As TV host and CNN commentator Jane Velez-Mitchell was setting up, I thanked her for her recent spotlight on factory-farming and interview with Michael Greger of HSUS (see my post about it from earlier this month). When I picked up her book a little later, I heard her say, "I'm kosher too!" to the person in front of me in reference to her vegan diet. Velez-Mitchell told me that she has been vegan for 12 years and that her new book, iWant (which will be released in October), talks about veganism extensively. Here's an excerpt from the "Veganism/Animal Activism: I Want to Make a Difference" chapter in the galley:
The vegan transformation I've experienced goes way beyond diet. It's allowed me to put my spiritual and moral concepts into action on a daily basis.
Every morsel of food I put into my mouth is an environmental, political, moral, and spiritual choice. Every household product I buy is an environmental, political, moral, and spiritual choice. I always try to think before I choose. Sometimes, when I'm in a quandary, I pray before I choose.
Vegan Cookbooks and the Like
There's been some recent buzz in publishing circles about focusing on vegan cookbooks, including in Publishers Weekly and at the Making Information Pay conference. I chatted with and got a recipe sampler from VeganYumYum.com founder Lauren Ulm, whose Vegan Yum Yum: Decadent (But Doable) Animal-Free Recipes for Entertaining & Every Day will be released in September. I finally got to meet vegan cookbook icon Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who was signing copies of her new book, Vegan Brunch (which just came out on Tuesday). Terry Hope Romero, Moskowitz's coauthor for Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (which will be released in November), signed promo materials for their upcoming book; delicious (and much appeciated) vegan cookies were distributed at their table. I also picked up a copy of Shannon Gannon's Yoga and Vegetarianism, which includes a foreword by Ingrid Newkirk.
Michael Muhammad Knight
I was first in line to meet Michael Muhammad Knight, who autographed a copy of his new book Osama Van Halen (which will be released on Tuesday) as well as my copy of The Taqwacores. In The Taqwacores, Knight painted such a vivid picture of Muslim punks that it inspired an actual "taqwacore" scene. Knight told me that to the best of knowledge, the Star of David has not been used as a Muslim punk symbol in real life, whereas it was in The Taqwacores. ("The old-school punks ... they used to wear the swastika and all this Nazi [expletive]. ... So if this is Muslim Punk, and our community and audience is all [expletive] Muslim, what symbol's more unsettling than the Star of [expletive] David?" said one character in The Taqwacores. Click here to read my 2008 article "Jewish Punks Embrace Nazi Rhetoric and Imagery.")