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Little Canada Book Club - "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan

For our January meeting we will be discussing the book The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan.

From The New Yorker:

Apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes. This sounds, perhaps, like a Dutch shopping list, but it's really a quick index to the subjects of Pollan's new book. One day, while working in his garden, the author began to wonder how his role as a sower of seeds differed from that of the bumblebee that was pollinating a nearby apple tree; his musings inspired these tales of botanical transformation. Pollan explores the ways in which four common crops have enjoyed and suffered the very best and worst of human intentions: how apples spread westward with American settlers, how the stock of tulips has soared and crashed, how the potency of marijuana has been exalted even as the plants have been miniaturized, and how potatoes have been turned into a cog in the genetic-industrial complex. The result is a wry, informed pastoral. Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

Our book for February is Guilty Robots, Happy Dogs by David McFarland.

We will also be choosing a few books for future meetings, so please bring any suggestions you have, or post them in the comments.


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  • DaveB

    In a documentary entitled "Vanishing Bees"
    I encountered Michael Pollan again.
    He shows-up multiple times, identified as the
    author of "In Defense of Food". The DVD
    documentary (I checked-out of the library) is
    about Colony Collapse Disorder of bee hives.
    I recommend watching it.

    January 18, 2014

  • DaveB

    Coincidentally, I have been watching a 5-volume BBC documentary series,
    The History of Britain by Michael Schama based on the (~500p-each)
    3-volume tome of the same title. In Volume V (of the DVD set) there is
    a distinctly different take on the Irish potato famine (and, relatedly the famine in the British Raj of India).

    This 'different take' is in the second episode (on the Volume V DVD) entitled "Empire of Good Intentions".
    The third-and-last episode is entitled "The Two Winstons".
    Bonus points if you can *guess* (use of search-engine grounds for disqualification ;-)
    who the 'other' Winston (meaning not Churchill) is.

    January 15, 2014

  • Becky

    I really enjoyed the discussion today, thanks for making me feel welcome.

    1 · January 12, 2014

    • Patricia M.

      I'm glad you enjoyed it and I hope you'll join us again!

      January 13, 2014

  • DaveB

    . . . correction, it was Aldous Huxley:
    <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldous_Huxley>;
    "According to a letter written by his wife Laura, Huxley requested and received two intramuscular injections of 100 micrograms of LSD as he lay dying."

    January 13, 2014

  • Jack C.

    Enthusiastic discussion touching on most aspects of the book. I always enjoy these.

    1 · January 13, 2014

  • Dave P.

    I will not be able to make on Sunday Here are some suggestions: "God and the Folly of Faith" by Victor J. Stenger and Dan Barker; "Creation: How Science Is Reinventing Itself" by Adam Rutherford; "Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife" by Mary Roach; "The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain" by Ken Nelson, M.D.

    January 11, 2014

    • Suellen C.

      I thought Nancy covered that in advance, but I will buy one today.

      January 12, 2014

    • Patricia M.

      Suellen, I have in my notes that she covered last month, but I'll check when I get there to be sure.

      January 12, 2014

  • Patricia M.

    I forgot to ask if someone is willing to buying the gift card this month. If anyone is interested, let me know. Thanks!

    January 12, 2014

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