• Staff Writer at “The New Yorker” Enjoys My Book!


    “Downey’s anthem to the rain could do for the backyard and the water table --and therefore, let’s hope, for the Earth and its inhabitants-- what the “Joy of Cooking” did for the kitchen, or what “The Joy of Sex” did for the bedroom. It’s one of those rare how-to books that, by way of the author’s wit, warmth, and passion, converts practical wisdom into a kind of transformational incantation.”


    --Nick Paumgarten, Staff Writer at The New Yorker



    To be clear, the above blurb has not shown up in the famed magazine, but Paumgarten’s nod is a huge honor given his stature near the upper levels of the writing food chain. More importantly, he worked sex into Harvest the Rain and for this I’ll be eternally grateful.


    Speaking of the eternal, please check out Paumgarten’s latest “Talk of the Town” piece from the Whodunnit Dept. called Acts of God at: http://bit.ly/bZS07M . It’s about the reconciliation of faith and science in light of the Gulf of Mexico expulsion. As always, Paumgarten is fun, fast paced, and thought provoking. (Full disclosure: I passed the torch of arts-section editor to him more than 25 years ago at our high school newspaper.)


    In other HTR news, tonight I am proofreading the thang’s two indices (for more info: www.harvesttherain.com), so let it be known in all churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, sanctuaries, and kivas:

    Launch looms.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Great blurb, congrats! "Wit, warmth, wisdom, passion, transformational incantation..." Delightful and irresistible description of a truly vital and important book.

  1. Unknown says:

    well, I was taking another look at Nick's 'Death of Kings' piece, still one of the best on the financial collapse and hubris and 'inklings of doom' on the horizon

    and I came across a Grist piece that picks up where Nick left off and reminds me of what we're facing http://www.grist.org/article/2009-05-22-financial-collapse-food/

    but then again I'm thinking Nick's right and you are too, and the Bioneers out in the fields doing the practical work are right, maybe it is, in a way, all about sex

    that's it, flash

  1. Thanks, sjs, for sharing Paumgarten's financial-meltdown piece of May, 2009, and for Grist's excellent, food-oriented reaction. The most chilling line by Paumgarten about the bust came six months earlier in The New Yorker's "Dept. of Visualization: The Pits" in which he ponders what will happen to the "stillborn" high-rise construction projects that have left NYC pocked with deep holes in the ground.

    "The calls go out to the architects: pencils down," he writes. "The clothes we have in our closets today will be the ones we're wearing when we are old."

  1. Good blurb, to compare Harvest the Rain to such influential and seminal works is a major compliment. I, too, find the book joyful while still being instructive. But what is the point of building a community without joy?
    I just got off a 4000 mile train trip and (as is my bent) spent a lot of time in conversation with a wide variety of folks. This trip was spent with several Amish folks on different legs of the journey. The joy and good nature of this community never fails to impress me. We spoke a lot about soil and crops and water as they relate to a macro and micro environments and how the community can work with each other to foster a healthier planet. The point is community and joy go together even during cycles of intense labor. Many hands makes light work is an axiom for community.

  1. Love the idea of permaculture being sexy, it's the sort of hybridization that can make something popular. For decades, ecologically wise practices were seen as a luxury rather than a necessity, so for Nick to discuss it as being a necessity elevates its societal value. All we need now is to get you on Oprah (something I tried to make happen 12 years ago) and these sorts of strategies will gain widespread acceptance.

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Its thirty-year mission:

To create a greener planet.

To seek a better life in our lumbering civilization, and

to slowly go where we are all are headed anyway.


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it asks for 10 minutes a day for a year. At the end of the year, it asks for 10 more.

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