|Friday Five: The Fruit Hunters & Other Books|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Friday, 06 April 2012|
Gardeners love to read books about gardening, other people’s gardens, and gardening adventures, and just about anything else related to gardens during the slower winter months. And, while I often recommend books related to the topic I’m writing about, I usually don’t write book reviews. Nonetheless, I do keep a running list of gardening and garden-related books that I think might be of interest to Daily Dirt readers.
1. The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession
From Publisher’s Weekly:
“Journalist Gollner's debut is a rollicking account of the world of fruit and fruit fanatics. He's traveled to many countries in search of exotic fruits, and he describes in sensuous detail some of the hundreds of varieties he's sampled, among them peanut butter fruit, blackberry-jam fruit and coco-de-mer—a suggestively shaped coconut known as the lady fruit that grows only in the Seychelles. Equally intriguing are some of the characters he has encountered—a botanist in Borneo who spends his life studying malodorous durians; fruitarians who believe that a fruit diet promotes transcendental experiences; fruitleggers who bypass import laws; and fruit inventors such as the fabricator of the Grapple—which looks like an apple and tastes like a grape.”
2. Mind-Altering and Poisonous Plants of the World
Written by respected professors of botany and pharmaceutical biology, this book covers 1200 psychoactive and toxic plants and mushrooms used for poison darts, traditional medicine, ceremonial and spiritual purposes, and recreational drugs. Unbeknownst to you dear fellow gardeners, many of these plants are probably grown right in your garden!
3. Planthropology: The Myths, Mysteries, and Miracles of My Garden Favorites
Ken Druse reveals little-known facts about plants such as the beautiful spiraling patterns on sunflower heads that he explains all plants feature have and that they correspond exactly to mathematical principles that have captivated great thinkers (and artists) throughout history. Or, if you enjoy relaxing in the garden at night, plant petunias because they are evening fragrant--their pollinators only come out at night.
4. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
In his latest book, Michael Pollan asks the question, “Where is the food in our food?” He makes the case that these “healthy” alternatives to whole foods--fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains--are not so healthy after all, espousing the belief that we should “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
5. Open Spaces Sacred Places: Stories of How Nature Heals and Unifies
The more than 200 beautiful photographs in this book illustrate nature’s power to heal, depicting spaces as diverse as a meditation garden inside the walls of a prison to a therapeutic healing garden at a rehabilitation hospital. Each space profiled in the book reflects anonymlous journal entries written by the users of these spaces over a 12-year period.