This one tucked beneath my chin for instance, The Evolution of the Insects by David Grimaldi and Michael S Engel, consists of a hefty 650 of glazed colour pages, and at a matching hefty price (rightly so because it must have been expensive to produce) is beyond my budget. So I am grateful that Cheshire Library Services were able to borrow it for me from a neighbouring county... and that I have it until 9th June to give it back - which seems like ages away.
It is gorgeous - picture after picture of fossilised insects and then, almost interleaved with this, map after map of where the continents were ...when this hapless insect became entrapped in resin and hopelessly exuded her eggs; this nest of bees became inundated with lime; that mayfly ended its short life on clay; a beetle tumbled head-over-abdomen into a bog, or a mammoth, having eaten a nourishing meal of botfly pupa somehow was overcome by cold. All these small misfortunes are here, all this life and death - and all the while these continents rumble around the globe, making their small incremental shifts from where they were then to where they are now.
I leaf through, and another, smaller time passes. Dinner remains uncooked and the editing on my desktop is untouched since lunch-time. Until at last, eventually and guiltily, I put the book away - promising it for myself as a treat later...