Brian's Reviews > Second Nature: A Gardener's Education

Second Nature by Michael Pollan
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's review
May 04, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: audiobooks
Read from May 04 to 08, 2012

This is Michael Pollan doing Michael Pollan things. But if you are considering reading this book the real question is, how passionate are you, really, about gardening?

I enjoyed Omnivore's Dilemma and I was fascinated by In Defense of Food and I outright fell in love with A Place of My Own. In my opinion, Second Nature was not as good as these works, but I would still heartily recommend it if you have any interest at all in gardening and you enjoy the Pollan style.

For the uninitiated Pollan takes a given topic, gardening in this case, and explores it fully in mixture of memoir and historical/cultural discourse. It turns over every stone in search of the grander, broader meanings of his subjects. If you, like Pollan, natuarally "search for large meaning in small things", he may just be the best writer you've never heard of.

Ultimately this book gets three stars from me for one reason only, the subject just did not grab me as expected. He tells a good tale, has great insight into the topic and its cultural significance, but I could just not muster up a matching level of interest in it. It may not be Pollan's fault in the sense of his creation, it may be a defect in my appreciation. Finally though, when pressed I would have to rank it behind the three other works I mentioned above. It's a good book, but you need to love the garden.

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