My interview with KITV political reporter Denby Fawcett was one of the most enjoyable in the history of doing my Advertiser column, mainly because of Denby herself, who is vivacious, smart and engaging. But it was also simply because there are times when you find a kindred spirit and the interview becomes just an enjoyable conversation, and this was one of those times.

I’ve printed our full interview below, which appears for the first time.

What I’m Reading | Denby Fawcett
Political Reporter, KITV news

Q&A with Christine Thomas
March 2008

-What are you reading?

The book I just finished was “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” by Michael Pollan, but the one I really liked was his one before that, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” which made me read his second one. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” is a work of art. It’s an incredible book because it’s so carefully researched about where our food comes from, but it’s written in this beautiful way. What I like is it doesn’t preach but lays out the facts, like in good journalism—it assumes you’re smart enough to take the information and make up your own mind. But “In Defense of Food” is preachy and starts out the first half more factual and explains nutritionism, which is actually phony reductionist science. Pollan thinks the trouble with most food writing is that it’s based on bad science. He has a mantra that says ‘eat food, not too much, mostly plants,’ and that’s his whole recommendation. By that he means it’s not a complicated, big deal what you eat.

-How did you discover it?

I found out about it from the list in the New York Times called the 10 Best Books. It was one of the 10 best books of ’06, but I didn’t read it for a while. I finished “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” a couple of months ago because I didn’t get to it.

-What do you like most about The Omnivore’s Dilemma?

I like books that just give you a lot of information and then assume you’re smart enough to make up your own mind. They are very polite to the reader and readers like that—not being treated like you’re an idiot and need to be told what to do. I like it, too, because it takes you places that you couldn’t go on your own, like following a cow up to the moment it’s killed in the stock yard. That information is not very nice, but you really feel like you’ve been on a journey you couldn’t go on yourself. That’s why books in general are very helpful. Kind of like journalism, you can get places and see things that are hidden and off limits.

-Are you drawn to books like this because as a journalist you give viewers the story they can’t acquire themselves?

Most people that are journalists are inherently curious, so I’m drawn to any type of book that takes me somewhere and makes me interested in something. Like I got this book “Icons of Awakened Energy,” and it was made in Bhutan and smells like incense. That’s another thing about books that you can’t get online or anywhere else–it smells nice and takes you to that very foreign place.