Spiders: Learning to Love Them - Lynne Kelly I so much wanted to like this book more!

The arachnids are my favorite arthropod (though I haven't gone so far as to name the ones I see around the apartment as the author does hers).

The good:

* The photos are quite excellent. There's a selection of 38 color plates and many black-and-white pictures throughout the book. A few of the B&Ws are hard to make out but in most the contrast between spider and background is sufficient to make out what's going on.

* The author makes a good case about how just insanely complicated and interconnected nature is and how destroying even the most insignificant seeming part of it threatens to bring down the whole house of cards: "`It's like a game of Jenga,' disagrees Shardlow. `Take the bricks out one by one and the tower stays up, but take out one too many and the whole countryside may come crushing down.' The house sparrow's tumble towards Red Data Book status is linked to chick starvation, as aphids, spiders and craneflies have become scarcer." (pp. 218-9)

* The author also tells an inspiring story of overcoming her arachnophobia (perhaps too well) by confronting her fears.

The bad (and what dragged it from a default 3 stars):

* The book is very poorly organized and the author is not that great a writer. It's another example of a book that reads like a professor's lecture notes or the entries in a journal. Lynne needed to take more time (or her editor did) organizing the material.

That said, it was still an engrossing read. The subject matter alone kept me riveted so I'll recommend it to the interested.