Sunday, January 17, 2016

Read This Book

If you have an ounce of country in you, you need to read this book.
When my mother mentioned it to me in the fall, "it's a book about herding sheep," I said I wasn't the least bit interested in reading it. But my dear friend, Colleen, gave it to me for Christmas and I am so glad she did.
Who knew a book about keeping sheep in the Lake District of England would be so fascinating? Of course, it's all in the storytelling and I love the way James Rebank tells not only the unique story of his family and their sheep but the history of that unique way of farming sheep. He writes, "My grandfather and father would go just about anywhere in northern England and they'd usually know who farmed the land and often who had been there previously, or who farmed next door. The whole landscape here is a complex web of relationships between farms, flocks, and families."
I admire the way he organized the book, and the lyricism of his writing which does nothing to dull his bluntness about farming life: "Everything and everyone is at times covered in shit or snot. It's just part of farm life. You learn to accept that you will get spattered in shit at times, or slaver, or afterbirth, or snot. That you will smell of your animals. You can always tell how alien someone is to our world by how terrified of the muck they look."
If, like me, you wonder why on earth you'd want to read a book about sheepherding in England, then you need to read this book.

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