• "Impossible to categorize, wildly allusive and always stimulating, Insectopedia suggests an Enlightenment amateur wandering around the world stocking his cabinet of curiosities, unrestricted by notions of disciplines or specializations. Its author is at one moment a scientist in the field, the next an art critic, then an acute historian. His is a disconcerting, fantastical, (multi-)eye-opening journey into another existence."

    Philip Hoare - The New York Times Book Review

  • A "miraculous book ... as inventive and wide ranging and full of astonishing surprises as the vast insect world itself."

    Katherine Bouton - The New York Times, Science Times

  • "Insectopedia combines the close observation of natural science with an unapologetic search for meaning and an untamed sense of wonder. Hugh Raffles travels the world seeking insects and the variety of ways humans relate to them. And what a variety it is! From eating them to befriending them to fearing them to squashing them for sexual kicks, humans have an enormously complicated relationship to the world’s most numerous creatures. Whole sections of this book are astonishing."

    From the Orion Book Award citation - Orion Magazine

  • "Moving books about bugs don't show up often enough. When they do, one has to be grateful. Hugh Raffles' illustrated Insectopedia owes more to W.G. Sebald than Entomology Today. It's a gutsy and surprising work."

    Elizabeth Kolbert -

  • A "big, beautiful testament to the glory of paying attention."

    Anthony Doerr - The Boston Globe

  • "Hugh Raffles’s fluky, perversely appealing collection of essays about his adventures with insects skips from Manhattan’s water bugs to Chernobyl’s mutants, from cricket fights to locust plagues."

    Janet Maslin - The New York Times

  • "The coolest, most beautifully written book on bugs imaginable."

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • "Insectopedia: beauty and horror in the world of insects."

    The Seattle Times

  • "This is not a specialist's handbook, although entomologists would benefit from the deep knowledge in it; this is a fine collection for general reading, and we can't recommend it highly enough."

    The Austin Chronicle

  • "After Traveling the World, Hunting for Bugs in Central Park."

    Ralph Blumenthal - The New York Times

  • "A sparkling whole, a wide-ranging and idiosyncratic survey of a world we all too often scorn or swat. Raffles’ passionate essays provide a fascinating introduction to the incredible intricacy of insect life, hinting at worlds we can only imagine. "

    The Providence Journal

  • "In any competition for the strangest delights of this publishing year, nothing is likely to beat this A to Z investigation of bug-world. It’s a revelation of the world of our fellow creatures ... by a writer whose style is equal to his huge and strange task."

    The Buffalo News - Editor's choice

  • "Raffles' book ... sings with scholarship, deft writing, and an authentic fascination with the six-legged creatures that have so long roamed the Earth."

    Seed Magazine

  • "As Raffles shows our nearby neighbors to be at once dangerous and beautiful, common and incomprehensible, he refracts a world that is newly fascinating."

    Audubon Magazine - Editors' Choice

  • "Erudite and entertaining ... Raffles' eclectic examination of our diverse reactions to bugs, ranging from scholarly and aesthetic awe to revulsion or phobia, is an enthralling hodgepodge of historical fact, anthropological observation, and scientific insight."

    Publishers' Weekly - Starred review

  • "Raffles pries open the mundane details of these intertwined human and insect lives to explore profound questions about the relationships between art and science, humans and animals, passion and instinct, and language and communication. Insectopedia makes us see the world differently - perhaps the most one can hope for from a book."

    Society & Space

  • "While there have been literally thousands of books about bugs over the years, there has never been anything quite like Hugh Raffles' Insectopedia."

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • "A unique philosophical perspective on how humans perceive the world of nature and, by extension, themselves."


  • "Arte, letteratura e scienza: l'orribile fascino degli insetti."

    Antonio Monda - La Repubblica

  • "Maybe the most readable book ever written about insects."

    The Stranger, Seattle

  • "Insectopedia ... crackles with the energy of experience."

    New Haven Advocate

  • "Insectopedia is one of the most remarkable books I have read in a long time. Like its subject, it is many things, all of them fascinating. In Raffles' hands, insects become windows into our culture, science, health, even our psyche. In each page of Insectopedia, the more we learn of insects, the more we come to face - and even challenge - our own views of the world. There have been many books about insects, but Hugh Raffles' work stands alone for what it says about both its subject and about us. After reading Insectopedia, it is hard to look at a cricket, a bumblebee, and a human being the same way ever again."

    Neil Shubin - Author of Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion Year History of the Human Body

  • "Insectopedia: A Q&A with Lucy Tang."

    The New Yorker Online


  • "Stray Questions: for Hugh Raffles."

    Paper Cuts: A Blog About Books, The New York Times


  • "Illustrating the Insectopedia: A Q&A with Parul Sehgal."

    Publishers' Weekly

  • "Hugh Raffles' Insectopedia."

    The Page 99 Test


  • "Art, science, beetles, beauty, miracles, manias, and more - the world itself, dazzling, gleams freshly through Raffles' insect-eyed lens. Every page delighted me."

    Andrea Barrett - Author of Ship Fever and Servants of the Map

  • "Unique beyond imagination. Bizarre. Endlessly interesting, a book that cannot be categorized... You will never forget having read this book."

    The Decatur Daily

  • "An assemblage of 26 offbeat ... and highly original essays and philosophical musings.... This is sure to amuse, educate, raise our hackles, unveil our guilt, and leave us to ponder just who we think we are anyway. For inquisitive adults seeking a mind trip outside the box."

    Library Journal

  • "The Language of the Bees: An Interview with Sina Najafi."

    Cabinet Magazine

  • "Insectopedia: An Interview with Katherine Deane."

    The Hoopoe - A Blog by NHBS

  • "This is not your typical insect encyclopedia."

    Anthropological Quarterly

  • "Insectopedia is a stunning, sensitively written, insightful book that draws together diverse fields and views into a richly complex story about people and the mysterious insects we live with, comfortably and uncomfortably. Raffles set out to write a book about how people learn something new about themselves through relationships with insects, and he succeeded admirably."


  • "Fascinating."

    Time Out New York

  • "To say that this book is original is an understatement.... [Insectopedia] is essential, informative, eclectic, and – best of all – fun."

    Tucson Citizen

  • "A fabulous book."

    Martha Stewart's Living Radio

  • "An outrageously well-writtem piece of non-fiction that reads like literary fiction ... the prose is strikingly beautiful and riotously varied."


  • "Light and lyrical.... Each essay is a treat and a surprise, each one a new and fresh approach to whatever its subject might be."

    New York Journal of Books

  • "Reading Insectopedia is like embarking on a journey through uncharted terrain or even to an alien planet. The essays are surprising, enlightening, poetic and occasionally disturbing."

    Mother Nature Network

  • "A unique and absorbing book."

    Magill Book Reviews

  • "What can we say about nature? Becoming sensitive to the other worlds all around us – of insects, of birds, of plants – we can learn a humility by which we see the interconnectedness of this world."

    Englewood Review of Books

  • Insectopedia will "throw open ... the doors of perception and allow a storm of new ideas to come blowing in, bringing with them the seeds of innumerable further questions."

    The Well-Read Naturalist