Animal House: Memoirs of Farm Life

By Julie T.

The connection between people and animals can be powerful. When I first planned this post, I fully intended to talk about a range of farm life experiences. From the corn fields of Iowa to the timber lands of the Pacific Northwest (yes, tree farms count) and the cow pastures of Texas (think of all of the cheese curdling tales in Wisconsin!). However, as I plunged into the catalog and my own reading, I found most of the books I’ve gathered share something in common. I’m sheepish to admit that this list contains many sheep memoirs. I sheep you not. All kidding aside, while the daily lived experiences of folks engaged in contemporary agribusiness share many commonalities, they also reflect diverse, deeply personal experiences.

Seasonal rhythms dictate much more than a change in clothing for farmers. Author Jenna Woginrich explores agricultural and cultural calendars in Cold Antler Farm: A Memoir of Growing Food and Celebrating Life on a Scrappy Six-acre Homestead. Woginrich eschews an idealized depiction of farming in favor of a realistic appreciation for the challenges and rewards of homesteading.

Novelist Catherine Friend never saw herself as a farmer, very much satisfied with her writing and teaching career in the city. However, her partner Melissa’s pull towards owning a working farm draws the women down another path in midlife. As Friend narrates their journey in her memoir, Hit by a Farm: How I learned to stop worrying and love the barn, anything and everything goes awry (and right) as they learn about themselves and the land. Candid and engaging, the audiobook version is a must-listen!

Sarah Smarsh‘s poignant account recalls the hardscrabble plight of Midwestern farmers in the 1980s and 1990s. As a child growing up on Kansas wheat farm, Smarsh grew attuned to the financial difficulties that tied generations of her family to an impoverished existence. Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth‘s incisive examination of poverty inspires crucial discussion.

Share your TBR pile and add these titles to the top! You can discover many more titles by searching our catalog using the subject term “farm life“.

Animal House: Memoirs of farm life

And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this classic Paul McCartney tune from his RAM album. Check out the full record by borrowing a copy from our collection.

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One response to “Animal House: Memoirs of Farm Life”

  1. Lindsey A. says:

    “I sheep you not” is my new favorite pun. My poodle gets rather sheep-like when he’s due for a trim – does that count? Lately I’ve really been into goats and I keep a close eye on Goats of Anarchy’s Instagram. Miniature baby goats with special needs? I’m there! Maybe I need to come up with a goat list.

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