Never Home Alone
15%
off

Never Home Alone : From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live

4.04 (106 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?

Description

It's the dream scenario for many of us after a long week: having the house completely to ourselves. No partners, no parents, no kids, no pets. But as we settle into the couch, something stirs: maybe a mouse darts out from under a cupboard, or a fly buzzes lazily past the window. We're not actually alone at all. Until quite recently, no one had taken the life that lives with us very seriously: until Rob Dunn and his team decided to take a closer look. Upon investigating the terra incognita of our homes, they discovered that there are nearly 200,000 species living in our bedrooms, kitchens, living areas, bathrooms, and basements. Some of these species can kill us. Some benefit us. And some seem simply benign. But almost all of them were completely unknown--and they've been living alongside us the whole time.

In Never Home Alone, biologist Rob Dunn takes us to the edge of biology's latest frontier: our own homes. Every house is a wilderness--from the Egyptian meal moths in our cupboards, to the camel crickets living in the basement, to the antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus waiting on the kitchen counter, thousands of species of insects, bacteria, fungi, and plants live literally under our noses. As we have become increasingly obsessed with cleaning and sterilizing our homes and separating our living spaces from nature, we have unwittingly cultivated an entirely new playground for evolution. Unfortunately, this means that we have created a range of new parasites, from antibiotic-resistant microbes to nearly impossible to kill cockroaches, to threaten ourselves with. At the same time, many of the more helpful organisms--such as microbes that can protect us from autoimmune diseases or promote healthy digestion, or the centipedes that can hunt down those pesky roaches--are caught in the crosshairs. If we're not careful, the "healthier" we try to make our homes, the more likely we'll be putting our own health at risk.

A rich natural history and a thrilling scientific investigation, Rob Dunn's Never Home Alone shows us that if are to truly thrive in our homes, we must learn to welcome the unknown guests that have been there the whole time.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 158 x 242 x 36mm | 540g
  • BASIC BOOKS
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 23 Halftones, black & white
  • 1541645766
  • 9781541645769
  • 115,467

Review Text

"Utterly fascinating... a spirited romp through the vast diversity that inhabits our daily lives and how we've changed our ecosystems, often for the worse."-Washington Post
show more

Review quote

"If you could somehow infuse the curiosity of a 6-year-old with Ph.D.-level intelligence, imagine what wondrous things you could learn. Or why not make it easier on yourself, and just read Never Home Alone. Yes, that delightful, open-minded gee-whiz is exactly what makes this book so enjoyable. Surprisingly, it's doubly so for a germophobe, an arachnophobe, or anyone who can't stand the idea of intruders. Dunn has a way of brushing fears aside so he can tell you about something that's too cool to miss, or a fact that makes you say, 'Wow!'... Science-minded readers will love this book. It's filled with things you'll want to know for the health of it. Really, for anyone who's alive, Never Home Alone is a book to share with a few million of your newest best friends."--Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez columnist "In his fascinating new book...Mr. Dunn brings a scientist's sensibility to our domestic jungle by exploring the paradox of the modern home.... Mr. Dunn also gracefully explains, without getting bogged down in details, the technology that has allowed scientists during the past decade or so to sequence the DNA of millions of previously unknown microbes, making his book an excellent layperson's guide to cutting-edge research."--Wall Street Journal "A lively compendium of hard science, anecdote, history, and personal memoir.... Something of a scientific raconteur, Dunn tells his story of the macro and micro biome of our homes in a colloquial...stye that makes the heavy science go down easy."--Shelf Awareness "Crammed full of eensy-weensy tales of wonder from the insect world.... On virtually every page, readers learn about these marvels and their potential applications so the benefit of humans, all of it written with the bounce and insight of a true believer...[a] hugely important book."--Open Letters Review "An entertaining tour of the biodiversity found in one of the fastest-growing biomes: indoors... This book will be enjoyed by biologists but also general readers with an appreciation for nature."--Library Journal "Intriguing... Seen through Dunn's curious eyes, a house becomes not just a set of rooms, but a series of habitats to be explored. His writing and research lend a new appreciation of what many of us consider pests."--Science News "[A] fascinating and illuminating book... Dunn and his colleagues have used the concepts and techniques of community ecology to tease apart the functioning of a mostly ignored ecosystem: the human home. Their research enriches our understanding of ecosystem function, and--more grippingly--gives us insight into how our interactions with living things in the domestic habitat affect our health and well-being."--Nature "Scintillating... In a time of clear-eyed assessment of the environment, Dunn is a voice of reason who should be heartily welcomed."--Booklist, starred review "[An] intriguing and captivating scientific detective story...Dunn eloquently observes that many species we find in our homes have value to us."--BookPage "Of course we must chlorinate our water, wash our hands, get vaccinated, and so on, Dunn argues persuasively and entertainingly. But we also need to relax and cultivate biodiversity for the good of all life on Earth."--Kirkus Reviews "Never Home Alone is a superb guide to your own house--a place that is home to hundreds of thousands of species--a far richer habitat than even the largest backyard. This riveting and surprising book is one of those rare volumes that will make you gasp out loud on almost every page, and phone your friends to report stunning fact after stunning fact. Thank you, Rob Dunn: I love our house even more now I understand it shelters multitudes of fascinating (and mostly benevolent) living creatures."--Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus "Delightfully entertaining and scientifically enlightening... [Dunn] makes a compelling case for the value of biodiversity, while also conveying the excitement of scientific investigation, demonstrating that important discoveries can be made very close to home."--Publishers Weekly "A Brooklyn couple visiting the West told me, 'We don't do nature.' Today, I'm sending them a copy of Rob Dunn's Never Home Alone, with this note: 'Nature made you, so roll in the dirt, open the windows, get a dog. Change your showerhead, but don't kill your spiders. And read this terrific book at once.'"--Dan Flores, author of Coyote America "If you truly want to know yourself and be amazed, get to know your ecology. This charming book shows how important and fun it is to discover the astonishing world of marvelous and unseen creatures around us. You'll never take a shower again in the same way!"--Daniel E. Lieberman, author of The Story of the Human Body "Rob Dunn is a brilliant explorer of the strange, mostly uncharted biology of our homes and bodies. This must-read book is full of astonishing stories, skillfully told."--David George Haskell, author of The Songs of Trees and The Forest Unseen "If you're looking for a guide to the teeming, tiny, tenacious creatures that share our bodies, our homes--and may one day well inherit our planet--you could not do better than this fascinating book by Rob Dunn."--Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook "In Never Home Alone, Rob Dunn reveals the unseen wilderness that surrounds us every day. This book will change the way you think about everything from dust to spiders to showerheads--a fascinating and highly recommended read!"--Thor Hanson, author of Buzz, Feathers, and The Triumph of Seeds
show more

About Rob Dunn

Rob Dunn is a professor in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University and in the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen. He is also the author of five books. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
show more

Rating details

106 ratings
4.04 out of 5 stars
5 31% (33)
4 51% (54)
3 10% (11)
2 7% (7)
1 1% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X