Americana the beautiful!Americana the beautiful.Dearest Readers,

Welcome to our book club discussion of United States of Americana — Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties and Handmade Bitters: A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movement by Kurt B. Reighley.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s like a Whitman’s Sampler packed with delicious Americana, new and old.

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to pick it up and dip in yourself. But if not, don’t worry your pretty little head. Here’s your chance to get a free copy! I’ll be giving them away at random to readers who weigh in on posts through next Wednesday.
The book shines a light on the new American roots movement, which might best be summarized as a hands-on antidote to all that time we spend on computers. In the first chapter, “The Remaking of Americans,” Reighley writes:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

In this digital age, the Internet and other media bombard us with new information but not experience. When we actually engage directly with our world — raising, tending, killing, butchering, and cooking a chicken in our own home, instead of simply picking up a package of fryer parts at Safeway — our experience feels profoundly different. It feels real, authentic, and information alchemizes into something more like wisdom.

My questions for you: How are you engaging directly with the world? How do you feel about the amount of time you’re spending on a computer? What experiences of late have brought you the greatest sense of connection?

Let’s get discussing so that you can have a chance to to win this manual of things crafty, delicious, and DIY.

Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll chime in and keep the questions coming this week. Next Wednesday, Nov. 3, we’ll have a live chat with the author Kurt Reighley (also known as KEXP DJ El Toro). So jot down your questions for him and plan on sending them in.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.


Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free.