Novella Carpenter

It’s easy to roll your eyes at Novella Carpenter—a hippie-raised UW grad who later attended Berkeley J-School (studying under Michael Pollan, no less) and now lives in crime-ridden Oakland. All the liberal clichés, right? But Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer (Penguin, $29.95) isn’t just another foodie book that naively preaches from a position of privilege. Carpenter is self-aware enough to know that her project—to grow vegetables, raise chickens and pigs, and eat off her little plot of land—may sound ridiculously implausible. When her first garden resembles a peace sign, she quickly changes it to look like the Mercedes Benz logo. And she doesn’t bore readers with long contemplations about what it means to kill her first chicken. Instead she relates tales of dumpster-diving for pig slop, the impressive smells generated by animal droppings, and her platform-boot-wearing neighbor who runs a Wednesday-night variety show out of a local warehouse. You know: ordinary regular farm stuff. (Also: 6:30 p.m. Thurs., Palace Ballroom,, $25.) LAURA ONSTOT

Wed., June 24, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., June 25, 6:30 p.m., 2009

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