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Second Nature: A Gardener's Education by…

Second Nature: A Gardener's Education (1991)

by Michael Pollan

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979198,791 (3.93)23
  1. 21
    Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver (mao21234)
    mao21234: Organized also by season, full of insights into how to grow things. Both are good for novice gardeners.

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In this book, Pollan attempts to find the happy medium between nature and culture in raising a garden. I identified so much with his struggles right from the start when he expressed his resistance to building a fence to keep a woodchuck out of his garden. Fences just don't seem part of the natural landscape, but really gardens aren't either. I also enjoyed reading his thoughts on the American lawn, and how much time and money people spend on them and why no one puts their vegetable gardens in their front yards. I could go on and on about all the things this book made me think about, but I'm having trouble putting it into words. In this book Pollan writes a lot about the proper role of humans in the natural world. How much we should attempt to control it, when we should let nature run it's course. As Pollan's musings tend to go, there is no simple answer, just a lot of general ideas.

I don't know if I would have enjoyed this book as much if I wasn't attempting to grow my own garden for the first time as well, and I'll admit that part of the reason I liked it was probably because I agreed with most of Pollan's ideas and I got to feel a little self-righteous along with Pollan about my theories of nature. Otherwise, I think the tone may have been a little annoying.

I thought the book was well written, but sometimes a little too flowery for my tastes. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
I have liked the authors other books but this one was just too boring for me. If you like gardening, lawns, weeds, fertilizer, mulch, mowing, etcetera, maybe this is the book for you. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
After re-reading this book, my rating has gone up. I suspect if I became an active gardner I woul ver much like what the author has to say about gardens. As it stands, I enjoyed reading Michael Pollan's ruminations on what is more controvesial than I had first imagined; gardening. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
I loved Botany of Desire but trudged through Second Nature. Not finding Pollan's personal gardening history & musings there upon particularly interesting. I did appreciate his notion, however, of Lawn as Television. Perhaps also didn't relate because he's talking about gardening a property in New England, which has little in common with gardening in Northern California. Major theme: intersection of nature and culture. ( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Although I am not a gardener--I joke that I have a black thumb, I do understand the attraction and love to walk through communal gardens and so forth. In this early book, Michael Pollan, known now for his two bestsellers on food (one reviewed by me), writes about gardening, the idea of gardens and the false dichotomy we make between nature and culture. A wise, thoughtful book that seems to me to reflect the attitude we need to deal with our environmental problems, from invasive species to global climate change. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
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This book is the story of my education in the garden.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802140114, Paperback)

In his articles and in best-selling books such as The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan has established himself as one of our most important and beloved writers on modern man’s place in the natural world. A new literary classic, Second Nature has become a manifesto not just for gardeners but for environmentalists everywhere. “As delicious a meditation on one man’s relationships with the Earth as any you are likely to come upon” (The New York Times Book Review), Second Nature captures the rhythms of our everyday engagement with the outdoors in all its glory and exasperation. With chapters ranging from a reconsideration of the Great American Lawn, a dispatch from one man’s war with a woodchuck, to an essay about the sexual politics of roses, Pollan has created a passionate and eloquent argument for reconceiving our relationship with nature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:53 -0400)

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One day, Harper's Magazine editor Michael Pollan bought an old Connecticut dairy farm. He planted a garden and attempted to follow Thoreau's example: do not impose your will upon the wilderness, the woodchucks, or the weeds. That ethic, of course, did not work. But neither did pesticides or firebombing the woodchuck burrow. So Pollan began to think about the troubled borders between nature and contemporary life. The result is a funny, profound, and beautifully written book which has become a classic of American nature writing. It inspires thoughts on the war of the roses; sex and class conflict in the garden; virtuous composting; the American lawn; seed catalogs, and the politics of planting a tree. A blend of meditation, autobiography, and social history, Second Nature is ultimately a modern Walden.--From publisher description.… (more)

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