This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and…

Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting…

by Charlotte Gill, Charlotte Gill

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11110108,775 (3.84)48

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
A season in the life of a professional tree-planter in British Columbia. Charlotte Gill writes with the skill and talent of John McPhee, interweaving science and history with her narrative in masterfully descriptive prose. I highly recommend it. ( )
  kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
An excellent book about the intrepid tree-planters of British Columbia who spend most of the year in the clear-cut forests. My image of a clear-cut was of a grim area bereft of beauty, yet Gill saw beauty everywhere despite the "permadirt" ingrained in a tree-planter's skin. In addition to describing the people who take on this relentlessly back-breaking work, she talks about forests and forestry with expertise. Her writing is beautifully poetic in places and deserving of all the accolades received. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Aug 22, 2015 |

I truly did not expect to like this book. I picked it up with a sigh, thinking that here I go again, starting another book I probably didn't want to read in the first place. The story of tree planters held almost no appeal to me. So, I began the first page ready to be disappointed. By the third page I knew I liked the author's writing style. By the tenth page I found myself enjoying the descriptions of Vancouver island and the almost alien landscape the tree planters were traveling through.

Her writing is tangible, the words enveloping me as a reader. I can feel the dirt under my fingernails, the sweat clinging to the back of my neck. As I turn the pages I feel like I should be looking around to make eye contact with the people Gill is talking about.

I keep asking myself who would want to do this kind of work? The conditions, the filth, the isolation, the hours and the alienness of the terrain has it permanently removed it from every conceivable list of jobs I could ever fathom.

I told myself that I'm not interested in this book it's not a topic I have any interest in. Still, I keep turning the pages and continuing on. I can see why this book was nominated for an award - the topic is unique and the writing itself draws the reader into the story.

The drawback for me was the immense amount of information about the history of trees and forestry industry in the book. At first it felt like it was handed out in bits and peppered through stories, and that was fine as I found it quite interesting. Yet as the book continued I found myself drowning in the information and details. As a result it took me almost a full week to read this 250 page book.

The author,Charlotte Gill, has a much different take on this lifestyle than I do. Where I would find the filth, exhaustion and repetition overwhelming and not something that I would want to spend a career doing, never mind a single season, she finds that she has a love for it.

"Some people think planting trees is as boring and crazy making at stuffing envelopes or at climbing a StairMaster. I love my job for exactly the opposite reason because it is so full of things. There are so many living creatures to touch and smell and look at in the field that it's often a little intoxicating. A setting so full of all-enveloping sensation that it just sweeps you up and spirits you anyway like Vegas does to gamblers or Mount Everest to climbers."

Tree planting sounds like one of those jobs you would need to have a calling to. It sounds as though it may be one of the last frontier style ways of life that can be experienced in today's world. For me, this book has been interesting and illuminating. And I am quite happy (and thankful) to leave it to those who have been called. ( )
  Absent_Librarian | Apr 9, 2014 |
Gill's book is a fascinating read on the culture and lifestyle of professional tree planters. I found her language and insights beautiful and moving- often poetic. However, she tends to slip around in time frequently and also slips between related subject matters as well. For instance, a passage on a moving vista may transition into a lesson on plant ecology and then transition again to discussing interactions among the tree-planting tribe. I can see the relationships between the separate topics that she blends together, but it could make for some confusing reading. Overall, her grasp of language and her insights into the cultural phenomenon of professional tree-planters made this one of my favorite reads. I look forward to reading it again, which I don't often do.
  quietpower | May 16, 2013 |
Charlotte Gill, whose earlier work had been nominated for a Governor General’s award in Canada, writes about her twenty years’ experience as a tree planter in the clear-cut forests of British Columbia. There is a marked contrast between the quality of her writing, which is poetic at times, and the rugged, gritty and back-breaking work that she describes. Gill talks about the history, the science and the environmental issues related to the cutting down and replanting of trees. However, the book is mostly about the subculture of tree planters, and like the best books of this type, it offers a fascinating view into what exactly these people do and what drives them to do it. ( )
1 vote mathgirl40 | Apr 23, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Eating Dirt is at its most fascinating when Gill considers not only the human relationship with forests (the removal of which has gone hand in hand with the growth of human civilization since its beginning, with the now-dwindling North American timber supply representing the last large-scale wood source on the planet), but the relationship between trees and the environments in which they live.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charlotte Gillprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gill, Charlottemain authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
I made a shift to go forward, till I came to a part of the field where the corn had been laid by the rain and wind. Here it was impossible for me to advance a step, for the stalks were so interwoven, that I could not creep through, and the beards of the fallen ears so strong and pointed, that they pierced through my clothes into my flesh. At the same time I heard the reapers not a hundred yards behind me.
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, "A Voyage to Brobdingnag"
First words
We'd fall out of bed and into our rags, still crusted with the grime of yesterday.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Charlotte Gill spent twenty years working as a tree planter in Canadian forests. In this book, she examines the environmental impact of logging and celebrates the value of forests from a perspective of some one whose work caught them between environmentalists and loggers.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

LibraryThing Author

Charlotte Gill is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.84)
1 1
2 1
3 4
3.5 2
4 8
4.5 6
5 3


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 126,541,961 books! | Top bar: Always visible