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Botany of Desire


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Each year, students, faculty, staff, and administrators select and read a common book as part of Chaffey's One Book/One College program. Many instructors incorporate the College Book into their courses, and the One Book/One College committee holds a series of free events to encourage college-wide conversation, creativity, and community. Past events have included film screenings, food tastings, visiting speakers, faculty lectures, family programming, marathon book readings, essay contests, dialogues, live performances, blogs, art exhibitions, forays into the local community, and much, much more.

Programming is supported by employee contributions as well as by the Vice President of Instruction & Student Services, the School of Language Arts, and the Chaffey Bookstore. Collaborations with on- and off-campus partners are created with groups such as Professional Development, Ethics Across the Curriculum, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, student clubs, local bookstores and other organizations and businesses.


The Botany of Desire2011-12 College Book - The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. So who is really domesticating whom?

“Pollan shines a light on our own nature as well as on our implication in the natural world.”
—The New York Times

“[Pollan] has a wide-ranging intellect, an eager grasp of evolutionary biology and a subversive streak that helps him to root out some wonderfully counterintuitive points. His prose both shimmers and snaps, and he has a knack for finding perfect quotes in the oddest places.... Best of all, Pollan really loves plants.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“A wry, informed pastoral.”
—The New Yorker

“We can give no higher praise to the work of this superb science writer/ reporter than to say that his new book is as exciting as any you’ll read.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“A whimsical, literary romp through man’s perpetually frustrating and always unpredictable relationship with nature.”
—Los Angeles Times

Michael Pollan is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine as well as a contributing editor at Harper’s magazine. He is the author of two prizewinning books: Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education and A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder. Pollan lives in Connecticut with his wife and son.

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