I love a big hefty reference book, in fact there may never be a novel featured in this segment. Which is not to say that I don't read novels, I borrow a huge amount of them from the library (currently Paul Auster), but I rarely buy them. No Sir, the only books I deem worthy to shell out for need to be the kind I can dip into again and again, with great images too, please!
So this is the latest one for me, actually it has just left my bedside table to be replaced with something gobsmacking - more to come.
I remember when I was a kid, watching my Mum and Grandpa in their gardens, thinking - when will I know about plants the way they do? Is there a school subject coming up that will teach me all these things? How do they know when to water, how to prune, when do I learn all this stuff?
As it turns out I had little interest in plants until I moved out of home, and now here I am, a gardener of sorts.
This book combines history with horticulture, looking at many of the plants which have changed the world, for better or for worse.
' The story of these plants is also the story of human survival and ingenuity - from the invention of agriculture in ancient times, through to today's challenges of feeding the world's growing population and economies while protecting the environment.'
Divided into sections, the list of plants includes flowers, food, dye plants, plants for fibres, medicinal plants, poisonous plants, aphrodisiacs, trees, weeds and psychoactive plants.
As you would expect, the botanical illustrations are rather lovely, this full page aubergine is a real stunner.
Not only does this book tick all the boxes for me in terms of content, but the visual and tactile aspects have been really well done. The title font used throughout grows tendrils on almost every page, the illustrations aren't just presented as colour plates, but they appear in corners and margins, like the whole book is alive. The cover is a treat too, wrapped in printed cloth, very deluxe. Gold star to the design and layout team.
Written by John Newton, I got mine for Mother's Day at Readings! Thanks boys!
Listening to: Air - Les Professionels