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More Scenes from Rural Life Hardcover – 1 Apr 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (1 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616891564
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616891565
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,872,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"It's graceful, poetic, sharp--and rewards both a straight-through reading and dipping into dates according to season." - Shelf-Awareness

About the Author

Verlyn Klinkenborg's work has appeared in many magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, National Geographic, The New Republic, Audubon, GQ and The New York Times Magazine. He has taught literature and creative writing at Fordham University, St Olaf College, Bennington College and Harvard University and is the recipient of the 1991 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Verlyn Klinkenborg and his wife live on a small farm in upstate New York. His latest memoir "More Scenes from the Rural Life" about his life on the farm is a collection of 173 of his most eloquent, inspiring pieces since his last book "The Rural Life" published a decade ago.
His first eleven chapters (one for each year) poetically describe the joys, sorrows, beauty and challenges of farm life, his relationship with the natural word and livestock (the horses, pigs and chickens) during the year's four seasons.
I loved Verlyn's amazing description of turning the horses into the pasture when spring comes at last. He said, "They trotted through the gate with the high-headed carriage they use when advancing into new ground, breasting the world around them. Then they ran, leaping and farting and kicking...Then they stopped and bounced straight upward, all four feet in the air, the way a fox does when it pounces on a vole."
In "Interlude" Verlyn expresses concern about our planet's declining biological and genetic diversity, the use of genetically modified crops, the broken global meat and dairy industry, our diminishing environmental resources and the increase in corporate control on all levels of agricultural production.
In "Year Eleven" Verlyn captures the spirit and essence of the chickens. He lets the chickens out of their pen "...because it plainly makes them happy, and because their enthusiasm is catching." He says, "...a foraging chicken feeds itself by finding surprises everywhere. It's such a bountiful view of the world."
Verlyn feels great sorrow at having to put Remedy, his 34-year-old horse, down. He wrote, "There's a lot of dying on this farm. That's the nature of living with domesticated animals on the edge of the wild...The deaths add up over the years...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x95ee0c3c) out of 5 stars 40 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95e2c69c) out of 5 stars The wisdom of a farmer. 13 July 2013
By Miles D. Moore - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Verlyn Klinkenborg's "More Scenes from the Rural Life" is his second collection of essays from his regular "New York Times" editorial column. As the title indicates, the essays concentrate on Klinkenborg's life on his farm in upstate New York, although they also encompass his sojourns in places as far away as Los Angeles and Finland, his appreciation of various writers, his childhood and family reminiscences, and his thoughts on the general state of agriculture.

As those who have read his columns already know, Klinkenborg is a fine stylist, part poet and part philosopher. Here is how he describes watching fireflies on a summer night: "They rise from the grass, flickering higher and higher until one of them turns into the blinking lights of a jet flying eastward far above the horizon." And how he describes encountering a mangy, dying fox in his barn: "The fox and I looked at each other, only a few feet apart. If it had been a dog, I could have helped it. But even the pity in my eyes reminded it that it had come too close."

Klinkenborg is a worthy heir to the long tradition of American rural and wilderness writers, who retreat from urbanity to examine the world and their place within it. For most modern readers, that tradition begins with Thoreau and continues through John Muir, Ernest Thompson Seton, Aldo Leopold, E.B. White, Henry Beston, John Haines, Donald Hall, Edward Abbey, and Wendell Berry, among many others. But the writer to whom Klinkenborg pays tribute, especially at the end of the book, is the earliest of them all: William Cobbett. Cobbett, a Redcoat who decided to settle in the United States, was both the greatest political writer and the greatest agricultural writer of his day. Cobbett's "The American Gardener," first published in 1821, was an immediate bestseller and still, so Klinkenborg tells us, contains much that is invaluable to today's gardeners and farmers. "Cobbett tried to reconnect the rural men and women of 1821, defrauded of their agricultural birthright by England's disastrous wartime economy, with their elders, who were wise almost beyond remembering in the ways of the land," Klinkenborg tells us.

Klinkenborg sees modern-day people being similarly defrauded by factory farms and global agribusiness, and--along with Berry and a few others--argues that we forget old rural wisdom at our peril. By losing that wisdom, Klinkenborg says, we make our food supply worse-tasting, less nutritious, and less safe. "(I)f what farmers know, as well as what they do, matters, then you can't have too many farmers," he tells us in one essay. "Yet the thrust of conventional agriculture has been to drive farmers from the land, to depopulate the countryside, and to turn many of the farmers that remain into nothing more than contract laborers and heavy-equipment operators. The way we farm has divorced farmers utterly from the soil. Society and the soil suffer alike."
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95efcb28) out of 5 stars Rural Life in Review 3 Jun. 2013
By Avid Mystery Reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a really good read for anyone but especially if you have lived in rural America, it will definitely appeal to you. My folks lived in a town of about 500 or so in rural Kansas and this book epitomizes the sights, sounds, and smells of rural and country life. The details of the observations of country living are incredible, so much so you can almost smell the earth from a plowed field and hear the wheat rustle as in blows in a Kansas wind! I also am partial to books that give the date in the title of the chapter (or the season or day, etc). I have always liked these sorts of books that take you to a simpler time and bring peace to your mind as you read them. They are like a mini vacation and this book is no exception. Yes, there are struggles in any rural living but the good outweighs the bad. This book is highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95e313a8) out of 5 stars A Rare Find That I Will Enjoy Rereading 30 July 2013
By Julie D. - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I hadn't heard of this author but was casting around for something different to read. The idea of reading someone's collected essays about life on a farm in upstate New York sounded just the thing, almost like an adult version of the Laura Ingalls Wilder tales I always loved as a child.

It was definitely the right choice as I have been enchanted by the beauty of Verlyn Klinkenborg's prose, the strength of his understanding of nature and animals, and in the vivid images which make me feel as if I am there in the country. It is almost as good as taking a vacation. I find myself deliberately slowing down, savoring the writing, and simply relaxing.

There is a section in the middle of the book called Interludes wherein are included more direct commentary on subjects like genetically engineered crops, big farming, and so forth. I read the first couple but, frankly, I found nothing that I hadn't picked up already in the more lyrical journal style writing from the rest of the book. One may agree with him or not in these more opinionated pieces and I found that about 90% of the time I did agree. However, as I say, I lost nothing in briefly skimming most of them and moving on. The essays which make up the main part of the book are more thoughtful and reflective and often make the same points in a gentler way which is more tied to the land. Therefore, I found these pointed pieces to be overkill. Your milage may vary. If it were not for these, I'd give the book five stars.

Despite the Interlude, this book is a rare find for me and one that I will enjoy rereading over the years.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95e315a0) out of 5 stars A Good Bedtime Book 20 Jun. 2013
By L. M Young - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am not familiar with Mr. Klinkenborg's column, but have enjoyed rural life observations from favorites such as Gladys Taber, Mary O'Hara, Haydn Pearson, and Rachel Peden. I was not disappointed with this thoughtful book of essays about life on a northern New York State farm, as well as other Western locations he has visited. Occasionally, I thought he was too detached from his observations, but chiefly I just enjoyed his lovely descriptions of countryside and animal life. These short entries are perfect to read before going to sleep, a welcome respite from our frantic electronic world.

If you enjoyed this volume, I highly recommend O'Hara's out-of-print but well worth searching for WYOMING SUMMER, a diary of life on a ranch in the 1930s.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95e314a4) out of 5 stars An Easy Chair Read 30 May 2013
By mk - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This set of diary or journal-type entries takes one not only into rural farm life but the philosophy of life, in general, and the pleasure of simple observation.

Mr. Klinkenborg is an exceptional writer who also teaches writing. He definitely has the gift of prose down. The entries are quickly digestable as he discusses the trials and triumphs of farm life with humor and insight. There's always a point behind it, and even the so called mundane becomes something deeper.

His stories go beyond rural life as he travels about. He notices and expounds on anything that captures his curious mind, e.g., he lays about and thinks of all the pop machines that must currently be running in the world and the noises they make. There's profound meaning or at least interest in anything if we're willing to find it. It reminds me of Writing Class 101 in college where we were told to "discourse" on sitting in a chair or staring out the window(which I often found myself doing inadvertently). He's much more polished at it than I ever was.

Enjoyable, relaxing, fun read.
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