Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree takes you on a journey to connect with trees through the sense most aligned to our emotions and memories. Thirteen essays are included that explore the evocative scents of trees, from the smell of a book just printed as you first open its pages, to the calming scent of Linden blossom, to the ingredients of a particularly good gin & tonic:
In your hand: a highball glass, beaded with cool moisture.
In your nose: the aromatic embodiment of globalized trade. The spikey, herbal odour of European juniper berries. A tang of lime juice from a tree descended from wild progenitors in the foothills of the Himalayas. Bitter quinine, from the bark of the South American cinchona tree, spritzed into your nostrils by the pop of sparkling tonic water.
Take a sip, feel the aroma and taste three continents converge.
Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree also contains everyday practices the reader is invited to experience. For example, taking a tree inventory of your own home, appreciating just how many things around us came from trees. And if you've ever hugged a tree when no one was looking, try breathing in the scents of different trees that live near you, the smell of pine after the rain, the refreshing, mind-clearing scent of a eucalyptus leaf crushed in your hand.
British-born biologist, award-winning author and celebrated academic David George Haskell's work integrates scientific, literary and contemplative studies of the natural world. Haskell holds degrees from the University of Oxford (BA) and from Cornell University (PhD). He is a Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of the South, where he served as Chair of Biology. His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the World Wildlife Fund among others. He serves on the boards and advisory committees of local and national land conservation groups. His previous books include The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors and The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature.
"My favourite book of the year"
– Kate Humble, Radio Times
"This is a book for literary connoisseurs, fact-lovers and environmentalists. In short, it is a book about trees and people, for everyone."
– BBC Countryfile
"Eclectic, brilliant and beautifully written, David Haskell reboots our aromatic memory reminding us of how our lives are intertwined with the wonder of trees. A treat not to be sneezed at."
– Sir Peter Crane, FRS
"Thirteen Ways to Smell a Tree is a transportive olfactory journey through the forest that sets the sense tingling. Every chapter summons a new aroma: leaf litter and woodsmoke, pine resin and tannin, quinine and bay leaf – life in all its glorious complexity. David George Haskell is a knowledgeable, witty and erudite companion, who takes us by the hand and leads us through the world, reminding us to breathe it all in. This book is a breath of fresh air."
– Cal Flyn, author of Islands of Abandonment