Pam Rice: not so scary
About twelve years ago I wandered into the big health food store that used to be on the corner of Mercer and West 4th in Greenwich Village in New York City and bought something to eat. On approaching the counter, my eye fell upon an 8 1/2 x 11 pamphlet, entitled 101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian.
I was in the throes of a master's thesis at the time, and, once I'd placed my eye back in its socket, I saw immediately how 101 Reasons
provided just the nuggets of information I needed to help my thesis (which was on vegetarianism and religion) along.
Cut to a few months later, and I come across the author, Pam Rice, on the street, being the excellent veg-evangelist that she is, with a Carmen Miranda
fruit salad on her head, wearing a billboard with the words "Ask me why I'm a vegetarian," and handing out her pamphlet, aptly nicknamed "The Mighty Convincer," to stunned passers-by. I find out that she's the editor of a magazine called The Viva Vine
and is hoping to start a vegetarian center in New York City, and I think: "I like what this woman is saying."
Well, she had plans, and I had plans, and some of those plans came true and some didn't. But we're still here, and still trying our hardest to be mighty convincers. At our friends Joan and Tom's wedding reception in Candle Cafe
, about seven years ago, I suggested Pam write a little book based on the pamphlet, and she thought that a good idea.
Well, she had plans, and I had plans, and a few years later, nothing had happened with the book or with the agent who she'd sent her proposal to. So she came back to me, now at Lantern, and asked me if I'd publish her manuscript, and I said "yes." (I'm very forgiving that way!) Instead of a little book, however, what she had written was the mother of all reference works, an enormous, passionate, and incredibly powerful book that encompasses just about every aspect of animal agriculture you can imagine. It's called 101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian
, and I'm thrilled to say that after a difficult gestation and birth, this baby's doing well.
Don't be put off by the scary photo of Pam on the cover. (That's my fault: I thought it made her look edgy and I guess I'm tired of vegetarians having to look absurdly healthy or jolly or dressed up as carrots to make their point.) Anyway, the book is full of Pam's distinctive wit and fire and other elemental energies, and it will rock your world, and the world of people you give it to. You can follow along with the conversation about it on our forum
or check out Pam's own blog, "The Cutting Veg."
So, here's to Pam Rice. In a world where everyone (worst or best) seems to lack conviction, you meet very few distinctive personalities, who care so much about an issue that they dedicate all their waking moments to it, but Pam's one of them. And I'm proud to know her and publish her book.