©2001 by Michael Pollan; (P)2006 by Audio Evolution, LLC
"[Pollan] has a wide-ranging intellect, an eager grasp of evolutionary biology and a subversive streak that helps him to root out some wonderfully counterintuitive points. His prose both shimmers and snaps, and he has a knack for finding perfect quotes in the oddest places....Best of all, Pollan really loves plants." (The New York Times Book Review)
It is difficult to say I enjoyed this book when I could barely stomach the awful narration by Scott Brick. I think having him narrate this (as well as all the other Michael Pollan books) is a huge disservice to MP fans. I think having my eyes poked out would be preferable to listening to another book by this reader, even if it were my most favourite book ever.
The sing-songy and overly dramatic (in random places that have nothing to do with the storyline) reading completely take away any pleasure to be gained from Michael Pollan's clear, insightful writing. I actually had to abandon the book after the second section because I just couldn't take it any longer. I feel cheated - of my time, of my money, and of what could have been a wonderful listening experience. Audible.com should have a free short listening sample from each book so you can make sure the narrator is not going to ruin it for you before you spend your money on the whole book!
If you can tolerate his nasal, whiny narration, go for it - the material is fantastic, and everything one would expect from Michael Pollan.
I should have read the other reviews before buying this book. The introduction was interesting and I looked forward to the science behind the themes it presented. It was not to be. Way too many musings about the character of Johnny Appleseed for a book I thought would be more about evolution and genetics. Perhaps if I was expecting something different, I would not be as disappointed. I gave up after the Apple chapter.
Interesting and educatonal, but.....
Maybe it is well written, and maybe not - the over-dramatic narration gets in the way and is so distracting that it was hard to tell. Every sentence sounds either like a headline or like a parent trying to entice a reluctant toddler to appreciate something suspect. It was so continuously irritating that I will avoid this reader in the future (so it looks like I'll be looking for print versions of any other Michael Pollan I'm curious about).
Although it's a stretch to say that the themes of "which species is in charge" and "desire" really provided organization or depth for the four separate narratives of this book, they are intriguing ideas and the stories of these plants are worth reading.
I liked the authors mostly unbiased approach to the history if modern agriculture. Although he didn't get everything perfectly right, his persoective of modern agriculture from an outsiders view is illuminating. I am a soybean breeder and I appreciate Pollan's narrative of our story, or the story of where our food comes from. This is important for everyone to know.
Wealth of Information
The description of Johnny Appleseed's activities.
Well researched, very detailed, interesting and unique subject matter.
I would recommend extracts of the book.
The history of the apple and potato.
narrator is fine. the book is too verbose and repeats itself in 3 different way over and over again.
great ideas and thoughts and concepts. wish it was about half as long. It seemed like a thesis paper that was trying too hard with too much flourish.
Michael Pollen is a master at weaving a story that engages the reader to open their mind to to a new persecutive that is often overlooked or ignored. I listened to this book two times in a row because the writing is so rich in detail. The story of the apple, tulip, cannabis, and potato are told through the lens of history, science, agriculture and psychology. I think differently about each one now and have recommend this book to numerous people.
I'm a writer and a yoga teacher with a Masters in English Literature.
Absolutely, and bought it for my brother for his birthday. It has a rare combination of poetry in the writing even though the book is nonfiction and you learn a lot about the history of agriculture and what's actually happening with the apples and potatoes that end up on our plates. It's sort of a political topic, but he manages to make the book incredibly entertaining and gorgeous to listen to. The Omnivore's Dilemma is one of my favourite books, and this one did not disappoint from my high standards of Michael Pollan.
The long list of local names for apples--hilarious, sweet, gorgeous, and evocative.
I think a good narrator is almost one you don't notice--his performance wasn't distracting from the story at all, so I think he really embodied it.
No, but it did re-ignite my desire to eat potatoes, which I'd always thought of as kind of a boring vegetable. I didn't know how nutritious they are, and their political stance as having rescued the Irish from persecution (until monoculture ruined everything of course) gives them street cred.
I think you'd like this book whether you are a fiction or a non-fiction lover. Pollan really knows how to bridge the gap.
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