I listened to this because my mother recommended it and I have a new-found interest in plants, food and our connection to them. So I thought I would learn something new. There were parts that were quite interesting, mostly the section on marijuana, and others that were disconnected and boring.
I never really knew where the author was going with his essays and when I was done listening I still didn't know. He rambled on and often I lost interest and just tuned out.
I have not yet read his other popular books but I don't think I will in the future.
I found the content of Botany of Desire a little bit disappointing after all other Pollan's book that a read in the past. The level of detail of some part are sometimes boring...
The Botany of Desire provides a fascinating account of how we have affected natural selection and evolution of selected plant species and compliments The Singularity is Near which focuses on the profound effects that the human brain has had on the evolution of computation and information technology.
I was fascinated by the information and the thinking behind this book. Michael Pollan (should change his name to Pollen) is a deep thinker, and expresses his philosophy very well. I see the world in a new way because of this book (similar to the effect of 'Perfume' by Patrick Susskind).
Max Fisher of Rushmore Academy
This title did not deliver on its original promise of a scientific examination of the co-evolution of humans and four species of plant. Not that it didn't make an attempt, because it did. And yet the author seemed to get consistently -- and deeply -- distracted in ways that I could barely abide.
It's as though the author sold the concept to a publishing house only to discover that there was not sufficient material on the chosen subjects to fill 300 pages, forcing him to compensate with vast spans of particularly annoying and formless (even...Dionysian?) sophistry.
I usually avoid abridged books but this is one title that, had it undergone an intensive (even...Apollonian?) abridgement, would have merited an additional one or two stars.
I'm not a gardener, and I don't really care about the stories behind the plants and flowers. But this book managed to suck me into the history and presence of it. The first chapter on apple (and the legends of Johnny Appleseed) is simply enchanting.
I might even try other books by Michael Pollan now. He makes potentially dull subjects (dull to me, personally) into something exciting. Great writer, for sure.
Maybe I should have read the introduction. But I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt and work with it. I was on a 7 1/2 hour trip to New Mexico. Thought thats the best time to listen to it. Three or four chapters in, it just board me to tears. Couldnt take it any more. Was I missing something?
Say something about yourself!
I didn't really expect to get into this book as much as I did. I thought it was going to be boring information about plants. But the first section of the book on apples got me really interested and I was hooked ever since. Just the way it was written made me feel that the author was very passionate about the subject and then passed that excitement onto me.
I do admit though that some parts were a little slow. I couldn't fully get into the second section for example. But the other parts of the book made this it still worth the read. At least for me anyway.
This book has buried in it a very interesting story with tasty titbits of history, botany, psychology, general fun and beautiful language, but to get to those one needs to listen through mostly bland and always lengthy philosophical ramblings. I am all in favour of moulding the language into beautiful form for sheer listening pleasure, but in the case of, say, Bill Bryson - I want to rewind and listen again, while in this case I itch to hit fast-forward, but then I might miss the small tasty part in the middle, so I don't.
If only I could split this book into two parts - captivating story and boring philosophy, and listen to just the first one...
The narrator's performance is excellent, but I don't know how he managed to get through those passages without falling asleep, which makes it even more commendable.