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Sex on Six Legs by Marlene Zuk (thoughts)

September 6, 2011

I love popular science books, especially those with a natural history bent. So when this book, all about insects, popped up on Netgalley I couldn’t resist! And as soon as I began it, I realised I would love it. Zuk is passionate about her subject, which despite the title includes many aspects of insect life, and she’s able to convey that passion to her readers. She’s a biologist, rather than a science writer, but the book has a wonderful flow to it and her attempts at humour actually work. ;) There are several fascinating studies/experiments described, which my armchair scientist self very much enjoyed, and Zuk goes beyond insects to look at wider biological implications, including those for our own species. The book is obviously written to convince readers that bugs are important, and fascinating, and have lives as complicated (albeit in a different form) as our own, and it succeeds admirably. There’s a variety of species discussed, from the everyday North American to the more exotic, and I learned why fruit flies are so important to scientific studies. When I turned the final page, I let out a contented sigh before popping over to my library catalogue to make sure they had a copy of her earlier book, Riddled With Life. Definitely another author to add to my ‘go-to’ popular science list, and one I’d highly recommend for those looking for smart, readable, fun nonfiction! (If I don’t sound gushy enough, I read this back in June before I learned to look at pub dates on Netgalley, and now the publisher has blocked the file so I can’t look at it to refresh my memory/share a passage/etc. But I did love it! Oh, and there are fun little sketches throughout.)

Suggested Companion Reads

24 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 3:56 pm

    I loved this too! I read it an insane amount of time before publication from Netgalley as well. I love scheduling posts in advance – I just thought it sounded so interesting I couldn’t resist. I’ll have to look at your suggested reads too. I already own WOMAN and the other three sound fascinating!

    • September 13, 2011 8:45 am

      I really need to learn to draft posts. ;)

  2. September 6, 2011 4:58 pm

    Rich just read this and totally loved it, too! :D

    • September 13, 2011 8:46 am

      Oh yay: it makes me feel smart when Rich and I agree on science books! ;)

  3. September 6, 2011 5:37 pm

    ooh, just the kind of book i like! adding to my list now

    • September 13, 2011 8:45 am

      I thought of you when I was reading it!

  4. September 6, 2011 6:14 pm

    This book sounds great. I chuckled at the title of your post :)

  5. September 6, 2011 7:30 pm

    This sounds fun! I like these popular science books, too, but I never seem to think of them when I’m looking for something new to read.

    Anyway, this title reminded me of a time I was reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” I was teaching high school, and it was during one of our proscribed reading periods. Teachers were supposed to be modeling independent reading for the students (I know, a difficult task). One of my students saw how engrossed I was in the book, and they asked “What are you reading about?” Without missing a beat, I answered “Corn sex.” I was glad that no administrator decided to walk in to observe at that moment!

    • September 13, 2011 8:46 am

      LOL I bet you’re one of the cool teachers! ;)

  6. September 6, 2011 8:53 pm

    This sounds good, and I have a friend I’m sure would really, really love it!

  7. September 7, 2011 1:18 am

    OMG I so almost bought this the other night at the book store!! Rich was reading it when I was visiting with Debi and it looked really good :D Think I’m definitely gonna have to get it now!

  8. September 7, 2011 11:36 am

    I wish I had got this when I had the chance on NetGalley. I wasn’t really using the site at the time, though, so I missed out. Glad it is worth a read, though!

    • September 13, 2011 8:47 am

      This was one of the v first books I requested from Netgalley!

  9. September 7, 2011 2:35 pm

    Oooh. Another addition. I have been hearing good things about this, and with your recommendation as well, I will see if the library has it…

    Good one!

  10. September 7, 2011 3:13 pm

    Perfect time for me to get, read and then give to my PhD bro for xmas. thanks!

    • September 13, 2011 8:47 am

      Ohhh: the read before gifting plan. I’ve been known to do that myself! :D

  11. September 7, 2011 4:38 pm

    I’ve just started reading WOMAN and enjoying it very much :)

  12. September 8, 2011 7:14 am

    This book looks wonderful, Eva! I always thought that insects led sophisticated and complex lives. I will look for this book. Thanks for the wonderful review.

  13. September 8, 2011 8:22 am

    This sounds terrific: thanks for bringing it to my attention. (If you haven’t seen the film ‘Microcosm’, I think you’d love it!)

    • September 13, 2011 8:48 am

      I haven’t seen the film, although the book’s on my wish list! I’ll have to try to track down a copy: thanks for the rec. :)

  14. September 8, 2011 12:53 pm

    Sounds interesting! I’ll have to keep an eye out.

  15. September 8, 2011 11:07 pm

    THAT looks really interesting. I gotta put that and the others on my TBR !

  16. Kathy permalink
    November 26, 2011 10:37 am

    Interesting title and post! It’s apparently number 5 on this list ( that shows the 5 best reviewed popular science books on biology. Will be nice Christmas reading. ;-)


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