Archive for August, 2012

From the moment that I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I fell in love with Michael Pollan’s writing.  Witty, intelligent and clear, he never forces you to agree with him but allows you to come to your own conclusions.  Since The Omnivore’s Dilemma most of his books have dealt with the subject of food and what we eat.  In a book review, The NY Times described him as a “liberal foodie intellectual”.  Watch his appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show.  Check out his website. 

Currently, I am reading his first book (at least I’m pretty sure it’s his first book), Second Nature, A Gardener’s Education.  The American Horticultural Society chose it as one of the seventy-five greatest books ever written about gardening.  It is laugh out loud funny.  I’m pretty sure my fellow passengers on a plane ride to Colorado wondered what I was guffawing over.  I enjoy writing that takes a realistic, irreverent and funny look at any subject.  Add in a dose of 3 taboo subjects, sex, politic and religion and you’ve got my attention.  If the subject is gardening, cooking, eating or writing then I’m hooked.  Second Nature hooked me big time.  Pollan weaves a tale of his personal experience with gardening that draws on his father’s rebellion against lawnmowing, the history of trees, his own battle with a woodchuck, and Thoreau.  And he comes up with some very interesting thoughts about the subject.  “Another day it occurred to me that time as we know it doesn’t exist in the lawn, since grass never dies or is allowed to flower and set seed.  Lawns are nature purged of sex or death.  No wonder Americans like them so much.”

If you are easily offended, don’t read this book.  If you think that a huge front lawn and a nice low hedge are the epitome of middle class virtue, don’t read this book.  If you just want to be entertained, don’t read this book, although you probably weren’t thinking about doing so anyway.  However, if you have any interest in nature, plants, gardening, the use of pesticides, or you’ve ever picked up a gardening catalog definitely read this book.

Currently, I am finishing Chapter 11, “Made wild by pompous catalogs”.  Then Chapter 12 and the fun is over.  Thank you, Mr. Pollan for making me believe I am not weird or alone.  Thank you for helping me see that there is room in the gardening world for all different types of people.  Most of all, thank you for allowing me to think!

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