"Anatomy of a Rose: The Secret Life of Flowers"
Reading history and reviews
Finished on 7th June 2009My second attempt at reading this book, after failing the first time in 2004. I'd bought a copy for myself and also for Kyle after reading a review in New Scientist magazine, but both of us seemed to run out of steam partway through.
Second time around - courtesy of my on-going project to read all my unread books and a return train trip to Oxford - it was as if I were reading a different book. The chapters are short and although Apt Russell's style can sometimes come across as trying just a little too hard for poetry, I still found it a very engaging and interesting read. Along the way I learned (or perhaps re-learned) some facts - for example, humans and fungi share a common genetic ancestry which means that it's more difficult to find medicine that affects one but not the other - but I also got to consider plants and flowers in a different way. The chapters on "flowers and dinosaurs" and on waves of extinction were particularly memorable.
As a non-scientist I think that Apt Russell tried to look for some magical quality in the science that she presents, which is ultimately what I enjoyed the most, and I'm glad that I gave this book a second chance.