I know I’m a little (very) late to this party, but The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World is fully mind-blowing. The introduction alone put new, exciting thoughts in my head that I’ve been mulling over ever since and that have made me look at plants in a whole new way (and I already looked at them in a lot of wonder). Michael Pollan is definitely a genius; can’t recommend this enough. If you haven’t read this yet you have no idea how badly you need to know all this stuff about apples, tulips, marijuana and potatoes.
Swamplandia! is a tale of three homeschooled, alligator-wrestling kids growing up on an island in the Everglades. It’s a bit creepy and dark but just enough to be fun and keep it page-turning, it’s also exceedingly well-written and very visual. You feel like you’re there in the swamp with the alligators and birds and thunderstorms, but the best part might be the depiction of the soul-sucking plastic ‘mainland’: you very much never want to find yourself there, until you realize that you already live there. A totally fun swamp-water-drenched bedtime almost-ghost story.
My new second favorite Tom Robbins novel (after Jitterbug Perfume, of course). Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates is a corruptingly naughty and utterly delightful romp from Fisherman’s Wharf to the jungles of South America to an incongruous nunnery in Syria, undertaken by a man in a wheelchair due to a curse put on him by a shaman with a triangle-shaped head. Hilarious and, of course, fantastically well written.
So those links are all affiliate links for Amazon (because figuring out new blogging things and projects!), but I have one more reading recommendation which is to buy these and other books from a completely different book website: AbeBooks. This website has used copies of books even more easily and cheaply than Amazon and it links directly to hundreds of independent booksellers. Just about any paperback is $3.65 with free shipping, which is almost the same as not paying for a book at all.
My new favorite thing to do (and not just because I’m a shut in at the moment) is to keep a list of books I’m interested in or that people have recommended in the notes on my phone, and when I have five or so I’ll order a stack from AbeBooks for about twenty bucks. They don’t arrive quickly but that’s part of the fun: they slowly filter into my house one at a time where I can pile them up or read them as they arrive. It’s like curated used bookstore browsing.