CRICKET RADIO: Tuning in the Night-Singing Insects by John Himmelman (Belknap/Harvard University Press)
Pity those who live with the ceaseless surf of urban noise and are denied the surround-sound pleasure of crickets and katydids winding their watches and shaking their maracas through languid summer nights. That music is the quintessential soundtrack to shooting stars, backyard barbecues, and quiet nights on docks and porches. Amateur naturalist John Himmelman understands the ancient allure of the night-singers, and his Cricket Radio is a work of obsessive and rambling scholarship that offers appreciation and information in equal measure.
This article first appeared in the May-June 2011 issue of Utne Reader.