Jordan's Reviews > Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid

Kraken by Wendy   Williams
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Jul 27, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from July 11 to 27, 2012

This book had some potential and some interesting facts in it, but it really needed some tightening up.

First off, the title. It puts an emphasis on "Kraken" making me think that Kraken and Giant Squid are going to be a significant part of the book. But they're not. If I were to name one squid this book was about I'd say the Humboldt squid stole most of the time. The Giant Squid really is only used to snare the reader in. A couple squid legends are mentioned in passing and there's not much else other than the conclusion that the giant squid is mysterious. Also on the title. This book is supposedly about the "Science of Squid" but a significant portion of this book is spent on other Cephalopod. The Giant Pacific Octopus in fact gets three chapters, more than the titular Kraken. The Cuttlefish also gets its own chapter as well. There's also a lot of time spent on digressions about such things as neuroscience. So even though the title promises awesome squid science potentially focusing on the Giant Squid, instead the book delivers a kind of all over the place look at squid and evolutionary history and neuroscience and octopus and whatever else the author was distracted by.

Second, squid axons. Actually axons in general. The whole middle chunk of this book was about them. And it really could have been shortened significantly and focused more on squid. Yes it's interesting that squid axons helped advance neuroscience and helped develop cures for human disorders, but this book is about squid and not the history of neuroscience. There was way too much getting off-track with this and my eyes started majorly glazing. In addition it felt like there was a lot of repetition in the parts about the squid.

Third, the author. Kept inserting opinions and musings that got repetitive and annoying. I get it, intelligence can be possessed in different ways. Please stop pondering how to design tests to tell if dogs have a sense of identity. Or cuttlefish. Or monkeys. Because this book is not about dogs or cuttlefish or monkeys or humans. It's about SQUID. Mention identity and intelligence tests and move on to your actual subject, please.

And lastly. The pictures. Were relatively small and black & white. When talking about squid and their ability to change color it would be great to have a nice color picture of this instead of a grainy little black & white picture. A few color pages could have made a significant improvement to this book. This picture instead were boring and added next to nothing to this book.
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07/11/2012 page 39
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