Flashback Friday: My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki

It’s time, once again, for Flashback Friday…

Flashback Friday is a chance to dig deep in the darkest nooks of our bookshelves and pull out the good stuff from way back. As a reader, a blogger, and a consumer, I tend to focus on new, new, new… but what about the old favorites, the hidden gems? On Flashback Fridays, I want to hit the pause button for a moment and concentrate on older books that are deserving of attention.

My rules — since I’m making this up:

  1. Has to be something I’ve (you’ve) read myself (yourself) — oh, you know what I mean!
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

My pick for this week’s Flashback Friday:

My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki

(published 1998)

From Amazon:

The perfect fiction companion to The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food

Now that Michael Pollan’s New York Times bestsellers have opened up a national dialogue about where food really comes from, conscientious readers everywhere will want to devour My Year of Meats. When documentarian Jane Takagi-Little finally lands a job producing a Japanese television show that just happens to be sponsored by the American meat-exporting industry, she begins to uncover some unsavory truths about love, fertility, and a very dangerous hormone called DES. A modern-day take on Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, veteran filmmaker Ruth Ozeki’s novel has been hailed as “rare and provocative” (USA Today) and “up-to-the-minute” (Chicago Tribune).

You know how being a part of a book group is supposed to widen your reading horizons by exposing you to great works that you might not otherwise have picked up? My Year of Meats is a perfect example of that for me. I’m not a foodie, I hadn’t heard about this book, and I would probably not be drawn to a book with a cow on the cover under normal circumstances. But hey, I’m a cooperative book group member, so when my group selected My Year of Meats as our next book, I obediently picked up a copy. And I’m so glad that I did.

Ruth Ozeki’s first novel packs a powerful punch. At times humorous and tongue-in-cheek, My Year of Meats, in telling the story of a woman learning some hidden truths about a troublesome industry, offers its own expos√© of the business of growing, manufacturing, tinkering with, and selling meat. At the same time, this is a work of fiction with engaging lead and secondary characters, a propulsive plot, and terrific writing.

I’ve recommended My Year of Meats to many people over the years, with great success. Be warned: once you read this, you may never look at the steak on your plate in quite the same way again.

So, what’s your favorite blast from the past? Leave a tip for your fellow booklovers, and share the wealth. It’s time to dust off our old favorites and get them back into circulation!¬†

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: This is my baby-steps attempt at a blog hop! Join in, post a Friday Flashback on your blog, and share your link below. Don’t have a blog post to share? Then share your favorite oldie-but-goodie in the comments section. Let’s get this party started!