Right now I am reading Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting by Michael Perry. Normally I would write about it after I was finished reading, but Perry is going to be in Iowa City tonight speaking at Prairie Lights bookstore. Tomorrow he will be speaking at the Barnes and Noble in West Des Moines. If anyone who keeps up with this blog has time, he would be worth going to see. Unfortunately I live a bit too far from either place, so will not be able to meet Perry, and am quite jealous of those who get to see him.
I have been a fan of Perry's work since I read Population 485 several years ago. I also read Truck: A Love Story when it came out and enjoyed it a great deal. Right now I am happily reading Coop and loving every minute of it. Perry's memoirs appeal to me because as someone from the rural midwest I "get" the people and places he talks about. As my husband pointed out after reading Population 485, "he has beautiful prose." While I am still stunned my husband used the word prose, his evaluation of Perry's writing is right on. Perry also is able to write things about his life that make me laugh out loud. As Coop unfolds, Perry is busy waiting on the birth of his first child. He has much to say on this topic. He also shares his adventures in getting his farm up and running. Somehow I forgot that Perry's upbringing took place in a fundamentalist religious family. While he no longer practices this faith, his lifestyle remains a bit different than the norm. He laughingly complains of his wife's spending habits - a $7 check she wrote to Goodwill. They grow their own food (as much as they can), acquire pigs that they will butcher for meat, and generally ignore popular culture for a simpler life. While I am not sure I want to go to Perry's extremes, I am amazed and encouraged that there are people able to live in this way, and try to take these examples to heart.
I have also enjoyed reading Perry's website, sneezingcow.com. If you have not read any of his books, I am highly recommending the three I have read, and will be eagerly anticipating his next book, whenever that day may come.