If you’re interested in a summer read and are a nature lover, I’ve just stumbled across an interesting-sounding book. Entitled Around the World in 80 Trees by Jonathan Drori, the author uses plant science to explain how trees affect our everyday lives. You can guess some of the contents — California redwoods certainly deserve a mention. But the stories get a lot stranger. Socotra, Yemen, is the home of the dragon’s blood tree, a source of resin Stradivarius violins. The sève bleue of New Caledonia produces a blue sap infused with nickel, plentiful on the island, that acts as an insecticide; the metal can be as much as a quarter of the tree’s dry weight.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Lucille Clerc, a major advantage when your story includes self-mummifying monks, tree-climbing goats and radioactive nuts.
And don’t forget maple syrup!