Anatomy of a Rose: The secret lives of flowers by Sharman Apt Russell, Arrow Books, 2002, ISBN 0 09 942956 X
This was one of those bargain table books that you buy simply because they are so cheap; R31.00 I paid for it – about £2 or $4. It lay around for months, and my first dip into it was not very inspiring. Then I picked it up – and discovered a gem. Sharman Apt Russell is a poet explaining science with the wonder of a child. In the process she constantly refreshes our amazement at the miracles of nature, whilst feeding us with intrigueing scientific information. It is perfect toilet reading, written in thought-chunks, but cleverly structured around themes so as not to become bitty. Every now and then there is a passage of great beauty and truth; in fact it was one of these that made me decide to write this, the first of (I hope) many reviews.
Here it is: “Some 200 ooo years ago, human beings evolved to think creatively outside. Grass and sun and trees were the natural setting for thought. Carefully, we watched the other animals. Today we experience delight when we are allowed to do this again. When we feel intelligent in a meadow, we feel right at home.” (p 154, Ch 14)