Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blithe Tomato

I found this book, of all places, at the San Francisco Historical Society when My Beloved and I went into the city a couple of months ago to see the exhibit in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. The exhibit was very interesting and some of the artwork and photographs are really lovely. And, in the gift shop area was this quirky title. I picked it up on a whim.

I'm so glad I did! Blithe Tomato is one of the more delightful books I have read in the past year, the gentle musings of a farmer who brings his crops to the farmer's market. Along with flowers, fruits and vegetables, he brings his own world view, which I found to be fascinating. In a way, he's like a Flower Child who never gave up. His mixture of wry humor and gentle philosophy is the product of many years of farming after trying four other careers first.

That is one of the things that resonated with me, the search for meaningful occupation. I had three other jobs before I found the long-lasting joy of helping college students sort out their career options. Mike Madison found his happiness growing flowers and trapping gophers out in the central valley. Both of our paths led us to an amused appreciation of individual quirkiness. Many of his stories are about people he has met at the farmer's market, or fellow farmers of many different stripes. Mike Madison is not an idealogue; in this day and age, I appreciate that, too.

The writing is wonderful. He has a laid-back but very descriptive style that tickles me. The book is written in a series of short essays, unrelated but for the farming theme. He thinks through ideas while writing about his farm and his friends, or his fellow farmers and his customers. His observation of the natural and human world around him are true, but kind.

It's an easy read, despite the philosophy and the deep subjects - I'm a slow reader but I whipped through it in two days. I liked it so much that I'm mailing my copy to a friend up in Washington state, hoping he will love it, too. It's in paperback now and I suppose you could find it for your e-reader, too, or check it out of the library - it's not a new publication. The important part is to find it and read it - I'm sure you'll be glad you did.


Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Oh, Zoomie, he's Deborah Madison's brother. Very cool. I tend to read all the tomato books, so I'll add this to the list.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012  
Blogger Greg said...

The cover art would draw me to this book.I'll check it out.

Thursday, May 17, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, I think you'll get a smile from it.

Greg, let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 17, 2012  
Anonymous Traci said...

Thank you for recommending this. He is wonderful and insightful.

Sunday, July 01, 2012  

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