Notes From the Science & Nature Section: Plantastic New Titles

Notes From the Science & Nature Section

Plantastic New Titles

By Kelly Barth


Hi from the Science and Nature section, the dusty little corner just to the right as you’re coming in the store, the direction, say retail analysts, that most of us feel drawn to turn. So do it. Visit it. It’s festooned with a little greenery and borders its cousin, Occult.

For this issue of the digest, I’d like to focus on plants since there are a host of new books well worth the plants they’re printed on.

In Planta Sapiens, botanist Paco Calvo asks us to reconsider our relationship with the plant world. Instead of seeing plants as unfeeling matter to be consumed and enslaved, he asks us to consider them as sentient beings worthy of our respect and consideration. Calvo asks a couple of key questions for readers to consider: Must something have a brain to feel pain and to live with intention? What is intelligence? Drawing on the most recent experiments and the support of pioneering botanists like himself, Calvo gives readers every reason to give our relationships with the plant world a much deeper look.

A native of Bulgaria, Kapla Kassabova returns to her mother country in search of Elixir, a reunification of the cultural knowledge people in the ancient river valley in the Balkans of her homeland once knew in their hearts and bones. This collection of essays about traditional medicinals, edibles, and so much more stunned me. Its visceral language is simultaneously shocking and healing.

Written in the spirit of Wendell Berry, Scott Chaskey’s book, Soil and Spirit: Cultivation and Kinship in the Web of Life, offers excellent essays about farming sustainably in both the British Isles and the American Northeast. Chaskey has the dirty hands and strong back of a farmer and the heart of a poet. His curiosity about all he encounters in his days–from the microbiome of the soil to the beech tree that shades him on a hot afternoon will leave readers equally calm and reconnected to their food and the world around them.

In his latest book, The Power of Trees: How Ancient Forests Can Save Us If We Let Them, Peter Wohlleben writes a series of essays telling us how the forests already in existence are the answer to making a warming planet habitable for them and also for us. Their understanding of what they need from each other, the soil, and the air, far surpasses our own, a fact we ignore at our own peril.

Yearning for an adventure story featuring women for a change, two smart, fearless women, then Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon is the book for you. Rafting the Colorado isn’t for sissies, but botanists Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter had an important job to do: cataloging the plants of the Grand Canyon, which hadn’t yet been attempted. Science journalist Melissa Sevigny combed through the two women’s diaries and letters to write this riveting narrative.

Plant neurobiologist (didn’t know there was such a creature) Stefano Mancuso will blow your mind with the essays in Planting Our World. Plants, he maintains, are the nervous system of the planet. His vivid writing and the stunning illustrations that accompany them are a treat for the mind and the eyes.

 

 

 


 

Staff Pick Badge
Planta Sapiens: The New Science of Plant Intelligence By Paco Calvo, Natalie Lawrence (With) Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780393881080
Availability: This book is in stock at our warehouse and will be at the Raven within 3-5 Business Days, once they've shipped it to us.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 14th, 2023

An astonishing window into the inner world of plants, and the cutting-edge science in plant intelligence.


Elixir: In the Valley at the End of Time By Kapka Kassabova Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781644452332
Availability: This book is in stock at our warehouse and will be at the Raven within 3-5 Business Days, once they've shipped it to us.
Published: Graywolf Press - May 16th, 2023

A search for a cure to what ails us in the Anthropocene by the award-winning author of Border


Soil and Spirit: Cultivation and Kinship in the Web of Life By Scott Chaskey Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781571311979
Availability: This book is in stock at our warehouse and will be at the Raven within 3-5 Business Days, once they've shipped it to us.
Published: Milkweed Editions - May 9th, 2023

As a farmer with decades spent working in fields, Scott Chaskey has been shaped by daily attention to the earth.


The Power of Trees: How Ancient Forests Can Save Us If We Let Them By Peter Wohlleben, Jane Billinghurst (Editor), Jane Billinghurst (Translator) Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9781771647748
Availability: This book is in stock at our warehouse and will be at the Raven within 3-5 Business Days, once they've shipped it to us.
Published: Greystone Books - May 2nd, 2023

"Another love letter from Wohlleben to the green world... makes the case for how we should allow forests throughout the world to regrow and in the process help heal not only the climate but us, as well."-Lydia Millet, Oprah Daily


Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon By Melissa L. Sevigny Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780393868234
Availability: This book is in stock at our warehouse and will be at the Raven within 3-5 Business Days, once they've shipped it to us.
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 23rd, 2023

The riveting tale of two pioneering botanists and their historic boat trip down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon.


Planting Our World By Stefano Mancuso, Gregory Conti (Translated by) Cover Image
By Stefano Mancuso, Gregory Conti (Translated by)
$25.99
ISBN: 9781635422566
Availability: This book is in stock at our warehouse and will be at the Raven within 3-5 Business Days, once they've shipped it to us.
Published: Other Press - April 18th, 2023

With fun, fascinating vignettes, a renowned neurobiologist illuminates the interconnectedness of plant life and how we can learn from it to better plan our communities.