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This exuberantly brilliant book never fails to remind me of one of theobvious puzzles surrounding those who subscribe to strict creationism You know, the people who actually believe that the Lord created the universe according to the seven day timetable laid out in Genesis Quite apart from the convoluted mental processes needed to accommodate such inconvenient evidence as the entire fossil record, remember, these people would have us believe that humans and dinosaurs coexisted, Flintsto This exuberantly brilliant book never fails to remind me of one of theobvious puzzles surrounding those who subscribe to strict creationism You know, the people who actually believe that the Lord created the universe according to the seven day timetable laid out in Genesis Quite apart from the convoluted mental processes needed to accommodate such inconvenient evidence as the entire fossil record, remember, these people would have us believe that humans and dinosaurs coexisted, Flintstone like, in some kind of post Genesis theme park , why would anyone choose such a parched, unimaginative view of the natural world when the reality is so muchglorious Whether or not one believes in the existence of a divine entity at the back of it all, the fact is that the magnificent variation and huge diversity of evolutionary survival strategies that are explained by Darwin s theory imply a universe that is infinitelyfascinating than the simplistic view of the strict creationists.Olivia Judson s Dr Tatiana s Sex Advice to All Creation provides a comprehensive, hugely readable, account of one of evolution s most important aspects sexual selection Dr Judson has chosen a particularly delightful conceit to enlighten and entertain her readers the book is structured as a series of letters and answers, spanning the entire natural world, to the eponymous agony aunt of the title, Dr Tatiana From the opening letter from a golden potto in the Gabon who wonders why her boyfriend s penis is covered in enormous spines to the scandalized primate in the Ivory Coast complaining about the slutty behavior of the female chimpanzees in the neighborhood, the vignettes presented in this book are informative, wide ranging, hilariously funny in a single word, awesome The book s thirteen chapters are divided into three main sections Part I Let Slip the Whores of War1 A Sketch of the Battlefield2 The Expense is Damnable3 Fruits of Knowledge4 Swords or Pistols5 How to Win Even if You re a LoserPart II The Evolution of Depravity6 How to Make Love to a Cannibal7 Crimes of Passion8 Hell Hath no Fury9 Aphrodisiacs, Love Potions, and Other Recipes from Cupid s Kitchen10 Till Death Do us PartPart III Are Men Necessary Usually, But Not Always11 The Fornications of Kings12 Eve s Testicles13 Wholly VirginThis is definitely on my top 5 list of science books published within the last decade It is funny, imaginative, informative and hugely entertaining So much so that one is forced to break out the most repulsive of reviewer cliches Dr Judson s accomplishment represents a truetour de force If I tell you that this is a book about science, zoology, and aspects of evolution some of you may immediately tune out and rush to click on to another page Well then, it s a book about the sex lives of various creatures oh let me just make it easier and give you some quotes, so you can see what sorts of questions Dr Tatiana receives, and some of her answers This will give you a better idea how the book is both humorous and completely weird Not to mention hard to categorize.Pg 176, from If I tell you that this is a book about science, zoology, and aspects of evolution some of you may immediately tune out and rush to click on to another page Well then, it s a book about the sex lives of various creatures oh let me just make it easier and give you some quotes, so you can see what sorts of questions Dr Tatiana receives, and some of her answers This will give you a better idea how the book is both humorous and completely weird Not to mention hard to categorize.Pg 176, from Chapter 11 The Fornications of Kings, in Part III Are Men Necessary Usually, But Not Always Dear Dr Tatiana,I m a true armyworm moth, and I ve gone deaf in one ear I ve read this is from having too much sex Trouble is, I m sob still a virgin So what s happening to me Piqued in DarienBe assured, you have nothing to worry about It s just that your inner ear is now hosting a torrid, incestuous orgy What happened is that one evening when you stopped to sip nectar from a flower, a mite scrambled up your tongue as if it were a ladder When she reached your face, she crawled through the tangle of your scales and hairs to the outer caverns of your ears Then she stepped up to the delicate membranethat screens off the inner ear from the outer ear, and she pierced it In doing so, she destroyed forever your ability to hear with that ear.After settling and and perhaps taking a light supper of I m afraid your blood, she started to lay her eggs, about eighty in all A couple of days later, the eggs hatched First to emerge were the males of the brood then came all their sisters The males grew up faster than their sisters, prepared one of the innermost galleries of your ear as a bedchamber, carried their sister brides thence And you now get the idea of what s going on in Piqued in Darien s ear There are some details I cut purely for reasons of space because the details and examples of various matings is what makes the book so fascinating.Another example, this is part of an answer to a male stickleback whose eggs were stolen Dr Tatiana brings up the male bowerbird, which also the gender that does the nest building, and has to deal with rivals messing with their nests page 73, from Chapter 4 Swords or Pistols, in Part 1, Let Slip the Whores of WarBecause they are quite big, bowerbirds are easily able to monopolize fruit trees, scattering smaller birds out of their way Thus, like aristocrats everywhere, most of these birds have lots of free time And so, naturally, they have a hobby It s art.Male bowerbirds spent weeks building and decorating elaborate bowers Depending on the species, the bower could be anything from a clearing strewn artfully with leaves to hutsthan four meters thirteen feet wide or towersthan three meters ten feet high, woven out of sticks, painted with juice from crushed fruits, and decorated with flowers, mushrooms, feathers, snakeskins, snail shells, butterfly wings, beetle heads or anything else that catches the artist s eye One scientist nearly had his camera stolen by a bowerbird who wanted to add it to his decor another almost lost his socks Artistic styles differ greatly among populations even populations of the same species so that whereas flowers might be fashionable in one area, beetle wings will be all the rage in the next Moreover, this is no random collection of junk the objects are selected and placed with great careWhy do they do this To impress girls, of course Females come to the bowers to mate And one way to make your bower look even better than a rival s is to resort to theft and vandalism Yes, I m afraid that bowerbirds are not above foul play to further their own ends Stealing is rife Rare or fashionable objects vanish from one bower only to appear in another And some bowers are regularly vandalized or completely destroyed This example in particular so interested me that if someone had asked me just after I d read the page to join an expedition to observe and take notes on bowerbirds over the next decade I would have probably signed on Especially if I d managed to forget how many poisonous things are frolicking around Australia The book is full of such unique examples, pointing out similarities between species and theorizing as to why such behaviors and traits had helped species succeed in the big race to procreate.I do have to add that the chapter on the praying mantis habit of eating her husband is grim yet amusing That would be Chapter 6 How to Make Love to a Cannibal Because it s not just the mantis that tends to do this So this is science with a sense of humor, albeit sometimes a dark humor There are end notes and a long bibliography should you want to find outabout any particular creature I m trying not to look and findto read about the bowerbird I already have a huge To Read stack This is also a great book to pick up, read a chapter or two, and put down I must admit that I ve reread it a few times but then I m a bit of a zoology geek 2.5 stars.Sigh This is the kind of book that I really want to like It is jam packed full of information about reproduction, biology, life cycles, etc throughout all kinds of life forms with an emphasis on insects, it seems What sthe references are extensive every column has its own section in back where she cites each claim s source I was impressed with the documentation and with the wealth of knowledge.So why only 2.5 stars There are a couple of reasons 1 The format concept 2.5 stars.Sigh This is the kind of book that I really want to like It is jam packed full of information about reproduction, biology, life cycles, etc throughout all kinds of life forms with an emphasis on insects, it seems What sthe references are extensive every column has its own section in back where she cites each claim s source I was impressed with the documentation and with the wealth of knowledge.So why only 2.5 stars There are a couple of reasons 1 The format concept It s written like an advice column in Cosmo or something But the answers ramble on and on and she ll make disparate points in one answer, it doesn t seem to gel together for me Also it s a lot of the same kind of stuff over and over, and while there was some truly fascinating things in here, I feel like I m going to forget most of this information within a week There was nothing to make the separate pieces of information stick in my head, with few exceptions which hadto do with shocking reality of things like in the spotted hyena s case than with her writing I ve read other books and articles that deal with similar topics and the writers manage to make the information novel enough and different enough to stay in my memory.2 The tone of the book Because it s written like a Cosmo column, the persistent I m super cool and sassy delivery distracted me and got old pretty quickly In this vein she uses the word slut, wonders if rape in the animal kingdom is really the result of females asking for it, constantly uses the words girls and boys to describe mature animals engaging in reproductive sex She anthropomorphizes a lot a lot a lot which I don t have an issue with in itself, really, it just seems to make thingsconfusing in this case She seems to think radical feminists hate men and want to destroy them Which I found odd, since she s apparently a pretty smart scientist degrees from Stanford, Oxford and the vast majority of her acknowledgements go to males you d think she d know better than anyone the challenges women face in the sciences But maybe that s exactly the problem maybe in order to make it that far she s had to ingratiate herself or something Who knows I don t But I do know I didn t appreciate that aspect of it Judson s stylistic conceit various species writing to an advice column about their sex lives is clever and well done, although it does get tired upon repetition Her prose is lively and entertaining, remarkably so for what often boils down to biological studies of insects What I really found invaluable about this book was her insistence that people look at real science rather than a few pseudo scientific ideas that support various social standpoints I wish I d had this back when I lived Judson s stylistic conceit various species writing to an advice column about their sex lives is clever and well done, although it does get tired upon repetition Her prose is lively and entertaining, remarkably so for what often boils down to biological studies of insects What I really found invaluable about this book was her insistence that people look at real science rather than a few pseudo scientific ideas that support various social standpoints I wish I d had this back when I lived in the Midwest and constantly had people telling me that women had to stay home with the kids because of biological design Buy this book and use it to hit people who try to tell you their bullshit bigotry is supported by scientific research ( READ KINDLE ) ⚖ Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation ♟ If you have ever wondered why women always bite your head off or why one guy gets all the girls, if you have ever pondered why some men bring you balloons while others leave you their genitals, then Dr Tatiana s Sex Advice to All Creation is the book for you It explains all this and much It discloses the best time to have a sex change, how to have a virgin birth, when to seduce your sisters or eat your lover Quirky and brilliant, it takes as its starting point all creatures great and small worried about their bizarre sex lives, and the letters they write to the wise Dr Tatiana, the only agony aunt in all creation with a prodigious knowledge of both natural history and evolutionary biology This is an excellent book about the the sexual habits of life not just humans, but all life , examined from an evolutionary perspective The material is whimsically presented as a collection of sex advice columns from Dr Tatiana think Dr Ruth giving advice to insects and fish, reptiles and mammals An example of a letter from one of her readers, early in the bookDear Dr Tatiana,My boyfriend is the handsomest golden potto I ever saw He s got beautiful golden fur on his back, creamy whit This is an excellent book about the the sexual habits of life not just humans, but all life , examined from an evolutionary perspective The material is whimsically presented as a collection of sex advice columns from Dr Tatiana think Dr Ruth giving advice to insects and fish, reptiles and mammals An example of a letter from one of her readers, early in the bookDear Dr Tatiana,My boyfriend is the handsomest golden potto I ever saw He s got beautiful golden fur on his back, creamy white fur on his belly, he smells delicious, and he has ever such dainty hands and feet There s just one thing Please Dr Tatiana, why is his penis covered with enormous spines Most of the book is focused on animal sexual behavior, but plants and even bacteria are both also touched on In a remarkable way, the book deanthropomorphizes sex by first anthropomorphizing it, a tricky task to be sure The writing is humorous, ribald, and highly intelligent A wide range of topics and behaviors are covered, including such wide ranging mysteries as complex genitalia, promiscuity in both males and females, sperm competition, asexuality, cannibalism of mates, the strange and rare situation of monogamy, hermaphroditism, homosexuality, and incest And while most of the book is focused on non human sexual behavior, humans are not left out, with many of the chapters applying some of the factors to human sex and reproduction.Having heard the author Olivia Judson, a science writer journalist with a PhD in evolutionary biology from Stanford speak about the book a few months ago, I must admit that I also read the book in her British accent, something which may have added an extra touch of atmosphere There is definitely a British sense of humor underlying much of the book.Highly recommended Non Fiction Dr Tatiana is the Dr Ruth of the animal kingdom, that much is fictional, but the advice she gives is all fact, or, at the very least, theory.This is evolutionary biology framed like a relationship column Dr Tatiana takes letters from the birds, the bees, and the stick insects and advises them on their difficult love lives It s a great way to get information across and the book is structured well, one topic easily leading to another Judson never gets too technical and covers a Non Fiction Dr Tatiana is the Dr Ruth of the animal kingdom, that much is fictional, but the advice she gives is all fact, or, at the very least, theory.This is evolutionary biology framed like a relationship column Dr Tatiana takes letters from the birds, the bees, and the stick insects and advises them on their difficult love lives It s a great way to get information across and the book is structured well, one topic easily leading to another Judson never gets too technical and covers a lot of different sexual and reproductive practices, even dipping into the plant world from time to time The book also has an index, author s notes, and an extensive bibliography, making it a good resource to find specific information, or to find further reading on the subject The problem comes when Judson takes the conversational tone of an advice columnist and applies it to animals it s almost as if she forgets that her readers are still human She makes a lot of bad word choices She repeatedly uses the word slut and its synonyms in ways that could be considered negative She uses cripple and imbecile and there are entire chapters on forced sexual activity rape and incest At times, reading this was very much like being poked in the eye.I do love the way she repeatedly uses sexy to describe the myriad characteristics that animals find attractive it s a good reminder that everyone has different things that turn them on, and overall her message seems to be one of acceptance for those of different genders, sexual practices, or lack of sexual practices, but the problematic language undermines that attitude.Three stars, would have gotten four if not for the consistently poor word choices it took away a lot of my enjoyment of the book Well I enjoyed this book very much and I probably would have given it five stars had I bought it myself But the book was given to me by the author s father unsigned with the promise that she would autograph it the next time she visited But it s not like I kept the book at his house and now she s living on another continent and seriously, it s not like I need to reread sex advice for bugs, so, Lady, you need to come sign this thing so that I can regift it to my virgin god daughters Actual Well I enjoyed this book very much and I probably would have given it five stars had I bought it myself But the book was given to me by the author s father unsigned with the promise that she would autograph it the next time she visited But it s not like I kept the book at his house and now she s living on another continent and seriously, it s not like I need to reread sex advice for bugs, so, Lady, you need to come sign this thing so that I can regift it to my virgin god daughters Actually, just send me two new signed copies I m keeping mine I believe everyone has something in their sex life that others would think is a little kinky Some of us worry about that But I know the perfect solution to reduce that worry Read Dr Tatiana s Sex Advice for All Creation You will quickly discover that, based on the wide variety of sex practiced in the animal kingdom, you are not really all that kinky Well, at least you don t bite off the head of your lover.I hope.That s my advice for today What did you expect Masters and Johnson The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable Lord Chesterfield describing sex to his son.