** Underbugs by Lisa Margonelli

If you think of termites as disgusting insects that eat your house, Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology may not be your idea of a fun read — but it turns out that termites have fascinating society structures and perform critical ecological services by moving moisture around in their enormous mounds. The book is structured as a series of stories, interactions with various termite-studying scientists over the course of years or even decades, so it’s at the same time easy to read and also quite discursive, with lavish descriptions of the scientists’ private lives and even other project the author-journalist worked on, unrelated to termites. I did not love that. But I learned a lot about termites, who after all know how to create energy from wood, and that’s very cool!

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