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.
“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)
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
I have really enjoyed Pollan's other books and gave this a try. There are lots of good sections, but the book as a whole whole was not as good as I would have liked. I do not know if it has not aged well or if living in Southern California is so different than the world he describes. Fortunately, I grew up in the Midwest so some of his world made sense to me. Between the plant names and the prose, there were lots of new words and it would have been good to have the text and a thesaurus. I felt like he worked really hard to add the philosophy because it was the driver of the plot, but it did not all hold up. It is not bad and it is an OK listen, but I would not put it with his other works.
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.
Nature, animals, sociobiology, science, spirituality art, travel, healthy cooking are my main interests. I love a great novel but don't enjoy works where there is no real point just one description of people after another. I wont read Steven King anymore because of one scene in his book that put an experience in my head I didn't need to have.
micheal has a good reading voice and since listening is my favorite reading method it works for me
only his other books
yes this book is well worth the read for the new perspective it gave me on weeds
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.
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