Welcome to the November meeting of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club. Once again we virtually meet to share our thoughts on a book, this time, it’s Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden by Eleanor Perènyi.
Thank you to everyone who posted for the book club!
How best to start our virtual discussion? I recommend if you haven’t read any of the reviews that you start with Annie in Austin’s review, the first one listed, as she provided some excellent background information on who Eleanor is.
Annie at The Transplantable Rose
Then you can dive into the rest of the reviews and thoughts on the book in the order received or found.
Nan from Letters a Hill Farm
Jodi at Bloomingwriter
Carol at May Dreams Gardens
Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening
Kris at Blithewold
Colleen at In the Garden Online
Entangled at Tangled Branches: Cultivated
Don (IBoy) at An Iowa Garden (Not sure he was officially posting for the book club, but he wrote some thoughts based on what Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening wrote, so I included a link).
Old Roses at A Gardening Year
Now, before you head off and say “that was nice, let’s move on to the next selection of the book club”, how about some virtual discussion? I’ll start us off with some questions to think about…
Over the last year, for the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club, several of us have now read books by Henry Mitchell, Charles Dudley Warner and Karel Capek, along with Eleanor Perenyi and some correspondence by Elizabeth Lawrence and Katharine S. White. As a gardener, who did you feel most in sync with and why?
If you could invite only one of these writers to dinner for a nice long discussion on gardening, who would you invite? What would you ask them?
Or is there some better garden essayist that we’ve missed out on? Who would that be?
Is there one particular thought or quote from this book or any one of the books we’ve read in the past that is your favorite that you think of at odd times out in the garden? What is it?
What did you like best about Perenyi’s book? If you could talk to her today (and she is still alive, so it is quite possible) what would you say to her? Is there anything in her book that you would like her to clarify or expand upon?
Any other ideas to invoke discussion?
Answer as many or as few questions as you’d like. Maybe even throw out a controversial answer that will get us all stirred up! Wouldn’t that be fun?!
I would have liked Karel Capek as a dinner companion, or next best, Charles Dudley Warner. They seemed to me the most friendly and approachable of all the authors mentioned – I suppose because of the humor. Anybody that funny should be fun to have dinner with.
Katherine S. White, Eleanor Perenyi, and Henry Mitchell all had careers with magazines or newspapers, and while I admired their writing, I don’t think I would have been comfortable with them in person. In their writing they were all quite judgmental, and I’d be self-consciously wondering whether they were judging me.
I read the Henry Mitchell book, but didn’t write a review. I have to confess that I never liked him much. His column in the Washington Post was very popular when I moved to the DC area, but all those long long lists of cultivars? Zzzzzzz……
Carol Michel says
Entangled, I agree that anytime there is a long list of cultivars, especially for a flower I’m not interested in, it is time to fast forward through that section of the book or article or whatever.
I’d like to have dinner with the one writer you didn’t mention, Elizabeth Lawrence. She knew her plants and studied garden design. Plus, she corresponded not just with Katharine White, but with gardeners from all walks of life. So I think she’d be easy to talk to.
However, thinking about it some more, she didn’t seem to have vegetable gardens, which are a big part of my garden, so maybe Charles Dudley Warner might be a better dinner companion. We could talk about hoeing.
Or maybe both could come to my dinner party!
Carol, May Dreams Gardens
Annie in Austin says
Before I go off to visit the other posts on Green Thoughts, here are some thoughts on your questions.
Somehow this proposition reminds me of one of my favorite TV shows, “Pushing Daisies” … just one supernatural touch and someone comes back for one special dinner. Who would like to have dinner with a blogger?? This is hard!
I admire Elizabeth Lawrence and love her books, but she seems to have been so reserved in person that it might be hard to have a conversation. It could be more fun to write to her.
While you treasure your hoes and your raised crop beds, Carol, you can talk about all sorts of gardening. Karel and Charles are both too stuck on vegetables for me to have a long dinner with either of them, although we could drift into other topics like robots and politics… hey! Wait a minute! According to my name book, Karel, Charles and CAROL are all essentially the same name – they’re all forms of Charles and what’s even better… the meaning of Charles is FARMER. Whoa, this is cosmic.
Katherine S White would probably want a restaurant that’s too fancy for me and she liked a lot of flowers that I don’t care for.
I love the idea of having a conversation with Henry Mitchell, but instead of an intimate conversation we might need a bigger group – wasn’t he happier in a crowded newsroom?
Eleanor Perenyi is a gourmet cook and her conversations would be world-ranging and fascinating and she would not need any magic to be present. She might make me feel like a hayseed, but she’d probably make me laugh, too.
There is, however, another living essayist- not on your list- who is someone I’ve wanted to meet for years and years. I would dearly love to go out to dinner with Allen Lacy, and it would be even better if both Hella Lacy and Philo were there, too. The Lacy’s garden is also a result of a married partnership, and I think we could all have a lot to talk about.
Annie at the Transplantable Rose
Carol Michel says
Annie… what a great answer! I’ll have to look up this Charles – Carol – Farmer connection. Very cosmic indeed. I’ve read some of Lacy’s books, he (and his wife) would be a great choice for dinner!
Carol, May Dreams Gardens