When Michael Pollan -- author of Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World -- came to Unity Temple on the Plaza to read from his book this past June, the church was filled to the rafters with hippies. They knew that Pollan, who had focused on the book's chapter on apples when touring for the release of the hardcover, would be shifting discussion to the marijuana chapter for his paperback tour. Pollan not only had a beautifully written book in tow but also brought enough charisma to keep the crowd aglow for the whole lengthy talk. Pollan and his crowd enjoyed themselves so thoroughly that Rainy Day Books' Vivien Jennings practically had to force Pollan to wrap it up. That's partly because people in the audience were moved to trade information on topics such as where conscientious meat eaters could buy beef made from grass-fed cows. In addition to being a superb celebration of literary achievement, the event provided a rare chance for people with alternative viewpoints to come together.