A fresh, juicy and highly satisfying treat.

THE FRUIT HUNTERS

A STORY OF NATURE, ADVENTURE, COMMERCE, AND OBSESSION

Admitting that he has gone “off the deep end trying to get to the core,” Gourmet and Bon Appetit contributor Gollner offers an informative, enlightening account of fruits and their role in human life.

Fruits are produced by as many as 500,000 plant species, all intent on dispersing their seeds, notes the author. A staple of prehistoric diets, they were regarded as delicacies in 16th-century European courts, provided the only safe drink (fruit booze) in early America and were part of Einstein’s formula for joy: “A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin.” Drawing on interviews and travels from Hawaii to Brazil to Asia, Gollner explores a mind-boggling array of fruits—including Rudolph Hass’s avocadoes, Ah Bing’s cherries and the foreign-weirdo-turned-megafruit kiwi—and the way people use them. He brings us into the worlds of growers, wholesalers, marketers, agricultural officials, smugglers and branders (the “Delicious” apple), as well as fruit hunters who seek out rare fruits worldwide—one monomaniacal and semi-demented adventurer still makes trips down the Amazon in a wheelchair—and fruitarians who report transcendental experiences and regular bowel movements. “Every time we eat a fruit, we’re tasting forgotten histories,” he writes, recounting how fruits have fueled wars, inspired religious worship, led to group sex and caused such public sensations as the frenzy among aristocrats when pineapples first arrived in Britain and the outbreak of pear mania in 19th-century America. Gollner’s narrative tends to ramble, but it’s quite pleasant. He notes that fruits today are taken for granted, always available and mediocre. Supermarkets offer few varieties and sell low-grade fruits (waxed to a high sheen for longer shelf life) year round at little or no profit. But big-store produce sections will improve in the future, he believes, as innovative growers focus on flavor and shoppers pay more attention to seasonality.

A fresh, juicy and highly satisfying treat.

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7432-9694-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2008

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Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science...

A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING

Bryson (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999, etc.), a man who knows how to track down an explanation and make it confess, asks the hard questions of science—e.g., how did things get to be the way they are?—and, when possible, provides answers.

As he once went about making English intelligible, Bryson now attempts the same with the great moments of science, both the ideas themselves and their genesis, to resounding success. Piqued by his own ignorance on these matters, he’s egged on even more so by the people who’ve figured out—or think they’ve figured out—such things as what is in the center of the Earth. So he goes exploring, in the library and in company with scientists at work today, to get a grip on a range of topics from subatomic particles to cosmology. The aim is to deliver reports on these subjects in terms anyone can understand, and for the most part, it works. The most difficult is the nonintuitive material—time as part of space, say, or proteins inventing themselves spontaneously, without direction—and the quantum leaps unusual minds have made: as J.B.S. Haldane once put it, “The universe is not only queerer than we suppose; it is queerer than we can suppose.” Mostly, though, Bryson renders clear the evolution of continental drift, atomic structure, singularity, the extinction of the dinosaur, and a mighty host of other subjects in self-contained chapters that can be taken at a bite, rather than read wholesale. He delivers the human-interest angle on the scientists, and he keeps the reader laughing and willing to forge ahead, even over their heads: the human body, for instance, harboring enough energy “to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point.”

Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective.

Pub Date: May 6, 2003

ISBN: 0-7679-0817-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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