Thursday, October 16, 2008
"Seed to Seed" (The Secret Life of Plants), Nicholas Harberd.
Such a sumptuously produced book, hard-back, set in Perpetua, it was impossible to resist.
(Perpetua, Eric Gill 1928. First used in the book The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity; therefore the roman was named Perpetua, and the italic was named Felicity. The font is also called Lapidary 333. "The type, based on Gill's inscriptional lettering, is intended to have a chiseled quality).
It was clear wrapped when I found it at Saeed Book Bank, in Islamabad early in October 2008. The front cover is in an off white and shows a succession of botanical line drawings, illustrating the life cycle of the Thale-Cress, which turns out to be the main protagonist of the book. The book is a fairly boring mix of diary and science. Obscure science at that. The science of gene interactions in plants, notably within the Thale-cress. However I suspect that it will be useful in the long run. I will definitely trawl the gene nomenclature for possible work titles at some point. I found it odd that despite a fair amount of personal trivia the author's wife didn't feature at all, though his children prominently did so. Perhaps she refused to share the pages with her husband's weed obsession. I feel I was misled by the exciting excerpt on the back cover, where the plant was almost devoured by a rampaging slug. It certainly awakened in me the dread of attempting to work autobiographically.