Celebration of the Book Focuses on 'Botany of Desire'

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Initiated by the Honors Program, Fairmont State's annual Celebration of the Book invites members of the local community, as well as FS students, faculty and staff to read and discuss a book during the spring semester.

This year, the Celebration will focus on "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan. In his book, Pollan argues that plants have evolved to satisfy human beings' desire for intoxication, control, sweetness and beauty. He studies marijuana, the potato, the apple and the tulip to demonstrate that plants and human beings have a reciprocal relationship that benefits both species.

There will be four discussions of Pollan's book. Each of these will be in Room 303 of the Education Building and will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The first discussion on Monday, Feb. 21, will focus on Pollan's third chapter, "Desire: Intoxication." Participants will be invited to sample coffees and chocolates, two of the most common addictive substances in human culture.

The second discussion on Monday, March 7, will examine Pollan's fourth chapter, which takes up the potato. The evening will include a potato potluck.

On Monday, March 28, the discussion of Pollan's first chapter about apples will feature an apple tasting.

The final session on Wednesday, April 13, will turn to Pollan's discussion of the tulip.

Pollan, who writes for The New York Times Magazine, is also the author of "Second Nature" and "A Place of My Own." He teaches writing in the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Celebration of the Book acknowledges the book as the core of Western culture. Through its shared reading of one book, the Celebration seeks to deepen the intellectual lives of people in the community and to draw them together in order to enrich and strengthen individual lives. In this, the Celebration aims to renew and bolster the bonds that unite the local community and make our lives human and also to promote on-going discussion and learning as the basis of good citizenship.

The public is invited to attend each of the four discussions. Copies of the book are available at the campus bookstore and online at www.amazon.com.

For more information, e-mail Donald E. Trisel, Associate Professor of Biology, at dtrisel@fairmontstate.edu or J. Robert Baker, Director of the Honors Program, at jbaker@fairmontstate.edu.