Much Ado About Mothing
James Lowen narrates a year-long quest to see Britain’s rarest and more remarkable moths.
Although mostly unseen by us, moths are everywhere. And their capacity to delight astounds.
Inspired by a revelatory encounter with a Poplar Hawk-moth – a huge, velvety-winged wonder wrapped in silver – James Lowen embarks on a year-long quest to celebrate the joy of Britain’s rarest and most remarkable moths. By hiking up mountains, wading through marshes and roaming by night amid ancient woodlands, James follows the trails of both Victorian collectors and present-day conservationists. Seeking to understand why they and many ordinary folk love what the general public purports to hate, his investigations reveal a heady world of criminality and controversy, derring-do and determination.
From Cornwall to the Cairngorms, James explores British landscapes to coax these much-maligned creatures out from the cover of darkness and into the light. Moths are revealed to be attractive, astonishing and approachable; capable of migratory feats and camouflage mastery, moths have much to tell us on the state of the nation’s wild and not-so-wild habitats.
As a counterweight to his travels, James and his young daughter track the seasons through a kaleidoscope of moth species living innocently yet covertly in their suburban garden. Without even leaving home, they bond over a shared joy in the uncommon beauty of common creatures, for perhaps the greatest virtue of moths, we learn, is their accessibility. Moths may be everywhere, but above all, they are here. Quite unexpectedly, no animals may be better placed to inspire the environmentalists of the future.
If moths mean nothing to you, opening this book is like stumbling from a dark street into an unexpected party. Here is colour, wonder, surprise - and fun. A jolly, generous, kind-hearted host, James Lowen unveils a splendid serving of moth intoxication! -- Patrick Barkham Charming and awe-inspiring. Whether you love or loathe moths, this book is for you. -- Kate Bradbury Whether recounting nights spent searching for moths amid the heather or relating an autumn dedicated to the perfect blue of Clifden Nonpareil, this boy can write! -- David Gedge Thoroughly recommended ... let James Lowen show you that moths are deserving of everybody's attention. * Birdwatch Magazine * I loved this book...and the author writes with real passion and insight about these lovely insects. After 40 years of mothing, the book brought a new interest and rekindled my old excitement of finding a new moth. -- Adrian Spalding * Atropos * With prose as rich and velvety as a Black Rustic's wings, in Much Ado About Mothing James Lowen shines a welcome light into the hidden world of Britain's moths, those consumed by their beauty and conservation, and the places upon which they depend. Their stories are remarkable and, in this delicious book, Lowen serves them with the relish they deserve. -- Jon Dunn Gloriously uplifting, hilariously eccentric; a big warm hug of a book written straight from the heart. Moths at their most inspiring, nature writing at its finest. -- Helen Pilcher James Lowen's year-long quest to find Britain's rarest and most remarkable moths seeks to persuade the sceptical, the fearful and the unaware of the sheer unexpected beauty of these largely misjudged insects. -- Roger Butler * The Great Outdoors * This is a book full of enthusiasm and erudition. -- Adrian Spalding * Atropos * James Lowen confesses his love affair with some of Britain's most overlooked creatures - and, in doing so, reveals the wonder of moths. A delightful book, packed with passion and fascinating detail. -- Stephen Moss, naturalist and author Using clearwing pheromone lures and light traps, sleeping in cars, shivering on mountainsides, or clambering down precipitous gorges, Lowen brings a charm and wit to these close encounters [with moths], making them personal and intimate, and a delight to read. -- Richard Jones, Royal Entomological Society Written with craft and class [...] The ride is as mad as a moth's meanders. -- Dominic Couzens, author and journalist Written by someone who so ably conveys his passion, Much Ado About Mothing is an enthralling 20-chapter celebration of these winged insects. Accompanied by his abiding enthusiasm and wonder, Lowen's writing is entertaining, packed with descriptive prose and fascinating facts about his quarry. -- Josh Jones, Birdwatch Thoughtful but witty, erudite but accessible and beautifully crafted. -- Nick Acheson, naturalist and conservationist Enjoyed reading this enthusiastic romp through the British countryside searching for moths. -- Richard Lewington, wildlife artist In his wonderful new book, Much Ado About Mothing, James Lowen, challenges all those dusty preconceptions about moths [...] it will astonish and intrigue even the hardiest of mottephobe, I am sure. And, remember butterflies are just one group within the moth family... and who doesn't like butterflies? -- David Bradley, writer and wildlife photographer As a book on moths, it is unique and unrivalled. -- John Feltwell, Wildlife Matters Lowen reports on his explorations in vivid prose, and his use of British slang will have American readers running to their dictionaries. Such is Lowen's enthusiasm that he even converts his preteen daughter to his passion. Amateur entomologists will find this a fascinating, evocative armchair guide. -- Booklist This book is an excellent, well-written, informative, read, which I recommend highly. -- Rob Grimmond, Somerset Moth Group James has a great way with words and brings moths to life, from the tiniest micro to the largest macro [...] At the very least, Much Ado About Mothing will be on your list of Christmas presents. * Dave Grundy, Comma * A charming new book. * John Ingham, The Daily Express * This journey introduces the reader to many astonishing species, and along the way we meet a broad range of people that share Lowen's passion for recording and conserving moths, including his young daughter who is also utterly enchanted by them [...] good PR for moths. * Ashleigh Whiffin, BBC Wildlife magazine * He writes with gleeful enthusiasm and a passion bordering on obsession about his mothy subjects [...] I really enjoyed reading this and it makes me want to go out and get a moth trap. * Paul Cheney, HalfManHalfBook * A story of discovery and adventure that is equal parts informative and delightful. If you're a moth hater we are confident this book will change your mind - or, at the very least, give you one more reason to care about habitat restoration. * Rewilding Magazine Canada *
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