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I picked up a copy of this one at Copperfield’s, an independent bookstore in northern California, and it has sat on a shelf in two different states. I finally threw it into the bag I take with me when I expect to be waiting somewhere, and I finished reading it last week.

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects, by Amy Stewart, covers a collection of destructive, painful, deadly, and otherwise unpleasant insects. This book is not written as an identification guide to the insects of the world; it’s more of a pick it up and read a few pages here and there sort of book. Each blurb has a bit of information on the type of bug, its relatives and habitat, and a page or two on what makes the critter noteworthy, which is usually something interesting and gross.

Each insect’s story is self-contained, which made it perfect for bringing with me to read in snippets. I don’t know that I would have wanted to read it all in one sitting. The writing is humorous and informative, without being overly in-depth. I enjoyed it, and will probably pick up a copy of Wicked Plants, which is another of her books that’s written in a similar style.

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