Wednesday night saw the launch of Lisa Ann Gershwin’s latest book ‘Jellyfish – A natural history’. Described as a coffee table book it is really more than that. It has the impression of a coffee table book, in that it is beautifully published with absolutely stunning photography and a gorgeous layout. It’s coffee table book sized, not too big, not too small, just the perfect size for either holding and flicking or resting on the table with a more slow page turning action. However it has something else, it has a whole lot of really rad stuff about our cnidarian friends, or foes, depends how you look at them, and which ones you look at.
You can learn a bit about almost everything to do with the world of jellyfish. From their ecology and role in the world, to reproduction and cloning, fossilised versions, taxonomy, evolution and more. This is what I love the most about this book, and wish that there were more books in the world like this about everything else in the world. It is easy to read, easy to understand and is factually accurate. There are no boring bits, a bit like the author really… Of course you are probably thinking that I am totally biased because Lisa is a good friend of mine, which I could understand you thinking that. Trust me when I say if this book was utter crap, I probably wouldn’t say it was because that would not be nice, but I also definitely wouldn’t say it was wonderful. I stick by that saying “if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all”, well most of the time I stick to that. Sometimes I do say if things are crap…
It made me so happy to see so many people turn out for the launch and support Lisa. I met a lot of wonderful people tonight, and seriously, the crotchet gang and their amazing wooly jellyfish were amazing! Lisa is truly an exceptional woman, one who, if I hadn’t met, would not be back finishing my science degree. I probably would have just hummed and ahhed and let it sit and get stagnant. She has been the one who has helped me get this far, especially when shit got hard and I got frustrated and stressed out about potentially failing. Helping me learn how to study well, understand how to face exams better, and of course opening my brain to the world of jellyfish and other wonderful marine creatures. Her passion for it all is just a beautiful thing to experience. It is unstoppable. Science isn’t just a job for Lisa, it is life, it is everything to her and it is an infectious attitude. I know that if I start to feel un motivated or un inspired by something I am studying at the time I just need to hit her up for a chat. By the end of it I remember why I am doing it and how much there is to learn and how exciting that all is. Inspiration and motivation restored.
Science should be honoured to have such a talented,intelligent and inspirational communicator in its mist. Tonight demonstrated that. A scientific coffee table book, guaranteed to spark a flame in many a budding biologist, perhaps some that don’t even know they are yet. My 5-year-old son Charlie has been declaring his love for jellyfish. We helped Lisa with making a heap of chinese lantern jellyfish to decorate the bookstore for her launch. Both him and Erika adore the new book. Of course Charlie just loves the photos, not being able to read yet and all… He even got into drawing some jellies, one which graced the signing table tonight and made he super chuffed!
Now go forth and learn about jellyfish… there is a lot more to them than you can imagine!
(Todays post was bought to you by the word ‘inspirational’)
If you are in Hobart, head down to the Hobart Bookshop in Salamanca square and pick yourself up a copy. They did such an amazing job hosting the launch! If you aren’t in Hobart then just go to your local bookstore, or hit up google 🙂