With Apples, writer/illustrator Roger Yepsen has created my kind of coffee table book. Although you may mistake this quaint 5x6 inch manual for a coaster, it will never overtake the space that should be utilized for a tankard of fine cider. And when the conversation lulls, you can easily set down your tankard, read one apple description, and your friend won’t even know you briefly left the discussion.
Yepsen’s quick essays on the history of apple cultivation, buying and eating apples, and the methods of making cider are interesting short reads. But what we come for are his colorful descriptions and vivid illustrations of ninety different classic apple varieties.
Yepsen’s bio identifies him as a freelance artist and writer. But he must be an apple fanatic too, because it takes passion to create ninety individual, intriguing passages about the same type of fruit. Readers of this site know that I like to draw from old periodicals and books to describe heirloom fruit varieties. But the old writers described apples in a mechanical, textbook-like fashion, as though the fruit had no life. Yepsen’s descriptions tell you about the personality of each apple; its heft, its texture, fragrance, and subtle flavors. He accompanies these descriptions with histories, to give us a setting for each variety.
Despite the quick concise title, which may imply to some that this would be an all-encompassing manual, it is not. This is not a book for someone who wants the whole story of apples. It’s a tasting-plate. It’s an apple appetizer. Your palette will be pleased.