Keith Staskiewicz
May 13, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Our first reaction to Alice Walker’s The Chicken Chronicles was ”What the cluck?” But Walker’s quasi-memoir about raising poultry is part of a growing trend. (Upcoming chicken tomes include The Homesteading Handbook and The Feast Nearby.) In the book, Walker refers to her flock of 38 birds as her ”girls” and offers poems and letters addressed to the creatures, which, for the record, she doesn’t eat. That would just be fowl.

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