Terence's Reviews > Spiders: Learning to Love Them

Spiders by Lynne Kelly
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's review
May 22, 10

bookshelves: science-general, science-nature
Recommended to Terence by: New bookshelf at library
Recommended for: Arachnophiles
Read from May 19 to 21, 2010, read count: 1

I so much wanted to like this book more!

The arachnids are my favorite arthropod (though I haven't gone so far as to name the ones I see around the apartment as the author does hers).

The good:

* The photos are quite excellent. There's a selection of 38 color plates and many black-and-white pictures throughout the book. A few of the B&Ws are hard to make out but in most the contrast between spider and background is sufficient to make out what's going on.

* The author makes a good case about how just insanely complicated and interconnected nature is and how destroying even the most insignificant seeming part of it threatens to bring down the whole house of cards: "`It's like a game of Jenga,' disagrees Shardlow. `Take the bricks out one by one and the tower stays up, but take out one too many and the whole countryside may come crushing down.' The house sparrow's tumble towards Red Data Book status is linked to chick starvation, as aphids, spiders and craneflies have become scarcer." (pp. 218-9)

* The author also tells an inspiring story of overcoming her arachnophobia (perhaps too well) by confronting her fears.

The bad (and what dragged it from a default 3 stars):

* The book is very poorly organized and the author is not that great a writer. It's another example of a book that reads like a professor's lecture notes or the entries in a journal. Lynne needed to take more time (or her editor did) organizing the material.

That said, it was still an engrossing read. The subject matter alone kept me riveted so I'll recommend it to the interested.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I also like some spiders. My favorite is the wolf spider. Which one is your fav?

Terence I'm not sure I have a "fave." I appreciate the beauty and elegance of the species as a whole :-)

Though, if pressed I'll admit to liking the wolf spiders too. But there are also orb weavers and the tarantulas to like. Years ago I lived in a house with a backyard where what must have been a species of orb weaver set up a web in the garden. The spider herself was between 1" and 2" long and was a brilliant yellow and green in color. I've always regretted not having a camera at the time.

Another if-only-I-had-had-a-camera moment came a few years ago when I stumbled across an epic battle between a spider and a beetle - again, I couldn't tell you either species. They battled for a good five minutes before the beetle finally managed to escape.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I have often wished for a camera too when I saw a beautiful spiders web. Once a saw a neighbor getting a picture of one that was very large covered with early morning dew.

I have never seen a spider and beetle fight. That must have been very interesting. I once caught a tarantula in a bag in Platt National Park and kept it for about 30 minutes to look at it more.

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