Number of page: 284
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, 2011
Category: Biography & Autobiography
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK A modern classic of personal journalism, The Orchid Thief is Susan Orlean’s wickedly funny, elegant, and captivating tale of an amazing obsession. Determined to clone an endangered flower—the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii—a deeply eccentric and oddly attractive man named John Laroche leads Orlean on an unforgettable tour of America’s strange flower-selling subculture, through Florida’s swamps and beyond, along with the Seminoles who help him and the forces of justice who fight him. In the end, Orlean—and the reader—will have more respect for underdog determination and a powerful new definition of passion. In this new edition, coming fifteen years after its initial publication and twenty years after she first met the “orchid thief,” Orlean revisits this unforgettable world, and the route by which it was brought to the screen in the film Adaptation, in a new retrospective essay.Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. Praise for The Orchid Thief “Stylishly written, whimsical yet sophisticated, quirkily detailed and full of empathy . . . The Orchid Thief shows [Orlean’s] gifts in full bloom.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Fascinating . . . an engrossing journey [full] of theft, hatred, greed, jealousy, madness, and backstabbing.”—Los Angeles Times “Orlean’s snapshot-vivid, pitch-perfect prose . . . is fast becoming one of our national treasures.”—The Washington Post Book World “Orlean’s gifts [are] her ear for the self-skewing dialogue, her eye for the incongruous, convincing detail, and her Didion-like deftness in description.”—Boston Sunday Globe “A swashbuckling piece of reporting that celebrates some virtues that made America great.”—The Wall Street JournalFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
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- Carly Jo Trivitt
LibraryThing Review I really enjoyed this – a well written investigative history of Florida, plants, orchids, crazy people and a bundle of other fascinating things. No real plot but definitely a story.
LibraryThing Review The inspiration for “Adaptation,” Orlean’s book grew out of a ‘New Yorker’ article on the theft of various rare orchids in Florida by the too-strange-to-be-fictional John Laroche. It is a fabulous study of orchid culture and “orchid people,” and a richly detailed fun read.
LibraryThing Review I would have thrown this book down in boredom if my friend hadn’t kept telling me that it gets better, and that it has a lot of twists. Oh wait – she saw the movie that was completley different.
LibraryThing Review A good book, too bad a movie was made with the same name.
LibraryThing Review Very interesting peek into the world of people obsessed with orchids.
LibraryThing Review A wonderful, wonderful book. “A True Story of Beauty and Obsession” Such a good writer and about a subject I’m fascinated by: obsession. Very good at evoking a place: Florida. The swamps. Nicely structured.
LibraryThing Review quite possibly the most boring book i’ve ever read.
LibraryThing Review This book was orginially a piece for The New Yorker. You can tell the author had trouble stretching the material. Lots o fluff and inconsiquencial details. It felt poorly written and lost my interest, regardless of the topic.
The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People
The bestselling author of The Orchid Thief is back and she s brought some friends in this wonderfully entertaining collection of the acclaimed New Yorker writer s best and brightest profiles Meet more than thirty five of Susan Orlean s favorite people from the well known Bill Blass and Tonya Harding to the unknown a typical ten year old boy to the formerly known the 1960s girl group the Shaggs Passionate people Famous people Short people Young people And one championship show dog named Biff who from a certain angle looks a lot like President Clinton Orlean transports us into the lives of some rather eccentric individuals like the man who has spent thirty years selling nothing but ceiling fans or Bob Silverstein maker of the Big Chair the creme de la creme of oversized chairs used for novelty photographs at carnivals Others are living highly unusual lives like Cristina Sanchez the eponymous bullfighter the first woman to become a matador in Spain or the African king who drives a taxi in New York City and keeps his throne in his living room Whether describing the sun drenched existence of a Maui surfer girl or the devoted life of the Jackson Southernaires a traveling gospel group Orlean writes with such insight and candor that readers will feel as if they ve met each and every one of these unconventional folks Susan Orlean brings her wry sensibility exuberant voice and peculiar curiosities to a fascinating range of subcultures sports and music and hairdressing and real estate among others The result is a joyful luminous tour of the human condition via an eclectic array of people as seen through the eyes of one of America s most entertaining and original literary journalists
Twenty years ago before she wrote The Orchid Thief or was hailed as a national treasure by The Washington Post Susan Orlean was a journalist with a question What makes Saturday night so special To answer it she embarked on a remarkable journey across the country and spent the evening with all sorts of people in all sorts of places hipsters in Los Angeles car cruisers in small town Indiana coeds in Boston the homeless in New York a lounge band in Portland quinceañera revelers in Phoenix and more to chronicle the one night of the week when we do the things we want to do rather than the things we need to do The result is an irresistible portrait of how Saturday night in America is lived that remains
Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend
He believed the dog was immortal So begins Susan Orlean s sweeping powerfully moving account of Rin Tin Tin s journey from abandoned puppy to movie star and international icon Spanning almost one hundred years of history from the dog s improbable discovery on a battlefield in 1918 to his tumultuous rise through Hollywood and beyond Rin Tin Tin is a love story about the mutual devotion between one man and one dog The Wall Street Journal that is also a quintessentially American story of reinvention a captivating exploration of our spiritual bond with animals and a stirring meditation on mortality and immortality
Beyond Beauty: Hunting the Wild Blue Poppy
Beyond Beauty is the story of a remarkable journey that Bill Terry and his wife Rosemary undertook when they joined a party of Dutch and British alpine plant hunters intent on botanizing on the roof of the world The expedition travelled in a convoy of eight jeeps over roads that were rarely paved and occasionally terrifying They crossed fifteen passes some as high as 5 000 metres 16 500 feet where even in midsummer the wind scoured exposed skin They braved days at high altitude panting in the thin air of the Tibetan plateau and were rewarded with collages of rock moss lichen flower and foliage so sublime they might be imagined as perfect gardens though no gardener or landscape architect had a hand in their creation As the journey unfolds Terry sketches the history of the region and observes life for Tibetans under direct Chinese rule and the ever alert People s Liberation Army He reflects on the potential threat of a massive hydroelectric development to the wellbeing of the millions of people living downstream in Southeast Asia Terry also contrasts the hardships suffered and dangers faced by pioneer plant hunters a century ago with the relative comfort and safety of modern travel in these remote and exotic lands Throughout the book the author s distinctive photography portrays local custom and culture and celebrates the wildflowers in all their profusion especially the almost heartbreaking beauty of the Asiatic Poppies