Seeds: Time Capsules of Life (Anglais) Relié – septembre 2009
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I cannot give the book a rave review, however, because of the editing and the layout. I strongly suspect that an editor waded into this mass of information and injected a subhead every few paragraphs--the content/tone of these subheads is usually somewhat helpful (e.g. "Homage to the gymnosperms--at least they look good on paper" and "Creeps and jerks") but at odds with the precise scientific information that follows. Consequently the book is jarring to read (and I would venture to guess that the author of the body text was not always pleased).
The book is also jarring to read because of the design. The type is VERY small (maybe 5 or 6 points?); even with reading glasses, I find myself peering at the words. They are made even harder to read by the design. On one page the tiny words are in white or orange type (!) on a black page, then as you continue and turn the page, there is an abrupt shift to black type on a white page, or a purple page. Distracting at best. Oy vey.
Overall a marvelous achievement, but not very well-served by the production. WITH THE EXCEPTION of the photo quality: the photos are truly sharp and glorious.
Author: Rob Kesseler and Wolfgang Stuppy
Publisher: Earth Aware Editions
In the Bible it states in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that "He hath made every thing beautiful in His time." When one looks at Rob Kesseler and Wolfgang Stuppy's book, Seeds - Time Capsules of Life, one easily sees God's hands in creating beautiful masterpieces even in a tiny plant seed.
With two hundred and sixty-four glossy pages, this ten by ten inch hardbound book has a close up photograph of a funky purple seed that looks more like an African dance costume on the front jacket. The back jacket depicts a bright yellow pointed seed with four reviews. Inside there is a preface by Prince Charles, HRH the Prince of Wales, explaining his love of nature's seeds and the Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Project. There is also a foreword by Professor Sir Peter Crane FRS about the conservation and protection of seeds.
The book is broken down into several chapters that include seed evolution, gymnosperms, flowers, angiosperms, dispersal by wind, water, self and animals, the Millennium Seed Bank, and the duplicated seeds in our visual man-made world. It describes the sex of plants, germination, embryos, their different growth patterns and how they repopulate the earth seasonally and throughout many generations. With over twenty-four thousand species of seeds, the book skims the surface of this forgotten but ever-present and necessary for our own existence topic.
The photographs are more than merely stunning; they are fascinating beyond words. Bright purples, cadmium yellows, or cobalt blues cover page after page, different textures from puzzle pieces to granular, soft or tubal designs and microscopic to actual flower or fruit photographs grace the glossy sheets. Artistically arranged, one gets lost in the details of a bright lime green starwort against a black background with matching green writing or a hot pink wild leek at close range. Most of us have never contemplated the attributes, beauty, details or designs of a kernel, whether at its peak in life or past its prime to see and observe it carefully, intimately.
Even though some of the wording is small and visually contrasting to the black or bright background that makes it hard to read, the attractive colors entice the reader to want to walk outside immediately and view the seed-bearing flora close up and personal, captivating each minute detail missed so often. One easily sees that even in our microscopic world, there has to be a Superior Being Who was amazingly original, artistic and imaginative to create such wonders and beauty in something as simple as a seed.
This book's number one feature is the fantastic photography; seeds as you have never imagined them. It was my privilege to spend nearly two months at Kew Gardens and the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place, studying plant conservation techniques; with an interest in seed biology. This book keenly illustrates the fantastic and varied sizes and shapes of seeds from the largest - Coco de Mer from the Seychelles, to the smallest, though not least, orchids.
If botany makes you queasy, do not fear, the text is easy to read. There are many examples of seeds, plants, and the stories the seed form may reveal. To a plant, its seeds represent survival, and plants have some amazing ways to disperse their progeny. These amazing and diverse photos illustrate the many adaptations plants use to ensure survival. Seeds are little dormant plants in suspended animation waiting a season, a decade, or a millennium.
If you know someone that has an interest in plants this may be a book to inspire. For the authors of the book: Wolfgang Stuppy and Ron Kesseler: they memorialize their inspiration from Heribert Huber and George Busby, respectively. Maybe you can help someone on his or her path.
I highly recommend this book,