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“Unsheltered” by Barbara Kingsolver — A Book Recommendation

By November 29, 2023Beet 2023 12 December

Now that I have learned how to access library audiobooks and download them to my phone, I am listening to a couple more books a month while driving in my car. Learning this process and getting it into my aging brain was on my 2023 goals list.  With the help of our Jackson County Library System, I have mastered this new skill that our young people take for granted, as we older folks did with a landline at their age.

In the past, I bought audio books (very expensive) and played them on my device in my car and at home. In 2021, I purchased a new Outback and, only after getting home realized it did not have a CD player. I was devastated, as I had close to 200 audiobooks in my home library.  At about the same time my home CD player died. Was the Universe trying to tell me something? So, I donated all of my audio books to the library, took the tax write off and moved on.

Now that I’m downloading library audiobooks to my phone, I am once again getting more books under my belt. Interestingly, one of the first books that I listened to was “Unsheltered” by Barbara Kingsolver.

Every book of Kingsolver’s that I have read (which is most of them) always brings surprise and delight. Her insights into family dynamics, social justice, science verses religion and so much more always give me a new perspective that I had not expected when I chose the book to read. “Unsheltered” is no different. One fascinating character in the story was Mary Treat, who is a real person and known for her work in botany and entomology. In the 1830’s. Mary corresponded with Charles Darwin, which adds some interesting discussions about Darwin’s work and ideas. As a lover of plants and the science around plants, this was one of the aspects of this book that I found most delicious.

This is a fascinating and complex read on many levels. I have spent many enjoyable reflective moments on various elements of the book since finishing it. The website below gives a fuller synopsis of the novel. Maybe one of these days as we are working in the gardens at SOREC we can have a lively discussion about “Unsheltered” by Barbara Kingsolver.