Inspirational Reading

In what ended up being an incredibly chaotic semester for me-between taking 4 classes and TAing one, running another marathon, going to ESA in Denver, and taking on the role of the Penn State Entomological Graduate Student Association Outreach Coordinator while trying to keep up with lab work, the last half of 2017 was absolutely chaotic. Therefore, some much needed restorative and inspiring reading material was necessary!

Illustration of some common dragonflies in a 1918 field book.

A page of beautiful odonate inspiration. Photo by Biodiversity Heritage Library (CC-BY-2.0), from a 1918 Field Book of Insects. Click for source.

While most of us read many articles and snippets of data a day for our own research needs, sometimes you just need to read something else. I am trying to make it a point to read something from this stack each day. Here is the start of a stack that I have been working my way through since the end of 2017.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren is a book spanning day-to-day lab life to the way that all of the days and experiences add up to a truly meaningful career. Jahren is an incredibly skilled writer, as well as a geoscientist. Her summaries of the years of graduate school and research projects, as well as deep looks at her personal life provide a breath of fresh air for long days of research. I finished this book feeling appreciative that I am able to pursue science in a world waiting for discovery.

A Biology of Dragonflies by Philip S. Corbet has been a great reminder of all of the wonderful observations that dragonfly specialists have made before me, and it has opened my mind up to many new ideas to pursue. This is a shorter book than his other famous tome, Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata, but it is a great place to begin an examination of the natural history of dragonflies.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson is a book of poetry that I bought while I was in London last summer, from the delightful John Sandoe Bookstore. I confess that I bought it primarily because bluets are a common name for some damselflies in the Coenagrionidae family. So far, so beautiful.

Hopefully I’ll get through this stack of books soon and move on to my next shelf!

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