Monday, September 14, 2009

420 Part 1

“Mind-Altering and Poisonous Plants of the World: A Scientifically Accurate Guide to 1200 Toxic and Intoxicating Plants”
By Michael Wink and Ben-Erik Van Wyk
Timber Press
ISBN No. 978-0-88192-952-2

How’s this for a provocative book title? Given the alarming “recent studies say…” news pieces on the latest deadly variety of plant/plastic/paint a book with a title like this (and an equally potent subtitle) is required reading for even the most militant anti-herbivore.
Of course the core audience for this kind of book is the pothead. To them the “scientifically accurate” claim in the subtitle sounds like nothing short than the “satisfaction guaranteed” that they get from the local headshop. Even better, the authors’ names have the giddy sound of a pleasant hallucinatory ep.
OF course it would be a 420 to reveal much of what’s inside the book. I think people should go see it at their local bookstore. Their local PUBLIC bookstore. It’s there that they’ll get a little thrill doing something forbidden. Because not since Madonna’s “Sex” in the mid-1990s has reading seemed so…so…naughty. “Mind-Altering and Poisonous Plants of the World” will singlehandedly restore your faith in the power of publishing to shock and inform.
What I will reveal is that the book is in hardcover (making it an ideal bookshelf reference source) and is so well-written you could really read it when you’re high (okay, maybe not the pages of chemistry table schematics…). Even better, the book is full of glossy pictures of the plant culprits. Everyone from the usual suspects (marijuana) and some unlikely ones (Spanish Turpeth Root) are here – in mug shots straight out of some marvellous hypnotic daydream.