Posted: 03/11/2014 at 09:52
I find it hard to understand what Mike means. On the surface it would appear that he thinks academic papers occupy some higher more elevated plane and that if one is interested in them then that's all one is interested in; for me they're a different thing all together. It's like comparing chalk and cheese.
I can quite see that a gardener of Mike's experience would find the How To Garden type of book a bit simplistic, and even I find some of the 'let me tell you about my garden' type books published by celebrities a bit repetitive, but there are many well-written books by well-respected gardeners which make enjoyable and informative reading for gardeners of all abilities and experience. Any book written by Christopher Lloyd of Gt Dixter is well worth reading, but especially his Well Tempered Garden which I've borrowed from the library on several occasions. I've also enjoyed reading Anna Pavord's writings, whether they're newspaper articles, gardening books or novels.
On my list of books to request from the library is A Gentle Plea for Chaos by Mirabel Osler, covering as it does gardening alchemy and philosophy along with 19th century plant collecting and illustration. From what I've understood of Mike's interests I think he'd find it an enjoyable and interesting read.
To me it's strange to think that being involved in academic study somehow removes us from enjoying reading for pleasure - I have academic qualifications and enjoy reading about the latest practices and thinking in my subject - but I also read other books about my other interests, gardening being one of them - having time to do so is one of the wonderful things about retirement, especially in the winter when it's not so pleasant out in the garden. A comfy sofa, a fireside (albeit electric) a mug of coffee and a good book .... bliss