By Juli Berwald,

Book cover of Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

Book description

"A book full of wonders" —Helen Macdonald, author of H Is for Hawk

"Witty, insightful. . . .The story of jellyfish. . . is a significant part of the environmental story. Berwald's engaging account of these delicate, often ignored creatures shows how much they matter to our oceans' future." —New…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Spineless as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Jellyfish may be lacking bones, blood, and brains, but they are full of mystery.

To me, the most compelling narrative nonfiction tells something about the author as well as their subject, becoming part memoir while explaining the research process.

I read this book as research for my nonfiction children’s book on jellyfish, but I learned so much more—about the worldwide jellyfish research community, the past and future health of our oceans, both the perils and possibilities of ever-increasing jellyfish populations, and Juli Berwald’s journey to reclaim her love of the ocean.

Discover some cutting-edge science and marvel at these simple…

As much memoir as natural history, Spineless is an artful example of intertwining the two. Berwald makes the evolution and environmental adaptation of jellyfish fascinating; but what struck me most was her candid, even courageous, description of her route to becoming a scientist and the way in which serious, focused exploration of the natural world can guide and stabilize one’s personal life. The book has one of the most arrestingly beautiful covers I’ve ever seen.

From Sandy's list on the amazing world of coral reefs.

Whenever I read a book about animals, I always enhance my craft by paying attention to how the writer expands and deepens our knowledge about each particular species, especially when the species seems to be as uninteresting as a jellyfish. But, as it turns out, jellyfish are anything but uninteresting. Juli Berwald takes this little-known creature and enlivens its presence with us here on earth through her in-depth discussions on such topics as jellyfish reproduction, encounters with wild jellyfish, and an investigation into just how they may impact life on land. She even manages to blend in bits of her…

From Leigh's list on encounters with wild animals.

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