Rossdavidh's Reviews > Around the World in 80 Trees

Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori
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really liked it
bookshelves: green

I think I'm going to re-read this book more or less immediately.

This is one of those books best read as a nightstand book, a little bit before you fall asleep each night. Each of the 80 trees that it tells you about, gets 2-4 pages, about half of which are Lucille Clerc's wonderful illustrations. The tactile feel of the book is gratifying; it's got a heft to it, and the paper is very high quality. It feels good to hold it in your hands. It is a calming and meditative experience to read about one specific kind of tree each night, and then close the book, put it back on the nightstand, turn out the light, and close my eyes and think about what I have just read.

Like the Argan from Morocco, whose fruit are eaten by goats, who climb into the trees to get them. There is a tangled and not entirely salubrious web of interconnections between human, goat, and argan fruit, which results in a lot of goats, and a lot of argan seed oil, some of it from seeds that have passed through a goat before getting to humans. Clerc's picture of a dozen goats perched in an argan tree is delightful.

Many of the trees' stories, of course, involve the inevitable "and then humans massively over-exploited them and now they are endangered", although not always. Even when they do, Drori seems more interested in piquing our interest than in trying to depress us. Hopefully, all of these trees (some of which, like the baobab, live for thousands of years) will still be around for later generations. A few, like the Elm, are even starting to make a bit of a comeback.

Drori picks trees from every continent, so in addition to reading about a wide variety of ecosystems, we encounter a wide variety of cultures. People do a lot of things with trees, in addition to the obvious things like eat their fruit, or turn them into lumber (or paper for books). They harvest just the bark for cork. They harvest the sap for lacquer, or maple syrup. They are harvested indirectly in cases like the white mulberry, whose leaves feed silk-moth caterpillars. They are also the subject of numerous tales, myths, and legends.

They are also fascinating to look at. Or read about. Or lie in the dark and ponder on the way to sleep.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 18, 2019 – Shelved
March 18, 2019 – Shelved as: green

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