Fiction and Others


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Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behaviour
On the Appalachian Mountains above her home, a young mother discovers a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature. As the world around her is suddenly transformed by a seeming miracle, can the old certainties they have lived by for centuries remain unchallenged? Flight Behaviour is a captivating, topical and deeply human story touching on class, poverty and climate change. It is Barbara Kingsolver's most accessible novel yet, and explores the truths we live by, and the complexities that lie behind them.
2013, Faber, GB - 609 pages
Edward D. Melillo, The Butterfly Effect: Insects and the Making of the Modern World
With illuminating demonstrations and thoughtful histories, and drawing on research in laboratory science, agriculture practices, fashion, and international cuisine, Melillo weaves a colorful world history that shows humans and insects as inextricably intertwined. He makes clear that, across time, humans have not only coexisted with these creatures, but have relied on them for, among other things, the key discoveries of modern medical science and the future of the world's food supply. Here is a fascinating appreciation of the ways in which these creatures have altered--and continue to shape--the very frameworks of our existence.
2020, Random House, US,  272 pages
Wendy Williams,  The Language of Butterflies. How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World's Favourite Insect
An enthralling look at one of the world's most beautiful and resilient animals, and the role they play in our ecosystem. Butterflies are beloved across the globe. Their feats are staggering - monarchs migrate thousands of kilometres each year. They are smarter than we think - some species have learned to fool ants into taking care of them. Their beauty has led many to obsession - lepidopterists (butterfly-seekers) have died in search of particular species, frenzied and driven mad in the pursuit of colour. What draws us to these creatures so intensely? Science journalist Wendy Williams investigates butterflies across the globe, their habitats and those dedicated to studying them. She examines the ancient partnership between butterflies and humans, and the ways we depend on them today - from a bellwether on climate change to a source of life-saving medical technology. This melodious book reveals the inner lives of these special creatures and shows why they continue to fascinate us. Touching, eye-opening and profound, it is a love letter and a celebration of the beauty and joy they bring to our world.
2020, Black Inc, Australia - 240 pages
Kim Todd, Chrysalis. Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis
Today, an entomologist in a laboratory can gaze at a butterfly pupa with a microscope so powerful that the swirling cells on the pupa's skin look like a galaxy. She can activate a single gene or knock it out. What she can't do is discover how the insect behaves in its natural habitat--which means she doesn't know what steps to take to preserve it from extinction, nor how any particular gene may interact with the environment. Four hundred years ago, a fifty-year-old Dutch woman set sail on a solo scientific expedition to study insect metamorphosis. She could not have imagined the routine magic that scientists perform today--but her absolute insistence on studying insects in their natural habitats was so far ahead of its time that it is only now coming back into favour. Chrysalis restores Maria Sibylla Merian to her rightful place in the history of science, taking us from golden-age Amsterdam to the Surinam tropics to modern laboratories where Merian's insights fuel new approaches to both ecology and genetics.
 2007, Tauris, New York, 352 pages


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Peter Marren, Rainbow Dust. Three Centuries of Butterfly Delight.
Much more than just another field guide or a natural history of butterflies Rainbow Dust explores the ways in which butterflies delight and inspire us all, naturalists and non-naturalists alike. Beginning with the author's own experience of hunting and rearing butterflies as a boy, Peter Marren considers the special place of the butterfly in art, literature, advertising and science, and, latterly, our attempts to conserve them. Rainbow Dust takes in the controversy over collecting, the women who studied them and the curious details that lead to butterflies being feared as well as loved. This is a celebration of butterflies; one shot through with a sense of wonder but also of sorrow at what we are losing..(World of Books)
2015, Vintage Publishing, New York, 320 pages 
Vladimir Nabokov, Nabokov's Butterflies
Newly translated works by Nabokov on the twin passions of his life, literature and lepidoptera. A rich array of never-before-seen Nabokovia: novels, stories, poems, autobiography, interviews, diaries, and more, plus scientific and fanciful drawings by Nabokov and photographs of him in the field. The text--the richest and most varied assemblage of Nabokov's writing's available--is arranged chronologically and introduced by Brian Boyd and Robert Michael Pyle.
2000, Beacon Press, Boston,  800 pages 
William Leach, Butterfly People
"[This] is the most exciting butterfly book I have read in years: open it anywhere, and the pages spread to reveal stories, spangles, and mysteries as beguiling as any butterfly's pattern. Bill Leach takes us on an extraordinary flight among the collectors, scientist- artists, and other pioneers of butterflies who gave us their names, first studied their lifeways, and otherwise brought them to public attention in America and abroad. Everyone who suffers from an unquenchable love of Lepidoptera will find deep delight and endless fascination in Bill Leach's masterful history of this universal human passion for the most beautiful of insects.....After fifty years of butterfly study, I feel as if I finally know the great and very human lepidopterists I have idolized since boyhood. ....  I know no better window into the exciting era of Darwinian encounter with novel life forms than this--to be sure, a thrilling read for all contemporary Butterfly People." (Robert Michael Pyle)
2013, Pantheon, New York, 416 pages
Ray Summer (ed), Brisbane History Group, Brisbane Butterflies and Beetles: The Work of Amalie Dietrich, Millais Culpin and Alfred Jefferis Turner
This publication provides descriptions of life in Brisbane in the late 1800s and provides details about three important naturalists working in Brisbane.  The achievements of Millais Culpin who had a particular love for entomology, of Amalie Dietrich who is considered to be of immense importance to not only Queensland but Australian natural history for her extensive zoological collections alone (although all shipped back to Hamburg), and of AJ. Turner who himself was an important naturalist with a particular focus on moths. It was he who sought to revive the memory of Amalie Dietrich some 30 years after her departure. While by far not all of this book deals with butterflies or even entomology, this is an important document of early natural history in Brisbane and Queensland and contains important data. 
1989, Brisbane History Group, Brisbane, 157 pages