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Gordon Grice, a young essayist from rural western Oklahoma, writes winningly of insects in all their glory, basing his narrative on lifelong observations of creatures such as the black widow, praying mantis, brown recluse--and the occasional human being. For the black widow spider he professes an affectionate fascination, dangerous though the spider may be; for the brown recluse, a more dangerous creature still, he exhibits a healthy respect; for all the creatures who fall under his survey, he has many sympathies. Grice writes with good humor, even when he's writing of matters that are not for the squeamish, as when he describes the rather gruesome ways in which female mantises dispose of inconvenient mates or humans dispose of each other.
Gordon Grice has a disturbing fascination with bugs, spiders in particular. But his fascination is our entertainment, as he writes in flowing prose his observations of these nasty little crawlers. The Red Hourglass is an extremely well-written account of the habits and habitats of things that creep in the night.
The book is divided into seven different studies, Black Widow, Mantid, Rattlesnake, Tarantula, Pig, Canid, and Recluse. Though Grice gives fascinating accounts of the darker aspects of pigs and dogs, it is painfully clear in his writings that his love is truly for the spider.
The Red Hourglass is a non-fiction book that is written with such interesting and personal observations that it feels somewhat like a monster story at times. If you want to find out more about these creepy, crawly, nasty little arachnids, Grice is an excellent way to learn. This would be a great book to get kids started on taking interest with biology or even anthropology studies, it's that well written
And I hate spiders. Go ahead and grab up a copy of The Red Hourglass, I doubt you will ever find non-fiction reading as fun as Grice, having the same flair with his biology studies as Kurt Eicheneald does with his political studies. Enjoy!