This book narrates a year-long quest to see Britain's rarest and most remarkable moths.
This book coaxes moths out from the darkness and into the daylight; Much Ado About Moth-ing reveals that moths are so much more attractive, approachable and astonishing than butterflies--with richer tales to share, from migratory feats through mastery of camouflage to missives about the state of our planet. This book seeks to persuade the skeptical, the fearful and the unaware of the unexpected beauty of these misjudged insects.
The author, James Lowen, makes a case for moths by recounting a suitcase full of journeys across Britain over the course of a calendar year. Britain has a lot of moths--40 times more species than butterflies--so rather than try to see them all, James pursues quality over quantity, prioritizing our scarcest and most special species. His travels extend from the Isles of Scilly to northernmost Scotland. More than any other animals, moths demonstrate a very precise determination of place – one species, for example, rarely ventures more than 10 meters from the place it hatches as a caterpillar. Accordingly, this book drinks in the landscapes where moths reside. It's also a book about people--James meets moth-fans wherever he goes, be they expert entomologists, professional conservationists or amateur "moth-ers." He asks why they love what many people choose to hate, and how moths impact their lives. Through the filter of moths, he explores the concept of obsession, both in other people and, as the year progresses, in himself. This will be a book not just about moths, or about moths and place--but about moths and place and people.
A counterweight to James's expeditionary travels is his suburban garden. James and his young daughter measure the seasons by the moths that come and go, for perhaps the greatest virtue of moths--paradoxically, for those who consider them invisible--is their accessibility. Moths are everywhere, but above all they are here, and what's more, they'll sit calmly on a fingertip, providing first-hand amazement to children and adults alike like no other animal.
James Lowen is an award-winning author specialising in travel and natural history, with two of his books receiving the accolade of Travel Guidebook of the Year. He also writes for publications such as The Telegraph, BBC Wildlife, Nature's Home and The Countryman.
A childhood exploring the Yorkshire coast inspired a lifelong passion for all things natural. As a teenager James was stalked by a jaguar while surveying birds in South America. In his twenties, he interspersed advising the UK Government on environmental policy with intensively exploring the tropics. In his thirties, he guided ecotourists around the polar regions before returning to Britain to combine writing with raising his daughter. In his forties, having long disdained moths, the scales fell from his eyes and his life changed forever.
jameslowen.com / @JLowenWildlife
“If moths mean nothing to you, opening this book is like stumbling from a dark street into an unexpected party. Here is colour, wonder, surprise – and fun. A jolly, generous, kind-hearted host, James Lowen unveils a splendid serving of moth intoxication!” - Patrick Barkham
“Charming and awe-inspiring. Whether you love or loathe moths, this book is for you.” - Kate Bradbury
“Whether recounting nights spent searching for moths amid the heather or relating an autumn dedicated to the perfect blue of Clifden Nonpareil, this boy can write!” - David Gedge
“Thoroughly recommended ... let James Lowen show you that moths are deserving of everybody's attention.” - Birdwatch Magazine
"I loved this book…and the author writes with real passion and insight about these lovely insects. After 40 years of mothing, the book brought a new interest and rekindled my old excitement of finding a new moth." - Adrian Spalding, Atropos
“With prose as rich and velvety as a Black Rustic’s wings, in Much Ado About Mothing James Lowen shines a welcome light into the hidden world of Britain’s moths, those consumed by their beauty and conservation, and the places upon which they depend. Their stories are remarkable and, in this delicious book, Lowen serves them with the relish they deserve.” - Jon Dunn
“Gloriously uplifting, hilariously eccentric; a big warm hug of a book written straight from the heart. Moths at their most inspiring, nature writing at its finest.” - Helen Pilcher
“James Lowen's year-long quest to find Britain's rarest and most remarkable moths seeks to persuade the sceptical, the fearful and the unaware of the sheer unexpected beauty of these largely misjudged insects.” - Roger Butler, The Great Outdoors
"This is a book full of enthusiasm and erudition." - Adrian Spalding, Atropos
"James Lowen confesses his love affair with some of Britain’s most overlooked creatures – and, in doing so, reveals the wonder of moths. A delightful book, packed with passion and fascinating detail." - Stephen Moss, naturalist and author
“Using clearwing pheromone lures and light traps, sleeping in cars, shivering on mountainsides, or clambering down precipitous gorges, Lowen brings a charm and wit to these close encounters [with moths], making them personal and intimate, and a delight to read.” - Richard Jones, Royal Entomological Society
“Written with craft and class […] The ride is as mad as a moth’s meanders.” - Dominic Couzens, author and journalist
“Written by someone who so ably conveys his passion, Much Ado About Mothing is an enthralling 20-chapter celebration of these winged insects. Accompanied by his abiding enthusiasm and wonder, Lowen's writing is entertaining, packed with descriptive prose and fascinating facts about his quarry.” - Josh Jones, Birdwatch
“Thoughtful but witty, erudite but accessible and beautifully crafted.” - Nick Acheson, naturalist and conservationist
“Enjoyed reading this enthusiastic romp through the British countryside searching for moths.” - Richard Lewington, wildlife artist
“In his wonderful new book, Much Ado About Mothing, James Lowen, challenges all those dusty preconceptions about moths […] it will astonish and intrigue even the hardiest of mottephobe, I am sure. And, remember butterflies are just one group within the moth family… and who doesn’t like butterflies?” - David Bradley, writer and wildlife photographer
“As a book on moths, it is unique and unrivalled.” - John Feltwell, Wildlife Matters
“Lowen reports on his explorations in vivid prose, and his use of British slang will have American readers running to their dictionaries. Such is Lowen's enthusiasm that he even converts his preteen daughter to his passion. Amateur entomologists will find this a fascinating, evocative armchair guide.” - Booklist
“This book is an excellent, well-written, informative, read, which I recommend highly.” - Rob Grimmond, Somerset Moth Group
“James has a great way with words and brings moths to life, from the tiniest micro to the largest macro [...] At the very least, Much Ado About Mothing will be on your list of Christmas presents.” - Dave Grundy, Comma
“A charming new book.” - John Ingham, The Daily Express
“This journey introduces the reader to many astonishing species, and along the way we meet a broad range of people that share Lowen's passion for recording and conserving moths, including his young daughter who is also utterly enchanted by them […] good PR for moths.” - Ashleigh Whiffin, BBC Wildlife magazine
“He writes with gleeful enthusiasm and a passion bordering on obsession about his mothy subjects […] I really enjoyed reading this and it makes me want to go out and get a moth trap.” - Paul Cheney, HalfManHalfBook
"A story of discovery and adventure that is equal parts informative and delightful. If you’re a moth hater we are confident this book will change your mind – or, at the very least, give you one more reason to care about habitat restoration." - Rewilding Magazine Canada