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
According to Barnes & Noble's survey, 77% of Americans read at least one book, newspaper or magazine during Thanksgiving or other holiday travel, while 60% of travelers usually bring, buy or borrow reading material specifically for travel on Thanksgiving Eve. Some 73% of respondents said they felt that traveling on the day before Thanksgiving is a "good time to bring a book they would enjoy and be able to read," and just over a quarter of Americans feel that "bringing a book along for Thanksgiving could give them a way to get out of an uncomfortable or awkward conversation with a relative or other guest."
Anuk Arudpragasam has won the prestigious ?DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 for his novel, "?The Story of a Brief Marriage", published by Granta in the UK, and by Flatiron in the USA
Arudpragasam was awarded the $25,000 (£18,830) prize along with a unique trophy by Hon'ble Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, minister of finance of Bangladesh ?at the Dhaka Literature Festival in Bangladesh.
Little House on the Prairie Fans will likely enjoy Publishers Weekly's article, "10 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Laura Ingalls Wilder."
The national book awards for 2017 have been announced.
The winners are:
Fiction: Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
Nonfiction: Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
Poetry: Frank Bidart, Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016
Young People's Literature: Robin Benway, Far from the Tree
Annie Proulx received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Indies First/Small Business Saturday 2017 and the start of the holiday shopping season are just a week and a half away (Nov 25), and more independent bookstores around the United States are finalizing their plans for the annual celebration of bookselling and small businesses. Shelf Awareness rounds up some of the planned activities...
Bookstore sales declined 6.5% this September, compared to September 2016, according to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday morning. Sales in September were $1.01 billion, down from $1.8 billion a year ago.
The Observer newspaper continues its 2+ year project to review what it deems to be the top 100 nonfiction books of all time. The series began in February 2016 with their No. 1 pick, Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction and is on track to complete by the turn of the year. The most recent review is for The Diary of Samuel Pepys coming in at No. 92.
The Observer is the sister newspaper to the better known British newspaper, The Guardian. The Observer publishes on Sundays, The Guardian publishes on all other days of the week. Both newspapers combine their content into theguardian.com website.
With 4 million or 17% of all online ebooks being pirated, novelists including Maggie Stiefvater and Samantha Shannon say theft by fans puts their books at risk.
The playwright Tom Stoppard has won the David Cohen prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature, hailed as a "giant of 20th-century British drama" with an "outstanding and enduring body of unfailingly creative, innovative and brilliant work."
Howard Jacobson in the Guardian asks how many of us still read a book in bed?