An Immense World by Ed Yong
An Immense World by Ed Yong – How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us – is a book published earlier this year. I don’t remember how I learned about it, but it seemed interesting and I bought it. Well, it wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be. I didn’t like the author nor his approach. For example his dog is a “he” while all the other animals he talks about are “it”. His jokes were better left out of the book too, as they didn’t bring anything.
The information based on science is great, hence me giving it 4 stars. What’s beside the science is the part that raises the issues. He talks about what sea creatures can feel and then starts to answer if they should be killed for food or not. That’s not science, but individual moral choices based on each person’s values and philosophy, so he should have avoided those things.
When it comes to science though, there are lots of fascinating details. Sometimes they seem quite random, but it’s a book for non-scientific people, so in a way it might be better like that. The book is about umwelt, how animals perceive their environment, as far as it can be determined.
Each chapter deals with a sensor, from sights and textures to sounds, smells, electric field. Echolocation was one of the most interesting chapters. There are many animals mentioned in the book, insects such as butterflies and moths, bats, rats, and so on. The information in each chapter feels a bit random as he goes from a frog to an owl or something just as unrelated, but I don’t think there was another way of presenting the information.
Because the details are unrelated from chapter to chapter, it is the kind of book you can pick up and leave if you want to read something else. I think I will re-read chapters from it next year.
An Immense World by Ed Yong
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My rating: 4/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Bodley Head
Year it was published: 2022
About the author: Ed Yong is a science journalist who reports for The Atlantic, and is based in Washington DC.
His work appears several times a week on The Atlantic’s website, and has also featured in National Geographic, the New Yorker, Wired, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American, and many more. He has won a variety of awards, including the Michael E. DeBakey Journalism Award for biomedical reporting in 2016, the Byron H. Waksman Award for Excellence in the Public Communication of Life Sciences in 2016, and the National Academies Keck Science Communication Award in 2010 for his old blog Not Exactly Rocket Science. He regularly does talks and radio interviews; his TED talk on mind-controlling parasites has been watched by over 1.5 million people.
I Contain Multitudes, his first book, looks at the amazing partnerships between animals and microbes. Published in 2016, it became a New York Times bestseller, and was listed in best-of-2016 lists by the NYT, NPR, the Economist, the Guardian, and several others.
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