A Gift for the Ears, Pulled from the Night

cricket radiofield guide
“I could literally feel the obsession of John Himmelman with these animals, and it is contagious. This wonderful, engaging book brings us up close, in terms of the sensual, intellectual, and historical aspects of night-singing insects and the people who love and study them. Cricket Radio…will open up a new window to the natural world that is available to almost everyone, everywhere.” — Bernd Heinrich

Here’s a wonderful new book that we’ll keep close at hand this summer, as night time temperatures soar, and the steady chirp of crickets lulls us to sleep. John Himmelman’s Cricket Radio: Tuning in the Night-Singing Insects vividly brings to life the songs of crickets and katydids, and their constant chorus of lures and warnings.

Himmelman describes a rich and complex natural history behind the sounds we often relegate to background chatter. Cricket Radio is a book that will teach you to listen with new ears. As John Himmelman writes: “Consider yourselves among the fortunate who can pull from the night a gift for the ears freely given.

John Himmelman is a veteran cricketeer, and the author of several books, including his Guide to Night-Singing Insects of the Northeast (also pictured above). And here’s a few more related books from the Land Library’s entomology shelves:

dethiercapineraold cricket
Crickets and Katydids, Concerts and Solos by Vincent Dethier (a Land Library favorite and the subject of an earlier post), Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of the United States by John L. Capinera, et.al, Insect Musicians and Cricket Champions of China by Berthold Laufer (a wonderful & quirky volume that we stumbled across in a dusty used bookstore in Chicago), which became the inspiration for a more recent study of the cultural aspects of singing insects:

cricket champions
Insect Musicians & Cricket Champions: A Cultural History of Singing Insects in China and Japan by Lisa Gail Ryan.

For more on the fascinating world of insects, follow these links!

The Singing Insects of North America

The Insect Man: The Life & Times of J. Henri Fabre


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