Adult Summer Reading Program Combines Chickens, Hunting and Organic Food

Free range chicken. RayMorris1 / Flickr
Free range chicken.
RayMorris1 / Flickr

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

There’s no need to restrict reading groups to kids filling time during summer break.

In Kodiak, adults can commune over a shared love of reading too – with a little bit of family-friendly literature thrown in and a bit of the deeper stuff also.

Lisa Booch with the Kodiak Public Library will lead a reading group for the 18 and over population starting this month. It begins with a book about organic food called “Real is the New Natural” by Julie Andrews – no relation – and it continues with “A Hunter’s Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport,” – which, as you can guess, is about hunting.

Here is Booch reading an excerpt from “The Hunter’s Eucharist” by Charles Clifton, one of the essays that resonated with her.

“Personally I fear that to lose the attitude of humans and animals sitting at the same table and taking turns at the feast would be an abandonment of our participation in nature. We can no longer afford to think of nature as “out there” and separate from humanity, and I would add from divinity, nor can we pretend that nature will always heal itself without us.”

She says many people justify hunting with the condition that hunters should eat what they kill, and she shares her thoughts as someone with a connection to Kodiak’s brown bear hunting industry. People do not usually consume brown bear meat, but rather hunt bears for sport and for other parts of the body besides the meat, like the pelt.

“I understood that for many years, but then I got to thinking about it and I thought, well now, isn’t that the ultimate in arrogance? Because does an animal’s death only have value if a human eats it? Because when my husband’s skinning out a brown bear, everybody comes and sits down at the table and starts partaking of that brown bear.”

She says the essays delve into philosophical concerns like that one, and bring up the different moral positions on hunting. And while the topics the group will read about vary in intensity, from hunting to stories of perseverance like “Two Feet: from Losing My Own Two Legs to Learning the Dance of Life” by Amy Purdy, each will lead to an activity.

For instance, an organic chicken shoot will follow a few days after group members discuss “A Hunter’s Heart.” This isn’t what it sounds like. No live chickens are involved during the game itself. Participants will use a bow – and arrows with suction cups – to aim at photos of chickens. The reader with the best aim gets an organic chicken. Again, not a live one.

You still have time to sign up for the adult summer reading group at the library. The first book on the schedule is “Real is the New Natural,” which the group will discuss on Monday, June 20.

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