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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could be better...., 13 Mar. 2013
This review is from: The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks (Hardcover)
This is truly a book with a difference. Looking at various popular drinks and the numerous herbs, flowers, trees, fruits and fungi that are used to make them. A liquid botanical garden. What is more there are dozens of recipes to make yourself!

But... you will not find this book an easy read. It is a lot more than just a collection of recipes. It is a distillation, if you pardon the alcoholic pun, of a tremendous amount of reference material into a reasonably easy-to-read (if you concentrate) format with the recipes acting as a contrast. At times it feels like an information overload and you might need a drink or two to relax after reading it. Maybe that is the idea? Self-produced medication.

The book's design attempts to be friendly and "different" but unfortunately it still feels a little disjointed, psychedelic and unfocused - as if someone has just discovered a desktop publishing program on their computer and they are trying out all the features. It just didn't work, for this reviewer at least, and it seemed to get in the way of the excellent content. An unnecessary distraction. An attempt to be twee and cute and failing. If you can isolate yourself away from the design, perhaps with the aid of a snorter or two, then there is no doubting the quality and depth of the underlying information. It translates into a fascinating, thought provoking read. A lot of "light bulb" moments might occur whilst reading the book when seemingly obvious things are highlighted about everyday botanical elements.

A book of this kind needs a great index. Unfortunately this review copy did not have an index to evaluate, so that might be something you should check out prior to purchase. Certainly, for this reviewer, thanks to his dislike of the design and its perceived user-unfriendliness, a great index would be a possible deal breaker. At least with a good index you can dip in and out and perhaps find your way around the book with less trauma.

In conclusion? A potentially great book let down by a somewhat strange design choice. The attempts to "jazz it up" managed to take away the reader's focus from a great concept and engaging content. A shame to see a possibly five YUM (star) book fall on such a basic thing.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Apr 2013 08:55:36 BDT
I agree an Index would be useful. So, clearly, did the publishers, because the Timber Press version does indeed have one - almost 20 pages of it. I agree too about the design - the designer's name (I guess she did the original Algonquin Press edition, which was taken over by Timber?) was Tracy Sunrize (sic) Johnson, which somehow says it all!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2013 08:58:23 BDT
Thank you for your kind feedback and information!
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