Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan

I enjoyed very much Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and so thought I'd try The Botany of Desire.

The book is basically a meditation on four plants: the apple tree, the tulip flower, the marijuana plant and the potato. Pollan's musings on these plants are interesting enough. He's one of those naturally gifted student types who pick up complex themes easily. It can make him sometimes seem a bit too smart and show-offy.

The worst of the essays is the one on the tulip, which veers closely to the self indugent. The better essays are on the apple and the potato, the latter being my favourite. This last essay points toward's Pollan's next book, The Omnivore's Dilemma.

I found this book to be okay, but thought anyone could really write their own rave on their favourite plants. There's nothing new in this book. I wish I had spent my time reading a more straight forward history of the potato, which in fact I think I will do next. Perhaps thanks are due to Mr Pollan after all for pointing me in this direction.

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