Cindy's Reviews > Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn

Suburban Safari by Hannah Holmes
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's review
May 25, 11

Read from May 17 to 24, 2011

Trivia fans will like this one (Did you know that the "clean" smell that comes with rain is actually the smell of fungi spores just released? Or that earthworms aren't native to Maine?). So I definitely learned a lot. Particularly interesting to me was her presentation of the environmental factors surrounding the lawn, not just hers but everybody's. We've all heard countless times about how we should be doing our small part for the environment, that if everyone helps it will all add up to a big difference. She puts this in a real-life context that is easy to understand. What I didn't like is the structure of her book. She divides it into the four seasons, starting with spring. However, the aspects of the lawn she discusses in each section are very, very loosely tied with the seasons. Instead, it ought to be topically arranged - plants, birds, insects, water, carbon, etc. I also didn't like that the section about the history of the lawn is exactly the same as the corresponding section in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Private Life. Either they were working from the same source at roughly the same time, or somebody copied somebody else. I will add more more thing: everyone who saw me reading this book commented on the cover art. What a cute, funny squirrel. Have to admit it sucked me into the book in the first place. And yet, she writes far more about crows and chipmunks than squirrels. Bit of a dense read, but worth your time if you have any curiosity about how the natural world has found a way to thrive among humans.
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