Book Review: ‘To Stand And Stare’ by Andrew O’Brien

** You can also listen to this review by clicking the banner above**

Every once in a while something really special comes along…

…and this book is this years’ something special.

First of all, I have to be honest with you here. I knew I’d love every word in this book before it even came out, before it was probably even written. This is all because the author is a writer of such extraordinary natural skill, that this book could never have been a flop. For To Stand And Stare is the work of Andrew Timothy O’Brien, a gardener, garden coach and podcaster who is someone you absolutely should know all about.

Before we get to the book I’d highly recommend that you go and preorder a copy right away, without even taking in this review. I’m that confident that this is a candidate for book of the year already, and its only January (or February if you’re seeing this after publication!).

So what is this book exactly? Its not really an instructional, neither is it a work of entirely, purely gardening advice – its sort of a collection of words, finely crafted into 300 odd pages of writing that you just won’t forget.

An observation perhaps, on the way that Andrew gardens and talks and communicates about growing. To Stand And Stare is really not a gardening book at all, I mean – it is, but this is a tome that anyone could really read and enjoy, but the gardeners are the ones that will fully appreciate it in all its glory. Andrew is a celebrator of gardens – sharing his space with us to enjoy, somehow artistically and accessibly at the same time. Quite miraculous really. This is a gardening book that will make you ponder (to stand and stare) over why you’re doing what you’re doing in the garden and how that benefits not only the garden but in turn, you and those around you.

There are instructional elements to the book but its just so much more than a how to book. This is one to read, re-read, pass on to friends, get back and then re-read again. Garden writing is an often overlooked genre of literature but this book does the genre such justice. Although not, perhaps, the intention of the book – but I do hope that reading this opens up a whole world of writing that some of you may not have even known existed.

To Stand And Stare is out on 2nd February from DK books with an RRP of £16.99, or you can get it here for just £14!

Do check out Andrew’s Instagram page or Twitter, where you can find him
on both @andrewtimothyob.

And, if you’d like to hear more from Andrew, do subscribe to my podcast Tales From The Potting Bench to hear him on an upcoming episode of the next season.

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