©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)
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.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
A fascinating history of four human-cultivated plants -- the apple, the potato, the tulip, and the marijuana plant -- which have been bred over the centuries into forms very different from their natural ancestors. Pollan delves into the complex biological history of each plant and the equally complex social history surrounding it, and his own experiences with them, through the interesting question: do we use plants or do plants use us? Pollan is a good journalist and succeeds in making a topic outside my usual interests engaging.
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.
Audiobooks Make Weed Wacking a Pleasure
This is the most pleasurable audiobook I've heard on Audible. I didn't have any expectations, and I just loved this book. The author meanders through the topics of four plants, and his stories and insights are very interesting. The author's prose is beautiful and the narration is top-notch. I'll probably listen to this audiobook again.
Freshly graduated from college and working hard to figure out what my next step will be. Books and stories are my escape from the world.
This book seems to start slow but when you give it some time and get in to the meat and potatoes of what Pollan has to offer its truly amazing! Well researched and well read... so glad I took a chance on this one! I will definitely be looking in to Pollan's other works!
A friend recommended this book and my first thought was, "it doesn't sound like what I like." I couldn't have been happier to have been wrong. And while I thought I would find the story of cannibus most interesting, I was wrong again. Amazingly, it was the lowly potato and apple that I liked most. Who would have thought that the plants would have such interesting stories? Well, now I can say that I know. Thank you Mr. Pollan and Mr. Brick.
Just awful. The author goes off point, repeats himself, and never proves his original hypothesis. Complete waste of time.
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