Summer Booknotes from Our Staff

Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson (Basic Books)

It turns out feathers aren’t just interesting to birders as Thor Hanson entertainingly shows here. Peppered with historic anecdotes and interviews with both scientists and feather fanatics, his book guides the reader from the controversial fossil record (which sparks hot debates such as the “ground-up” vs. “tree-down” flight theories) to Vegas show girls in their elaborate feathered costumes. The enthusiasm of the people he encounters and his own passion for the topic is surprisingly contagious, turning a book on the niche study of feather evolution into an unexpectedly fast paced read. –Pamela

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects by Amy Stewart (Algonquin)

Amy Stewart follows her award-winning book, Wicked Plants, with a look at the high drama of insect and human confrontation in Wicked Bugs. Among the many stories Stewart collects are that of an Arizona woman who, upon awakening from surgery for a supposed brain tumor, discovers that she is harboring a huge tapeworm. Readers will also find out about the chemical weapons brandished by the bombardier beetle (famous for avoiding being eaten by Darwin), and discover that bed bugs can live in overgrown toenails. Here’s more proof that fascinating stories live close to home. –Karen

Booknotes, the newsletter of The Elliott Bay Book Company, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.