Reviews

A Garden of Marvels

“VERDICT Kassinger’s witty approach to a complex subject will win readers, but her really neat idea is to fit a personal quest for greater botanical knowledge within the larger historical development of the science.”–– Starred Review, Library Journal

[A]n informal, entertaining account of how early researchers discovered how plants work and what scientists are still learning about plants today. The author combines her lively botanical history with personal anecdotes about her own plant adventures and misadventures…..A delightful book, fun to read and share—green thumb not required.”––Starred Review, Kirkus Review

“Kassinger (Paradise Under Glass) plays a chatty and knowledgeable tour guide on a pleasant ramble through the world of plants, taking time not only to stop and smell the flowers, but to investigate their histories….Kassinger is at her most delightful, exploring giant pumpkins, polyploid black petunias, photosynthesizing slugs, multi-graft cocktail citrus trees, nickel-mining flowers, and giant grasses…Kassinger weaves a huge amount of information into what still feels like a personal memoir, and by the end of this effortless afternoon stroll with her, readers will be startled to realize how much they have learned.”–— Starred Review, Publishers Weekly.

“An intrepid journalist and indefatigable plants woman, Kassinger ferrets out the most entertaining and educational aspects of plant science with a researcher’s fervor and a collector’s zeal. From instructions on how to grow a giant pumpkin and then convert it into a regatta-worthy sailing vessel (along with discovering why someone would even want to), Kassinger has a knack for uncovering horticulture’s quirky side.”–– Booklist

“Forget ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ There are parts of Kassinger’s informative and entertaining tome on plants that would make Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele blush.”––The New York Post

“[Kassinger] digs up fascinating stories….Garden is a lively alternative to traditional botany textbooks reveling in scientific exploration of the plant kingdom.”––Discover Magazine

“Ruth Kassinger makes the study of plants a fascinating enterprise….Kassinger has a knack for explaining without oversimplifying, so that xylem and phloem finally makes sense, and the discovery of photosynthesis becomes an exciting event.”––Columbus Dispatch

“This is an entertaining, sophisticated primer on botany itself, its history…its science (roots, stems, leaves, flowers), and much else….She has produced a lovely volume.––Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Kassinger’s greatest strength is unquestionably her quirky, conversational tone; even the most science-averse reader will be hooked….That she makes botany so approachable is a feat; that she makes it downright enthralling is almost as miraculous as an adorable photosynthesizing sea slug.”––Shelf Awareness blog

Paradise Under Glass

“My favorite gardening book of the year… This book sneaks up on you. It gradually builds in technical complexity as well as emotional depth, so that by the time you finish it, you’re surprised by how much you’ve learned. Readers will find this book is an antidote for the blues of a midwinter’s day or midlife malaise. But be warned… you might feel a need to start acquiring houseplants, or even a greenhouse.”
The Boston Globe

“The book [PARADISE UNDER GLASS] vividly chronicles her [Kassinger’s] initiation into the world of indoor gardening as well as the fascinating and unlikely histories of greenhouses and the flamboyant gardens they have housed…The characters Kassinger encounters, literarily and in the flesh, are as quirky as their plants.…Kassinger’s lush writing and exotic stories will delight the armchair gardener and historian. ”
Publishers Weekly

“A sumptuously written history of greenhouse horticulture.”– Entertainment Weekly

“Ms. Kassinger’s writing is chatty and intimate, but she has clearly done her library research.”— New York Times Book Review