The College of Charleston’s The College Reads! selection for 2012-13 is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. All faculty and incoming students are encouraged to read this selection as it will be included in the academic curriculum and in activities throughout the year. Jonathan Safran Foer will speak on campus Tuesday, October 23, 2012.
“This book will challenge our community to think in new ways, to engage with one another about the nature of choices, and to learn the facts about food production,” says Provost George Hynd. “The book offers every unit on campus the opportunity to participate in programming and discussion. A committee of faculty, staff and students will be soliciting ideas as they plan a year’s worth of diverse experiences.
Best known for his popular novels, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Eating Animals is Foer’s first work of non-fiction. “Stories about food are stories about us—our histories and our values.” Thus begins Foer’s exploration of the story behind what we choose to eat and why. “I assumed that my book about eating animals would become a straightforward case for vegetarianism. It didn’t.” Instead Foer’s book employs philosophy, literature, science, countless interviews, and undercover investigations of factory farms to wrestle with the complexity of food choices, especially those that involve eating animals. Why do we eat animals? Would we eat them if we knew how they were treated? To what extent does that matter? Rather than telling you what to eat, Foer challenges you to know what you are eating and how it got on your fork and then to think carefully about the ethical, environmental, legal, and communal and decide how you feel about the choices you make.
Emily Rogers, a junior Women’s and Gender Studies major and Peer Facilitator with the REACH program, says of the book, “Eating Animals strikes the perfect balance between factual information and personal narrative. It doesn’t pressure you to change your eating habits, but asks that you think about where your food is coming from and the larger consequences of modern food production. Safran Foer creates a compelling read that everyone can relate to.”