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The Roses of Heliogabalus by Alma-Tadema
Public Domain from Wikimedia Commons

I was reading the other night, this big 500 glossy page hardcover. My husband says, “What are you reading?”

I close the book.

“What’s it about?”

I waggle the book at him, like this is helpful, like there aren’t books out there called The Rose that have nothing to do with roses.

I like non-fiction books, and among my favorites are those that trace the history of an object or idea. It’s amazing that in one book you can bring together prostitutes (associated with the rose through Venus) and geneticists (I explain scientists to people by saying: If it hold still long enough, they study it; and if doesn’t hold still they figure out way to make it. Genes, lazy bastards that they are, don’t deign to stir from the nucleus in a eukaryote cell). As I look at this book, I can’t help but to think of all the information that was not included, and what a monumental task Jennifer Potter undertook when she set out to sort through this history.

The only thing I can do is enjoy her labors, and I do, I really do. If your interest has been piqued, I suggest you buy the book, as a treat for yourself. I did, and it’s better than a box of fancy chocolates.