Title: Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World
Author: Dan Koeppel
Number of Pages: 260
Plot Overview: Banana is a fascinating journey through the history of the banana, its cultural impact, and its current endangered status.
What I enjoyed: This book is not aggressively factual, successfully dodging the largest obstacle of non-fiction. It made an effort to include the cultural shifts that accompanied the banana, which I really liked. The language is accessible and in no way stuffy. It was also informative (as non-fiction should be), and organized in chronological format. Another thing that was appreciated was that, at the end, Koeppel offers his personal opinion on the best method for saving the banana (and, as one learns from this book, it does need saving). Whether you agree with his opinion or not, it does make for interesting discussion.
What I disliked: Koeppel opened with some anecdotes, which felt out of place in a book about fruit. I was reading to understand the banana, not to labor through explanations of how the author became interested in the banana. The quality of the writing in that opening section was also rather unimpressive, though it picked up as the book progressed.
Other notes: This book was published in 2008, so some of the information given is a little bit dated. CNN ran an article on the Cavendish banana (the kind that most consumers eat) in January 2016, featuring Koeppel. That link is here.
Other Reviews: Yale Scientific takes quite a different stance on this book. Read their review here.
Final Verdict: For a banana novice, delightful.