"Insects Through the Seasons," by Gilbert Waldbauer...

Book Briefs

March 24, 1996

"Insects Through the Seasons," by Gilbert Waldbauer. Harvard U. Press. 289 pages. $24.95. The professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Illinois makes clear that we should all be thankful that insects are there. He strays from insects to spiders, birds, fish, frogs, and occasionally people. His style is lively and light, and he manages to explain scientific evidence behind the ideas he presents without lapsing into jargon. The book rambles, but overall, it delivers a sophisticated view of ecology, evolution and animal behavior in language that kids could enjoy.

Faye Flam

Knight-Ridder

"Paul Gauguin: A Life," by David Sweetman Simon & Schuster. $35. 600 pages.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) has been romanticized as the classic tormented artist who ran away from stifling bourgeois cares in quest of an artistic, cultural and sexual haven in Tahiti. The author casts a cold eye on this Bohemian melodrama in his incisive, often splendid but at times too preciously detailed biography.

Overall, this is a first-rate portrait of an artist whose ecstatic Eden was also an agonizing hell from whose fires and lusts emerged indelible, dreamlike images never before imagined.

Owen McNally

The Hartford Courant

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