required for enjoying a book that so wholeheartedly celebrates friendship, love, pets, the elements of family, academia, cooking, eatingand of course, gardening…Bon appétitand good reading.”Smithsonian
“A lovely memoir. Beautifully written, tender, and wise.”Gerald Stern
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- NOOK Book
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- 513 KB
What People are saying about this
The whole book could be considered as one of the most original love poems ever written.
Part Gilbert White, part Henry David Thoreau, this chronicle of an Iowa gardeners year has drawn from the heartland a calm, compassionate harvest.
Meet the Author
Carl Klaus, author of "My Vegetable Love" and "Weathering Winter," is founder of the nonfiction writing program at the University of Iowa. He lives in Iowa City.
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