Book of the Year: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

signature1Oh, this book. I really just want to tell everyone to just read it. Read it, read it, read it. But I suppose I should at least try to explain why…

It’s a historical novel about Alma Whittaker, the daughter of an enormously successful botanical explorer and businessman, who becomes a botanist herself (botany was one of the few areas of science that really welcomed women), dedicating her life to the study of moss.

Actually, I don’t want to say much more about it because I didn’t know much more than that when I started reading and I was glad…

It sounds dry, but it’s not. It’s funny and charming and joyful and feminist and sexy and wise. There are scenes that will stay with me forever. It took me weeks to read it because I didn’t want it to be over, so I kept reading other books in between. (I’m not sure I’ve ever done that before.) It’s a huge book, but it’s never hard work and I would happily read it again (but I’m actually going to listen to the audio version – read by Juliet Stevenson – instead.)

Read it. Read it. Read it. Really.

5 thoughts on “Book of the Year: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

  1. This sounded so boring to me when I first heard about it, what with the history and botany and the really bland cover (and EVERYONE on my Twitter feed is raving about it, which makes me perversely less keen on the idea) but I’ve loved the last books you were insistent about, so FINE, I’ll order it from the library next year. (Um, I mean, thank you for the recommendation!)

    1. The cover IS really bland, isn’t it? I think both the UK and US covers are. It’s so wonderful though. And Anna Carey agrees, so you know it must be, right? (What other books have I been insistent about?)

  2. She had a cover contest, too! And they were all boring. You were insistent about Waiting for Birdy, and Stuffed (I’d read that already, but you were right), and I’m sure there have been others. I’m going to have to embrace the moss.

    1. Ohhhhh. I thought you meant recently! Yeah, it’s a v wide-ranging book, so it would be hard to sum up for the cover, but surely they could have done better than they did. And moss is interesting! Honest! I peer at it now and go “Huh.” 🙂

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