Upcoming Virtual Event

Virtual Event: Michael Pollan

presenting

This Is Your Mind on Plants

in conversation with ALIX SPIEGEL

Date

Jul
8
Thursday
July 8, 2021
8:00 PM ET

Location

Join this virtual event by purchasing a ticket through Eventbrite

Tickets

$33.25 (book & signed bookplate included) - On Sale Now

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes internationally bestselling writer MICHAEL POLLAN—author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and How to Change Your Mind—for a discussion of his latest, highly anticipated book, This Is Your Mind on Plants. He will be joined in conversation by science journalist and public radio producer ALIX SPIEGEL, co-founder of NPR's This American Life and Invisibilia. This event is co-presented by our bookseller partners Politics and Prose, Books & Books, and Community Bookstore.

Ticketing

All tickets include a hardcover copy of This Is Your Mind on Plants and a bookplate signed by the author.

Books bundled with tickets will be shipped out after the event. Please note: we are unable to ship internationally.



 

About This Is Your Mind on Plants

Of all the things humans rely on plants for—sustenance, beauty, medicine, fragrance, flavor, fiber—surely the most curious is our use of them to change consciousness: to stimulate or calm, fiddle with or completely alter, the qualities of our mental experience. Take coffee and tea: People around the world rely on caffeine to sharpen their minds. But we do not usually think of caffeine as a drug, or our daily use as an addiction, because it is legal and socially acceptable. So, then, what is a “drug”? And why, for example, is making tea from the leaves of a tea plant acceptable, but making tea from a seed head of an opium poppy a federal crime?

In This Is Your Mind on Plants, Michael Pollan dives deep into three plant drugs—opium, caffeine, and mescaline—and throws the fundamental strangeness, and arbitrariness, of our thinking about them into sharp relief. Exploring and participating in the cultures that have grown up around these drugs while consuming (or, in the case of caffeine, trying not to consume) them, Pollan reckons with the powerful human attraction to psychoactive plants. Why do we go to such great lengths to seek these shifts in consciousness, and then why do we fence that universal desire with laws and customs and fraught feelings?

In this unique blend of history, science, and memoir, as well as participatory journalism, Pollan examines and experiences these plants from several very different angles and contexts, and shines a fresh light on a subject that is all too often treated reductively—as a drug, whether licit or illicit. But that is one of the least interesting things you can say about these plants, Pollan shows, for when we take them into our bodies and let them change our minds, we are engaging with nature in one of the most profound ways we can. Based in part on an essay published almost twenty-five years ago, this groundbreaking and singular consideration of psychoactive plants, and our attraction to them through time, holds up a mirror to our fundamental human needs and aspirations, the operations of our minds, and our entanglement with the natural world.

Alix Spiegel
Alix Spiegel

Alix Spiegel

Alix Spiegel was one of the founding producers of the public radio show This American Life, and went on to co-found the hit NPR show and podcast Invisibilia—a program about human behavior. Spiegel worked as a science reporter for NPR News for nine years, her writing has also appeared in the New Yorker and the New York Times

Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is the author of eight books, including How to Change Your Mind, Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Botany of Desire, all of which were New York Times bestsellers. He is also the author of the audiobook Caffeine: How Coffee and Tea Made the Modern World. A longtime contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Pollan teaches writing at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world.

Photo Credit: Tabitha Soren




Join this virtual event by purchasing a ticket through Eventbrite
Event Series: Virtual Event Series

Harvard Book Store’s award-winning event series continues online! Named "Best of Boston: 2020 Best Virtual Author Series" by Boston magazine.

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