Last year, the College of Charleston picked Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals as their College Read book selection. This was part of the reason why the Charleston County Public Library chose Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as last year's One Book Charleston County selection.
Last October 23 (2012), I spent part of my birthday at the TD Arena to hear Foer speak about both books. But the event, since it was at C of C, was mostly about Eating Animals. For those who don't know, Eating Animals is about how meat are manufactured and consumed by the public.
A student introduced Foer, saying that Eating Animals changed her life so much that she gave up eating meat. More power to her. Foer reacted to her introduction by saying that the success of a book depends on the conversations that people have after reading it. Some people may feel uncertain about reading this type of book or it may make them think. He also said that young people are more willing to change their lifestyles than older people.
Foer said that farming has changed a lot in the last 50 years. Corporations, rather than individual farmers, are doing now farming. He said that Smithfield, the pork company, had over 7,000 violations in one year due to the Clean Water Act. He also said that the corporations don't really care too much about human health and animal cruelty. He said that the only possible solution to this problem is to promote vegetarianism.
The discussion about the food and farming industry was good, but the ones who came to hear about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close might have been disappointed. I did get to great him for a minute after the presentation and he did sign my book, but he quickly left. But he seemed pretty nice.