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


MORE RESOURCES:
The Portland Press Herald, based in Stephen King's home state of Maine, had decided to stop running reviews of local books.

After King expressed dismay, the paper challenged him to get 100 followers to buy digital subscriptions.

His fans did not disappoint him, prompting the paper to pledge that "book reviews will return."

Francine du Plessix Gray, a French-American writer who, in her novels and journalism, explored the complexities of cultural identity, the obstacles confronting women seeking their place in the world and her own privileged but anguished early life, died on Sunday in Manhattan. She was 88.

In what the Authors Guild is calling the "largest survey of U.S. professional writers ever conducted," the organization reports the median income published American authors received for all writing-related activity in 2017 was $6,080 in 2017, down from $10,500 in the guild's 2009 survey. The survey further found that the median income for specifically book-related income for published authors declined 21%, to $3,100, in 2017 from $3,900 in 2013 and just over 50% from 2009's median book earnings of $6,250....

Lin-Manuel Miranda and three of his Hamilton collaborators have purchased New York City's beloved Drama Book Shop, which had celebrated its 100th birthday last year but announced in the fall it would close this month because of a large rent increase...

They bought the store from Rozanne Seelen, whose husband, the late Arthur Seelen, had acquired it in 1958. She "sold it for the cost of the remaining inventory, some rent support in the store's final weeks, and a pledge to retain her as a consultant," the Times wrote.

Future bookseller Lin-Manuel Miranda "It's the chronic problem--the rents were just too high, and I'm 84 years old--I just didn't have the drive to find a new space and make another move," she said. "Lin-Manuel and Tommy are my white knights."

Irish novelist Sally Rooney, 27, has become the youngest author ever to win the Costa Novel Award, triumphing for her second novel Normal People, a coming-of-age love story the judges said "will electrify any reader."

Celebrating "the most enjoyable books" across five different categories, the judges of the Costa Book Awards 2018 also selected Stuart Turton for The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (Published in the US as the The 7 1/2 Deaths...), Bart van Es for The Cut Out Girl, J O Morgan for Assurances (not yet published in the US), and Hilary McKay for The Skylarks' War (US title: Love to Everyone) to be the respective winners of the prizes' First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children's Book awards.

Brian Garfield, award-winning author, screenwriter and film producer, died December 29. He was 79. After publishing his first title, Range Justice, when he was 18, Garfield went on to write more than 70 books--westerns, mysteries and nonfiction. Nineteen films are based on his writings, including Death Wish. His violence-free and Edgar Award-winning novel Hopscotch was written in response to the vigilantism of Death Wish.

PWxyz, parent company of Publishers Weekly, has acquired the online magazine the Millions, plus its website TheMillions.com, for an undisclosed price.

The Millions was founded in 2003 by Max Magee and offers coverage of books, arts, and culture aimed at a consumer audience. Magee had been its editor until 2016, when Lydia Kiesling took over the role. Moving forward, Adam Boretz, a longtime editor at PW, who also served at the Millions as Magee's associate editor, will become editor of the Millions, and will be promoted to senior editor at PW. Kiesling will continue to be involved in various capacities.

Amos Oz, the renowned Israeli author whose work captured the characters and landscapes of his young nation, and who matured into a leading moral voice and an insistent advocate for peace with the Palestinians, died on Friday. He was 79.

His death was announced by his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger, who wrote on Twitter that he had died after a short battle with cancer, "in his sleep, peacefully."

This coming year marks the first time in two decades that a large body of copyrighted works will lose their protected status ' - a shift that will have profound consequences for publishers and literary estates, which stand to lose both money and creative control.

Many thousands of works are due to enter the public domain including those by Marcel Proust, Willa Cather, D. H. Lawrence, Agatha Christie, Joseph Conrad, Edith Wharton, P. G. Wodehouse, Rudyard Kipling, Katherine Mansfield, Robert Frost and Wallace Stevens...

The sudden deluge of available works traces back to legislation Congress passed in 1998, which extended copyright protections by 20 years.... Now that the term extension has run out, the spigot has been turned back on. Each January will bring a fresh crop of novels, plays, music and movies into the public domain...

Audrey Geisel, 97, philanthropist and wife of the late Theodor Seuss Geisel, died on December 19.

Petite and often understated, she was a fierce protector of her husband's creations and legacy, and a major donor to institutions he supported and helped to flourish, including UC San Diego and the San Diego Zoo. She founded Dr. Seuss Enterprises in 1993 to maintain the Dr. Seuss trademark.

Cathy Goldsmith, president and publisher of Random House Children's Dr. Seuss program, said, "Audrey had such a quick wit and smart sense of humor, which made her a pleasure to work with and be around. I will always remember her sparkle. Audrey could light up a room, and I know that her brightness found its way into Ted's work, and her tireless advocacy for his books and our publishing."

thatware.org ©