Are you looking for more Lab Girl related reading material?  We’ll be featuring a book list every week in October to celebrate our Big Read!  This week, we’re focusing on women in science in honor of our Kick-off Women in Science Panel on 10/3/20 at 7 p.m.  Click here to register for the event!

For more information about NEA Big Read: Ellsworth, please click here.

Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants by Jane Goodall

The author blends her experience in the natural world with her enthusiasm for botany to examine the role of trees and plants in the environment, citing the work of botanists while outlining her theories about sustainable farming.

The Botany of Desire: a Plant’s Eye view of the World By Michael Pollan

Focusing on the human relationship with plants, the author uses botany to explore four basic human desires–sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control–through portraits of four plants that embody them: the apple, tulip, marijuana, and potato.

Botany for Gardeners: An Introduction and Guide By Brian Capon

A clear, nontechnical explanation of how plants work, and our bestselling book. It succeeds in explaining the complex processes of plant growth, functions, adaptation, responses, and reproduction in simple language. As the author intended, the gardener can come to understand a plant “from the plant’s point of view.”

A Botanist’s Vocabulary: 1300 Terms explained and illustrated by Susan K. Pell

Kate Furbish and the Flora of Maine by Ada Graham

 Flora: Inside the Secret World of Plants by Dorling Kindersley INC.

Explore the intricate inner workings of the plant kingdom–where seeds become shoots, and flowers become fruits–with this spectacular introduction to botany and how plants work. Stunning photography and engaging text combine to explain the intimate secrets of both the familiar and exotic, from roses and lilies to rainforest orchids, mangroves, and cacti. Discover how plants in scorching deserts, on frozen mountain peaks, and along coastal shores adapt to the challenging conditions in which they grow. Learn how roots and leaves provide food and energy, and how plants deploy extraordinary strategies to protect their precious resources from animals and insects–from bristly stems, thorny branches, and sticky resin to chemical messages designed to attract help from other creatures. Chapters on roots, stems and branches, leaves, flowers, and seeds and fruits ensure that every part of the plant is thoroughly explored. Meet plants with leaves that eat meat, flowers that use color and scent to communicate with their pollinators, and trees that withstand hurricanes, as well as seeds and fruits designed to travel phenomenal distances to fertile ground. To complete the picture, there is a detailed catalog of more than 70 significant plant families–from onions and orchids to tree ferns, horsetails, and club mosses–together with a full list of all the families in the plant kingdom.

Wild Plants of Maine: a Useful Guide by Tom Seymour

In this edition of Wild Plants of Maine, Tom Seymour has added several new wild plants, more mushrooms and some exciting new recipes to the bountiful harvest that Tom Seymour leads us to discover in Maine. From insect repellent to table fare to a relaxing wintergreen tea, Seymour identifies the source and describes the method of preparing wild plant concoctions and foods. Any person living in or visiting Maine should have Wild Plants of Maine to ensure the enjoyment of our great Maine outdoors.

Wildflowers of Maine: Botanical Art of Kate Furbish

A selection of the color paintings, of pioneering botanist Kate Furbish. Including some of the more prominent flowers to be found in Maine, plus a few rarities.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

An inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished professor of science and a Native American whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing. As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as “the younger brothers of creation.” As she explores these themes she circles toward a central argument: the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world. Once we begin to listen for the languages of other beings, we can begin to understand the innumerable life-giving gifts the world provides us and learn to offer our thanks, our care, and our own gifts in return.

Darwin’s Backyard: How Small Experiments led to a Big Theory by James T. Costa

James T. Costa takes readers on a journey from Darwin’s childhood through his voyage on the HMS Beagle where his ideas on evolution began. We then follow Darwin to Down House, his bustling home of forty years, where he kept porcupine quills at his desk to dissect barnacles, maintained a flock of sixteen pigeon breeds in the dovecote, and cultivated climbing plants in the study, and to Bournemouth, where on one memorable family vacation he fed carnivorous plants in the soup dishes. Using his garden and greenhouse, the surrounding meadows and woodlands, and even taking over the cellar, study, and hallways of his home-turned-field-station, Darwin tested ideas of his landmark theory of evolution with an astonishing array of hands-on experiments that could be done on the fly, without specialized equipment. He engaged naturalists, friends, neighbors, family servants, and even his children, nieces, nephews, and cousins as assistants in these experiments, which involved everything from chasing bees and tempting fish to eat seeds to serenading earthworms. From the experiments’ results, he plumbed the laws of nature and evidence for the revolutionary arguments of On the Origin of Species and his other watershed works. Beyond Darwin at work, we accompany him against the backdrop of his enduring marriage, chronic illness, grief at the loss of three children, and joy in scientific revelation. This unique glimpse of Darwin’s life introduces us to an enthusiastic correspondent, crowd-sourcer, family man, and, most of all, an incorrigible observer and experimenter.

 Gregor Mendel: The friar who grew peas by Cheryl Bardoe

Presents the life of the geneticist, discussing the poverty of his childhood, his struggle to get an education, his life as a monk, his discovery of the laws of genetics, and the rediscovery of his work thirty-five years after its publication

The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel The father of genetics by Robin Marantz Henig

A study of the groundbreaking work in genetics conducted by Gregor Mendel, acclaimed as the father of modern genetics, argues that the Moravian monk was far ahead of his time.