Field Days (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Jonah Raskin’s Field Days continues the tradition of memoirs covering a single year in the life of an author undertaking a particular course of action, journey, or experiment. Previous books in this tradition include Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence (1991), Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously (2005), and Elizabeth Bishop’s Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything in Italy, India, and Indonesia (2007). Raskin’s memoir chronicles the author’s investigation of farming, eating, and drinking in California. He explains that part of the project’s motivation grew out of the love that he shared with his parents of rural environments.
Recalling fondly a boyhood spent on Long Island, New York, when it was still covered with farmland, Raskin took the opportunity in the 1970’s to move to California. There, he joined his parents, who, seeking to recapture such a rural environment, had retired to Sonoma County. Raskin has relished living in Sonoma, a place of Mediterranean climate with a nine-month growing season. He sees it as a near paradise. After working in academia for many years teaching writing and communications, Raskin developed a longing at age sixty-five to connect with the soil. He decided he could do so while continuing in his teaching position at Sonoma State University. He planned to utilize his writing to describe his exploration of the small-farm, local-food...
(The entire section is 1623 words.)
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