Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Monday, August 31, 2009

breathing difficulties

This was new venture for me as I’ve never read a gardening book as a narrative. Nor will I be tempted to do so in the future (forgive me for responding so ungraciously to your gift, Emily) even if it was a book about fruit and veg rather than flowers. What I disliked was:
1) it isn’t a narrative but really just a series of magazine articles placed end to end. Maybe they all are and I am expecting the wrong format? Had I come across any of this in a colour supplement I’d have skim read it and this is what I found myself doing here – deadly, it gives the author no chance and means the experience is always a waste of time for the reader.
2) the assumptions she bases her musings on I don’t usually share but paradoxically perhaps, they all seem to be truisms. Early on she says something like gardening is better than psychotherapy, and idea I have also long held, but surely everyone knows that?
3) coming across confirmation of your views can be supportive and validating, but I just found this irritating. Is this because I’m just in the wrong mood for this or because I don’t think of gardening as a philosophical pursuit that really needs validation?
4) I don’t like her style: “What fermentation or elixir of invisible salubrity lurks in the earth…” (p 6) anyone?

Feeling that perhaps I’d be better off in the last chapter, I turned to that. Although there were more musings I agreed with I found it difficult to tune in to those lost souls in the library, looking for advice on how to cope alone. Would you read this book in those circumstances? Would it help? I’ve given up on this because obviously I’m not the person it is aimed at. Now, having just read Emily’s blog, I think she says it all in writing nothing but a list of random ideas – that is all this book is.