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Second Nature: A Gardener's Education | [Michael Pollan]

Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man's place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere.
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Publisher's Summary

In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man's place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere.

Chosen by the American Horticultural Society as one of the 75 greatest books ever written about gardening, Second Nature captures the rhythms of our everyday engagement with the outdoors in all its glory and exasperation. With chapters ranging from a reconsideration of the Great American Lawn, a dispatch from one man's war with a woodchuck, to an essay about the sexual politics of roses, Pollan has created a passionate and eloquent argument for reconceiving our relationship with nature.

©2003 Michael Pollan (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

Second Nature reads like brilliant entertainment, but it is serious wisdom. Michael Pollan…is a genuine heir to my favorite nature writer, Mark Twain.” (Simon Schama, The Boston Globe)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (278 )
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  •  
    Marie Forest Hills, NY, United States 03-21-10
    Marie Forest Hills, NY, United States 03-21-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Lush no-nonsensical brilliance"

    This book already bears what Pollan will bring to perfection in Botany of Desire: cross pollination between science, history, cultural and human sociology, poetry, sheer observation, hands-on experience, tenderness, and humor. A book that enriches, teaches, entertains, and pleases enormously. The unassuming tone of Pollan's voice at every "turn of a page" gently invites the reader to follow the author along his thinking process. And the reader obliges gleefully. A perfect read anytime of year, but probably even more appropriate for the spring.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shellbin 09-28-10
    Shellbin 09-28-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Pollan's done it again"

    A brilliant book, and a real treat to have Pollan himself narrate it. It's about gardening, yes, but also about Nature and our place in her. Laugh out loud funny in spots (who knew that an in-depth discussion of seed catalogues could be so hilarious?) Second Nature is a book that has the ability to challenge assumptions and cause us to look at our environment(s) in new ways. Definitely not just for gardeners!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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    Mary Palm Coast, FL, United States 02-05-12
    Mary Palm Coast, FL, United States 02-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Love Pollan, don't love this (but you might)"
    Any additional comments?

    I love Michael Pollan's books The Omnivore's Dilemma, and the Botany of Desire. Sweeping history or cultural commentary, a real understanding of humanity's relation to food and plants. However, this book is about his experience of growing a garden - it's more autobiographical. More slow and meditative than sweeping. If you like that kind of thing, he's a fabulous writer so you'll enjoy this. It's just not what I expected after reading the other two books.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 01-29-14
    Patricia 01-29-14
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    "Fun read for gardeners"

    I loved this book! It's full of gardening history and facts, along with Michael Pollan's observations about his own garden and the gardening scene. I especially enjoyed his comparison of plant and seed catalogs (very funny) and his history of roses (informative and entertaining). I listened to this book while weeding my own garden, and found myself laughing out loud several times. I will definitely listen to this book again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexander culpeper, VA, United States 08-04-10
    Alexander culpeper, VA, United States 08-04-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Great listen..."

    This book was a joy to listen to. I always enjoy a book that paints a good picture and exercises my imagination. If you enjoy philosophy and in general like to explore different ways of thinking about your life and your surroundings you should enjoy this book. He should continue to read his own books. The narrator of his other books is terrible!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Z. Wixom, MI 06-18-10
    Paul Z. Wixom, MI 06-18-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Not Bad"

    This book is a nice light read, though I have to say from glowing review of American Horticultural Society I was really expecting more. On one hand he states our shared criticism of Thoreau very well, yet in many ways he is writing his own updated version of Walden. There are tidbits of philosophy, history, science and art which make this a fun and encouraging read for a gardener, or someone who wishes to start gardening. On the other hand if you are looking for real philosophy, history, science or art in gardening (or biology/agroscience) you will probably want to pick up another book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Molinaro Rogers City, MI 12-07-14
    Elizabeth Molinaro Rogers City, MI 12-07-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Not a Curmudgeon in Sight!"
    Where does Second Nature rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    "My tales of gardening" books are usually full of curmudgeons and rants; Pollan infuses this books with his humility and joy. I simply love Pollan and his elegant prose, sometimes I had to re-"wind" the book just to re-listen to a particular turn of phrase; because of this, when I found the book at a local second-hand store, I bought the paper version in order to be able to re-read those lines and sections of the tale.


    What about Michael Pollan’s performance did you like?

    Pollan is an excellent writer, and his own voice brings his prose to life in a way other narrator's haven't done.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 03-31-14
    Amazon Customer TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 03-31-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Gardeners will love this book!"

    This is an almost perfect book for gardeners. I say "almost" because of the chapter on roses that gets so hyperbolic and ridiculous in the discussion of the sexuality of roses that I almost stopped listening. It was, however, worth it to continue.

    This is not my first Michael Pollan book. I have read several of his books on the topic of nutrition, and I had good things to say about all of them. But this is, by far, the funniest of the books he has authored. I was, as they say, rolling on the floor laughing at his description of going to war with a woodchuck, his thoughts on weeds and the politics of gardening, and the comparisons and descriptions of various seed catalogues. This book should be made into a stand-up comedy routine.

    Pollan does a great job with the narration, but I had to speed him up a bit. I will probably re-read this book every spring and possibly more often than that when I need a good laugh.

    There are also a great deal of quotations from famous authors on the subject of gardening, and they really added to the depth of the book. That said, this book is not a strictly literary exercise as I learned a great deal about individual plants and various gardening techniques.

    Pollan's quick wit and ability to laugh at himself mixed with his knowledge of literature, poetry, individual plants, and gardening techniques made this book almost perfect. There's that "almost," again. He really should have had more intelligent things to say about roses.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Shannon New Westminster, BC, Canada 11-14-12
    Shannon New Westminster, BC, Canada 11-14-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Fantastic writing and new ideas"

    This book made me think about "nature" and our relationship to it as human beings in a whole new way. Pollan presents a humble yet thoughtful idea based on his experience gardening that made me think about the world differently. It's a remarkable book that should be read by gardeners, eaters, and anyone who wants to think about environmental questions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Brent 01-01-12
    Brent 01-01-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Meh."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    None of my friends, anyway. This is a book more of philosophy than practice. I was looking for someone who had the rich range of experiences in gardening and small farming as I had. I just wasn't very entertained by city boy's philosophical musings.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Oh my god, no.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm sure this is an outstanding book for some people. IT just didn't do much for me.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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