Sue Hubbell is one of my new favorite authors, that's all there is to it. She's endlessly curious, devoted to invertebrates, good at tracking down experts in various fields, and the kind of writer whose books feel like letters from a good friend who is excited to share her latest discoveries.
I read Shrinking the Cat: Genetic Engineering Before We Knew About Genes some time ago and cannot remember much about it except that it was a discussion of the number of ways we've modified the world, that the chapters on cats and apples were especially fascinating (Do you know apples are related to roses? Some wild apple trees have thorns!), and it left a positive impression--enough so that I can't believe I didn't hunt for more Hubbell books then.
Broadsides from the Other Orders: A Book of Bugs and Waiting for Aphrodite: Journeys into the Time Before Bones are both bug books. Good bug books. Each chapter of the books focuses on a particular creature--butterfly, cricket, or sea urchin, and details Hubbell's fascination with the creature and the process of discovery as she learns more about it. The result is not just that one learns a great deal about the invertebrate in question but that one shares the sense of wonder and discovery that goes into the learning.
A Book of Bees: And How to Keep Them interested me less as I do not keep bees nor live where I can, but it was still fascinating to read about Hubbell's work in learning how to keep them, her relationships with her neighbors, and her neighbors' responses to the bees (Though I should warn you here that I may be crossing A Book of Bees with A Country Year mentally. I read them close together).
Conclusion? I'm going to read more Hubbell. I'm going to wish Hubbell had written more books. Even if/when she does write more, I'm going to want more.