Review written by Jackson Griffith
We’re always looking for good reading material about pests. And while we do enjoy curling up with, say, an E.O. Wilson tome on eusocial insects, we understand that most people don’t have the patience for that particular form of entertainment. Fortunately, Wicked Bugs, a new book by Amy Stewart (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 272 pages, $18.95, hardcover), provides the kind of easy, accessible read that anyone can pick up and enjoy.
In the book’s introduction, Stewart points out that, from an entomologist’s or word-stickler’s point of view, using “bugs” in her book’s title may be problematic – while, in common language, “bug” means any arthropod that crawls or flies, the word in its technical application means a member of the order Hemiptera, specifically an insect with mouthparts adapted for sucking. But Stewart isn’t an entomologist or even a scientist; she’s a writer with a keen eye for good subject matter, and when it comes to insects, spiders and other creepy-crawlies, she can tell some nice little yarns – call this book “bedtime stories for bug geeks and slightly twisted children.”
The subjects of Wicked Bugs are arranged alphabetically, without regard to phylum, class or order, with certain ones flagged as “horrible,” “painful,” “dangerous,” “destructive” or “deadly.” The stories typically run three pages – and this isn’t a massive tome; its trim size is a little smaller than a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew book – each one sketching out a pest and its relationship with us. Accompanying the text are some nice black-and-white illustrations by Briony Morrow-Cribbs that contribute to the vintage textbook feel of Wicked Bugs.
If you’re looking for a nice little summer read, or just want to pick up some interesting but general knowledge about pests without cracking a textbook, Wicked Bugs may be just the thing for you. – Jackson Griffith
Book can be found here
Thank you Jackson for this great review!!
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