Friday, April 26, 2013

Vegetarian Myth

Book club went on later than normal yesterday evening as it has been a while since we met and there was a lot to catch up on.  So I'm a day late with 'V' but will also post 'W' today anyway, as that's something I've been working on over the month and will be quick to finish.  One thing I have definitely learned by participating in this challenge is that I hate having to write something every day and genuinely do have days where I just don't want to turn the computer on at all.  This is my second one-day-late post so I have been mostly doing it but that has come at a cost as the overall time I spend online is limited.  So I have a lot of blog-reading to catch up on - trying to visit a few new A to Z blogs every day as well as returning to the ones I like has meant that the blogs I normally read have mostly had to be ignored and I haven't even touched on even 10% of those participating!  It has certainly been an interesting experience.

All of which has nothing to do with the Vegetarian Myth, the book that I started reading in January and have only now managed to reach the last few pages of.  There was so much in it at the beginning that I kept going backwards and forwards, re-reading bits and putting it down to think.  And then I got sick again and found it hard to read anything at all, never mind a book that was going to make me think.  And then of course there were book club books to be read and other books that I couldn't resist anymore.  That makes it sound like I've read a lot of books this year already but actually I've only finished three, nearly four.  I've started at least another four or five though, just couldn't seem to keep my attention focused on any one thing for long.

While reading Vegetarian Myth I heard (from Clickclackgorilla, I think) that there was a lot of criticism leveled at it and so I also got distracted trying to find some of that online, too.  What I found though was mostly a lot of very outraged vegans who may have had valid points but didn't have anything to back them up with.  One post I read, for example, criticised Lierre Keith's lack of proper research and dependency on quoting other books, rather than the studies etc. in question as well as her inability to properly analyse the studies she did reference.  Now, I'm not a statistician and I'm by no means scientifically inclined so I was interested to read about where mistakes had been made.  But all I got was something along the lines of "I'm a vegan and I'm a nutritionist so I know it's all wrong" and that doesn't really help me in understanding where the problems lie with this book.  It just doesn't bring me beyond a he said/she said argument, if you know what I mean.

Lierre Keith is also a radical feminist (not to mention having the audacity to be not only an atheist but also a lesbian) and I suspect that this may also have put some people off, particularly if they weren't inclined to accept her premises anyway.  Whereas I already share a lot of opinions anyway that are already far along the road towards having the same viewpoints as here - even if I may not entirely agree with all of her more ferocious activist ideals (but I agree with them far more than I would have five years ago, that's for sure).

I do want to do a proper review of this book but I'm going to take it chapter by chapter and go through each one again as well as trying to pin down some of the more valid criticisms that might be out there (okay, I may not fully follow through on that part or else we'll be waiting until 2020 for me to get it finished but I may try at least).  If anyone has read the book and has an opinion to offer or read any of the criticism of the book and can point me to good sources on that, please leave me a comment below.  Actually, would anyone be interested in doing a read-along and coming back to discuss the book?  There are five chapters and I'll be aiming for doing perhaps one chapter a month.  Let me know if there's any interest - it could be kind of fun.

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