They destroy plant diseases. They break down toxins. They plough the earth. They transform forests. They’ve survived two mass extinctions, including the one that wiped out the dinosaur. Not bad for a creature that’s deaf, blind, and spineless. Who knew that earthworms were one of our planet’s most important caretakers? Or that Charles Darwin devoted his last years to studying their remarkable achievements?
Inspired by Darwin, Amy Stewart takes us on a subterranean adventure. Witty, offbeat, charming, and ever curious, she unearths the complex web of life beneath our feet and investigates the role earthworms play in cutting-edge science—from toxic cleanups to the study of regeneration.
©2004 Original material © 2004 Amy Stewart. Recorded by arrangement with Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (P)2012 (p) 2012 HighBridge Company
“Stewart’s fascination with her subject is infectious, her writing as simple and sleek as the earthworm itself.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Using Darwin’s research as a starting point, [Stewart] delves into their incredible abilities and offers useful tips for the green thumbs in her audience.” (Entertainment Weekly)
"You know a book is good when you actually welcome one of those howling days of wind and sleet that makes going out next to impossible.” (The New York Times)
I am a grower. A tangle of vines weaving round myrtle branch fences. Rusty metal, soft stone, and worn wood. Unkempt curls and knees covered in clay. I listen.
I am not sure because I have not see the print version.
Being an organic gardener with an interest in looking at the garden as whole. I found the info about the worms lives and different types of worms very interesting.
I did listen to it in all one sitting. Mostly because I listen to most books that way. It was by no means a page turner, but it was interesting.
I would recommend this book to any gardener. I have read wicked plants, wicked bugs, and the drunken botanist. Out of all the Amy Stewart books I have read this was my favorite. The information is helpful and interesting. It also tends to turn away from her normal writing style which often sounds like she just took an encyclopedia and reworked it into her own book. This book gives you some more hands on info and a diverse look at the different kinds of worms and how they make an impact on various environments.
Yes, it's s book about earthworms. I thought I knew a lot about these little creatures, and now know that I didn't know the half of it! There is history, how-to, trivia, and even villainy in this book. A delightful, educational, light listen!
I'm boring. You don't want to know anything about me.
I would absolutely listen to this again. It's absolutely fascinating. I have learned a lot and have a new perspective on worms!
The story was very personal so I felt connected to the author, Darwin, and the other people (including the worm people and by that I mean worms as people). Considering I have ADHD and it's hard for me to sit still I didn't want to leave or stop the book because it was presented in this way.
It was all very fascinating although I did enjoy hearing about Darwin and the Authors love of the worm.
This book made me extremely happy. I'm glad I'm not the only animal nut. I say animal nut because it is hard to find people who think about animals on this level. I appreciated the extreme consideration and detail to attention given to the worm in this book.
There is a lot of beneficial information and a good perspective given on the worm. It takes someone who has spent a lot of time on a subject and has a passion for understanding the intercate details. The author did an absolutely amazing job of showing me both. This makes me confident the knowledge she is passing on is well informed and has nothing but the best intentions. This is not to mention I spent some time looking up facts for myself.
Great job Amy Stewart!
Fascinating little book. A nice between-serious history (or long novels) books type of volume. You will learn alot about a peculiar corner of the wild world, that is about worms, the science of worms (what little is known on the subject). It is not a gross exposition. The writer and the narrator combine to make the book interesting.
The information on how the earthworms help us, as well as the problems that they can cause.
I hungered for more, but was satisfied with what i got.
The emotion that can be conveyed from another person's understanding of what is written.
It seems to me to have a lot of hero worship for Darwin, even though there is a startling lack of research for this field, in comparison of other fields of study...
Listening is an absolutely critical life skill. Hearing the stories of others is one of its many rewards.
I bought this book on a whim (Audible Daily Deal) and it managed to give me a case of worms-on-the-brain. I found myself sharing random fascinating facts about worms throughout the day with anyone who would listen.
I listened while walking my dog at night (after dark), which is a good thing because during the chapter on worm sex I'm pretty sure I was walking around with a horrible grimace on my face as I imagined the slimy deed going down. It might have been awkward if others could have seen my face. :)
The author really captures your imagination by describing the world underground from a "worm's eye view" and delivers a bunch of fairly mind-blowing facts. The book never gets boring, steadily moving along from one worm-related area of interest to another. It also never gets very deep or scientific, but I'm okay with that.
Greedy, voracious reader since age five. After a number of eye injuries & surgeries, reading is hard. So now, I listen.
I never knew just how ecologically important earthworms are. Never knew they were a special favorite of Darwin's. Did not know they are becoming an important tool in research and in biohazard cleanup. All hail these lowly worms! they are really pretty cool and interesting. The author also gives all the advice you would need to start ypur own wormy compost box.
Glass blower and audiobook junkie. Books are my schoolroom and my entertainment!
This book was worth listening to, and mostly kept me engaged, though at times it felt like more sentiment than science. I already find the subject interesting and worth delving into without the author having to try to wax poetic and quote Shakespeare. I could've done without the long asides about her experience in her backyard garden too, though I imagine gardeners would find those bits pleasant. At the end of her chapter on worms relating to agricultural science she says something like, "Really I'm not interested in charts and graphs, but in trial-and-error!" Which is fine, but then you really shouldn't go around making sweeping scientific claims like "organic produce has more nutrients than conventional produce". Maybe you should look at just a few charts and graphs before speaking on that one. Besides, what are charts and graphs but a whole bunch of aggregated trial-and-error data?
She does speak with a lot of scientists, though, and overall I liked the book and I learned things I didn't know. I might've liked it a little more with a different narrator. This one sounded like she was trying to sell me something. More like a narrator from the self-help section doing pop science.
This is a book about...worms! Who would have thought that these creatures were so interesting! I never thought about a whole society underground that we don't ever see. So now I know a ton of things about worms that I never even thought to ask and learned some interesting tidbits that may come in handy someday.
This book was well researched and it was a new topic for me. However, I think that this book may be more interesting to those who are interested in gardening; I found myself drifting off in these parts. I was thinking that this would be written in the style of Mary Roach, but it wasn't as humorous as her science books.
The narration was good. There were some parts when the inflection and tone of the narrator reminded me of Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha, in Bewitched!).
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