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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 (306 )
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4.1 (194 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Marie Forest Hills, NY, United States 03-21-10
    Marie Forest Hills, NY, United States 03-21-10 Member Since 2015
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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.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
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    Shellbin 09-28-10
    Shellbin 09-28-10 Member Since 2014
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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!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 02-05-12
    Mary 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.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    twirling dancer Seattle, Washington 03-20-15
    twirling dancer Seattle, Washington 03-20-15 Member Since 2013
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    "The garden will always be a work in progress..."
    What did you love best about Second Nature?

    I'm impressed by Pollan's ability to combine history, folklore, sound gardening advice, shopping tips, environmental issues, politics, and his own experience, into one coherent and interesting story. I'm thinking about my own property differently, considering old roses over hybrids, and heirloom seed catalogues after reading this book.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Second Nature?

    The cathedral pines section of the book was devastating... I was holding on, waiting for the humans to get it right in a happy ending. I also enjoyed the parts about Pollan's grandpa and father, and how they managed their gardens, lawns, and neighbors.


    What does Michael Pollan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I really like his narration style and I wish more non-fiction authors would narrate their own books. The emphasis he puts on the sentence structure is just right for what he wrote.

    Many nonfiction books available here on audible.com are read in a boring monotone voice. It's so unnatural and personally I find it unpleasant. That is not the case here. Listening to him narrate his own book has been so great in fact that I'm now listening to his newer book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.


    Any additional comments?

    It was neat to hear the history of lawns, gardens, and yards, in America. Pollan's background in journalism is obvious as he keeps this topic interesting and easy to follow. I have bees, chickens, and a small garden, and loved listening this book. If you enjoy playing in the dirt; check this book out.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    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.

    2 of 2 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.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
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    Brent 01-01-12
    Brent 01-01-12 Member Since 2013
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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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
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    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
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    Troy 03-07-15
    Troy 03-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Starts off a bit slow, but the later chapters pull"

    Starts off a bit slow, but the later chapters pull you out of the past and down a wonderfully existential path exploring the mutualisms of man and nature. Loved it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    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
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