Every Tuesday I show up here on the blog to tell you about a crochet book. I have a pile of crochet books here to recommend and review. And yet, today I’ve decided to go slightly off track to recommend another book (or rather set of books) that aren’t quite crochet but that I’m loving so much that I think they just have to be shared. It’s a set of three memoirs about sheep farming life by Catherine Friend and specifically I’m recommending the most recent of the books, which is called Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet.
Basics of the Book
Catherine Friend is a writer who would have been content living a basic writer’s life but fifteen years ago her partner wanted to start a farm. She agreed, they moved to Minnesota, bought some sheep and the story begins. She’s collected a lot of tales along the way and she shares these funny stories throughout the book. She also admits that after fifteen years she’s getting a bit tired of the farm life and yet there’s things that she’s come to love about it, too, and we get to see both sides of that story. During the course of this book she also starts getting more interested in the actual fiber from her sheep, learning to spin and knit. She learns lots about the history of wool and sheep farming and conveys that information in this book as well. It’s a true story told from the heart in a funny way from a strong woman who is not afraid to laugh at herself it.
Ten Reasons I’m Adoring this Book
I’ll try to be succinct here:
- The book is hilarious. I love Friend’s sarcastic, silly sense of humor.
- There are some truly touching moments in this story. They balance the silliness nicely.
- I have a secret adoration for stories about modern farm life and urban farming even though I don’t want to farm myself.
- The book has tons of information about sheep and alpacas including, but not limited to, great info about their fiber.
- It makes a great case for the benefits of wool.
- Friend pokes a little fun at “fiber freaks” as she becomes one. My expensive yarn hoard places me squarely in this category and I’m not afraid to laugh at myself.
- Each chapter starts with a quote, often a great one about farming or sheep. I love well-chosen quotes.
- The chapters are short and sweet so you can easily read this book in digestible pieces on buses and in waiting rooms. At the same time, it’s the kind of book that you don’t want to put down if you don’t have to.
- This is a truly honest book. The best memoirs are.
- It’s hilarious. I know, I already said that. But it is.
Three Memoirs that Each Stand on Their Own
I want to point out that there are three related memoirs so far and this one that I’m recommending is the third in the series. It’s the only one that I’ve read so far and I think it stands perfectly well on its own. I plan on reading the other two because I’m loving this first one so much but I started with this one because it’s not until about fifteen years into owning the farm that the author gets into learning more about wool fiber and that’s the part that truly interested in me. So yes, there are two other books, and I’m guessing that they each stand on their own as well. The first book in the set is Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn and the second is The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald’s Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat.
Have you read any of these books? Are the first two as good as Sheepish?