West Roxbury Reads 2009

Best-Selling Author Michael Pollan Engages 700 in Capstone Event

Community Partners – West Roxbury Reads 2009

  • Allandale Farm
  • Blanchard’s Wine and Spirits
  • Evening Garden Club of West Roxbury
  • Fornax Bread
  • Gardens at Gethsemane
  • Green City Growers
  • Himalayan Bistro
  • Masona Grill
  • Newton Angino Community Farm
  • Paper Store
  • Phuket Thai Restaurant
  • ReadBoston
  • Roche Bros.
  • Roslindale Bakery
  • Slow Food Boston
  • Theodore Parker Church
  • West on Centre Restaurant
  • Westport Rivers
  • West Roxbury Historical Society
  • West Roxbury Saves Energy
  • YMCA of West Roxbury
Michael Pollan and WRR Chair Gwynne Morgan
Michael Pollan (on right) and Gwynne Morgan, Chair of the West Roxbury Reads Committee, at the reception for Friends prior to Pollan’s talk.

West Roxbury Reads 2009, a program of the Friends of the West Roxbury library, focused its six weeks of events on themes in the book In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan, of Omnivore’s Dilemma fame. The capstone event, on May 12, was a visit from the author himself. Pollan greeted members of the Friends at a private reception at the library, signed books, and then spoke for over an hour to a full house at the Lyndon School, across the street.

Crowd waiting to enter Michael Pollan's talk
The audience entering the Lyndon for Michael Pollan’s talk.

An entertaining presentation engaged the audience, who on several occasions applauded to show agreement with points Pollan made, as he explained and expanded on the theme of his book: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” After his talk, Pollan answered questions from attendees, including one about whether he worried that the junk-food industry would come after him for disparaging processed and packaged items sold in grocery stores (his answer: no, because he puts the most incendiary information in his NY Times column, and the Timeshas a flock of lawyers to protect against such actions). He also shared that his next book will be about “cooking, although it won’t be a cookbook.” Pollan believes that our culture’s move away from cooking meals because we are so busy and are always on the run has contributed to the rise in eating nonfood items (and the concurrent rise in health risks).

Michael Pollan signing copies of his book at the Friends reception
Michael Pollan signing copies of his book at the Friends reception.
WRR Chair Gwynne Morgan introducing Michael Pollan
West Roxbury Reads Committee Chair Gwynne Morgan introducing Michael Pollan.

The West Roxbury Reads 2009 series in April and May included book discussion groups; a local wine tasting; nutritionist advice for children; tours of nearby farms; panel discussions with West Roxbury chefs who also offered sustainable dinners at their restaurants; and films, speakers, and workshops on the topics of slow food, urban container planting, and growing a vegetable garden.

Michael Pollan speaks to a full house.
Michael Pollan speaks to a full house.


West Roxbury Reads Series

2007: March, by Geraldine Brooks
2009: In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
2011: The Widower’s Tale, by Julia Glass