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Second Nature: A Gardener's Educationby Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan may be incapable of uninteresting writing. Discerning and lucid, his works tend to provoke the reader to engage themselves (at least in thought, if not deed) well beyond the final page. Second Nature: A Gardener's Education is Pollan's first book (now nearly two decades old), yet reads like a timeless work by a seasoned writer. While lacking in the overall cohesive force of his later efforts, this book may encourage more reflection and greater perspective. With his characteristic humor, thoughtful exposition, and meandering style, Michael Pollan is always enjoyable to read. His distinctive voice is evident in nearly everything he writes, yet more importantly, he comes across as neither preachy nor self-righteous.
Second Nature, divided into four parts relating to each season, concerns itself with nearly every aspect of the garden. As with his other books, this one is part philosophical tract, part history lesson, and part autobiographical offering. Pollan considers the very nature of what constitutes a garden (or a weed) and expounds upon man's historical and ongoing role as architect of the land. Recognizing that attitudes and preferences have shifted across eras and continents, Pollan considers and muses upon the temporal, ever-evolving relationships that cultures maintain with gardens (as showy ornaments, sources of sustenance, and all points in between). Second Nature is a fascinating, contemplative read, one that will surely appeal to anyone who has ever considered, admired, or cultivated a piece of land.
Synopses & Reviews
In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma, 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 seventy-five 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.
"As delicious a meditation on one man's relationship with the Earth as any you are likely to come upon." The New York Times Book Review
"Superb.... One of the distinguished gardening books of our time." USA Today
"A joy to read... [Pollan] writes with humor, acerbity, magnanimity... and all those good qualities that lead to charm and — one almost dares say it — wisdom." Los Angeles Times
"Usually when Americans have wanted to explore their relationship to nature they've gone to the wilderness, or the woods. Michael Pollan went to the garden instead... and he's returned with a quirky and pleasing book.... The debut of a fresh and provocative voice in American writing." Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
"This isn't so much a how-to on gardening as a how-to on thinking about gardening.... Although serious in import, the writing is never ponderous; Pollard's wit flashes throughout." Publishers Weekly
Chosen by the American Horticultural Society as one of the seventy-five greatest books ever written about gardening,Second Naturehas become a manifesto for rethinking our relationship with nature. With chapter ranging from a reconsideration of the Great American Lawn and a dispatch from one mans war with a woodchuck to reflections on the sexual politics of roses, Pollan captures the rhythms of our everyday engagement with the outdoors in all its glory and exasperation.
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