The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators, by Gordon Grice
The black widow spider is notorious for eating her mate as they copulate, but how many of us know much more than that about this beautiful, mysterious, spider?
Grice collects black widows and keeps them in jars and studies them, and he tells us more than we care to know at times. But it is not just black widows that interest Grice, it is rattlesnakes, praying mantis, tarantula, pigs, dogs, and the recluse spider.
The Lives of the Predators is fascinating, strange, and scary, all at the same time. Grice writes with such vivid imagery that you can almost feel the hairy tarantula, and hear the particular sound of the black widows web as you brush through it.
Grice mixes us a venomous cocktail of personal accounts and tall tales; gruesome historic details that may have you questioning if you will ever eat pork again, and yet on the other hand he reveals how seemingly close humans still are to the animal kingdom.
As humans we feel that we are at the top of the food chain and that we have no natural predators who relish our flesh, but wait, that is not true at all! History reveals that as early as biblical times swine have eaten human corpses; in Africa leopards dine on humans regularly; and dogs are more dangerous to us than the wolf.
Grice's knowledge and research are impeccable. His interest in the life and death of his subjects is sometimes morbidly sadistic and it brings to mind an image of little boys who delight in tossing a poor grasshopper into a jar of red ants. But beside the morbidity is a side dish of humor when he describes the story of a man who was supposedly eaten by his hogs as, "?the man was old; he died of a heart attack or a stroke while feeding the pigs; and 'nothing was left of him but the shoes.' ?You have to be particularly suspicious of the heart attack diagnosed from the shoes."
After reading this book you will come away with a different awareness of both the animal kingdom and the insect world, and you can no longer look at a spider or a pig the same way, or your dog for that matter.
Copyright 2005 Cindy DeJager
Cindy DeJager owns Rosetta Stone Press, a publisher of metaphysical and mystical books. She writes book reviews of old and rare books, as well as sends out a monthly newsletter to local bookstores and libraries. You can find her reviews on her website at www.rosettastonepress.com/">http://www.rosettastonepress.com
One of Italy's most popular authors and creator of the Inspector Montalbano series, Andrea Camilleri has died at the age of 93.
Camilleri, who was born in Sicily in 1925, was taken to hospital in Rome in June after going into cardiac arrest.
The author had written a handful of historical novels when, in 1994 at the age of almost 70, he wrote The Shape of Water, the first book starring his now famous Sicilian detective. Set in the fictional town of Vigata, Camilleri was originally going to call his central detective The Commissioner, but decided to pay tribute to the Spanish writer Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, the Spanish author of novels about the investigator Pepe Carvalho.
Saying that the event "has grown exponentially since its launch," the American Booksellers Association is taking over management of Independent Bookstore Day, which began as California Bookstore Day in 2014 and became a national event the following year, Bookselling This Week reported. IBD program director Samantha Schoech will remain in her position and work closely with ABA on planning and promoting the event.
Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series, as well as author of the Emily Brown picture books, has been named the new Waterstones children's laureate. The Waterstones Children's Laureate is managed by BookTrust, as the UK's largest children's reading charity, and sponsored by Waterstones.
She unveiled her new charter, stating that every child has the right to:
1. Read for the joy of it
2. Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops
3. Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller
4. Own their OWN book
5. See themselves reflected in a book
6. Be read aloud to
7. Have some choice in what they read
8. Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week
9. See an author event at least ONCE
10. Have a planet to read on
New library borrowing figures from the US show how far England is lagging behind other countries because of its facilities' falling book stocks, according to new analysis from library campaigner Tim Coates.
Using statistics from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, ex-Waterstones boss Tim Coates produced a chart showing English book loans have plummeted year-on-year since 2009/10 while American numbers remain relatively stable...
Lesley Nneka Arimah has won the 20th edition of the Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story 'Skinned'. The prize was launched in 2000, and is awarded annually to an African writer of a short story published in English. The winner receives UK£10,000 prize money, and each shortlisted writer also receives £500.
Arimah is also the author of the 2017 story collection What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky
Publishers are holding their breath to see if President Trump's decision to postpone the imposition of 25% tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods imported from China will become permanent.
The new tariffs, which included books, were proposed this spring. But after meeting with China President Xi at the G20 conference this weekend, Trump agreed to delay any new tariffs as part of an effort to restart trade talks. In his speech, Trump said new tariffs have been delayed "for the time being."
After Angie Thomas requested that she not be tagged into negative reviews of her books on social media, she has received a torrent of abuse.
History has yet to find the book that is universally adored – or the author who enjoys reading bad reviews. While Angie Thomas has topped the charts and scooped up armloads of awards for her two young adult novels, The Hate U Give and On the Come Up, her recent request that book bloggers stop sending her their negative reviews saw her on the receiving end of a wave of vitriol....
At dozens of barbershops and laundromats across the United States, the sound of children reading aloud mingles with the buzz and snip from barbers' tools or the din of washers. Makeshift shelves and crates hold books featuring cartoon characters, stories about pigeons or the capers of superheroes.
This developing movement, supported by nonprofit groups, entrepreneurs, libraries and community fund-raising, is redefining the borders of traditional neighborhood public libraries by creating literary spaces in places where children find themselves with time on their hands.
It is bringing the book to the child, instead of the child to the book...
With concern in the library community continuing to grow over their ability to provide access to digital content, the Council of the American Library Association yesterday passed a resolution to ramp up its advocacy efforts—including taking the issue to Congress.
The "Resolution on E-Book Pricing for Libraries" was adopted and brought to the ALA Council by ASCGLA (the Association of Specialized, Government and Cooperative Library Agencies), a division of the ALA. The resolution references efforts in Canada to alert the public to the problems of licensing digital content from publishers, and proposes to create a new joint working group to more directly confront the issues in the U.S.
Amazon sells substantially more than half of the books in the United States, including new and used physical volumes as well as digital and audio formats. Amazon is also a platform for third-party sellers, a publisher, a printer, a self-publisher, a review hub, a textbook supplier and a distributor that now runs its own chain of brick-and-mortar stores.
But Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.
That has resulted in a kind of lawlessness. Publishers, writers and groups such as the Authors Guild said counterfeiting of books on Amazon had surged. The company has been reactive rather than proactive in dealing with the issue, they said, often taking action only when a buyer complains. Many times, they added, there is nowhere to appeal and their only recourse is to integrate even more closely with Amazon...