Currently reading: butterfly obsession

An Obsession With Butterflies: Our Long Love Affair with a Singular Insect by Sharman Apt Russell

A natural history of an obsession, riddled with taxonomy, butterfly biology and ecology, and history of prominent figures that study, collect and obsess. I have become familiar with many of the stories, bugs, institutions, and cast of characters in this narration in my years working at the museum, however, this book is filling in details of the tale.

I have come across notes and newsletters from prior curators in my department. They chronicle a history of their own and I have always thought someone needed to write the story of our bug rooms. Many of the same people and accounts detailed in ‘Obsession With Butterflies’ play into the history of our collection.

As I read this book, through the pages of well researched elegant and beautiful prose, I find myself reflecting on my occupation. I realize how fortunate I am to work where I work and do what I do. I admire Lepidoptera in my garden and in flight, I appreciate their diversity. I’ve collected and carefully prepared specimens. I’ve studied, dissected and have become intimately familiar with a handful of these creatures. And even though small and seemingly insignificant to the whole, I am a part of this obsession, I am a part of this history.