Last night I had the very good fortune to once again listen to author Andrea Wulf speak at the Lauritzen Gardens. It was their annual Loveland Garden Club Lecture and they brought Andrea back to talk about her book The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession. She is an excellent speaker and if you have an opportunity to ever hear her, you must go even if you think you don't have an interest in gardens or botany. I heard her speak two years ago, almost to the very day about her book Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation, which I read and wrote about here.
She is actually currently on a book tour promoting her new book The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World (which I came home and ordered directly after hearing her enthusiastic plug for learning about this now-forgotten but then very important man). She makes learning about 18th-century naturalists (which is what her book Brother Gardeners is about) so very accessible and most importantly really exciting. Her lecture was funny and interesting and she is so engaging and knowledgeable about something she so obviously loves.
I was trying to decide on a new nonfiction read, and needless to say after hearing about this book, guess what I am now reading? I've just read the introduction, but I think it is going to be as fascinating as the last one I read. I'm sure I'll be telling you more about it as I get further into the book.
There is also an exhibit going on in the gardens right now, which I was lucky to see at night with the glass sculptures illuminated. My photo does not do them justice, as they are truly amazing! It is such a beautiful and amazing place and should you ever find yourself in Omaha, you absolutely must visit!
A little more culture for the weekend as I will get to go see the last opera of the season, Handel's Semele. The opera is based on a Greek Myth and Handel's version comes from Ovid's Metamorphoses. I've pulled my Ovid out (as yet have not read him, but someday will read it in its entirety) and will read the Semele section this weekend. It is only a few pages long, but I will try and do my homework and read up a little before the opera. I've already listened to some of the music, which I think I am going to like very much. There will be a pre-performance talk by the conductor just before the opera begins, which should be helpful. I've watched some of the promotional videos and heard that the set designs and the costumes and particularly the choreography are all quite different than traditional opera, so I am looking forward to the experience.
And there will be my usual reading. I hope to finish my Italian crime novel and perhaps Pat Barker's novel (I have follow-ups for both books already on hand and waiting), and then of course another Elizabeth Taylor short story. I'll be back next week to tell you all about everything.
Happy weekend reading everyone!