Never Home Alone by Rob Dunn is a fascinating look at the smallest and most often overlooked inhabitants of your home. Dunn takes us on an adventure into a secret world in our own homes, where he uncovers the vast variety of life that exists there. He begins with a brief history of microbiology and introduces the early pioneers of the field. Then, he takes on common tasks such as interacting with our pets and nurturing sourdough starters and reveals the complex relationships these scenarios have with common microorganisms – some of which have huge implications for human health and well-being.
Through captivating stories and vivid descriptions, Dunn shows how our homes are full of microbes, parasites, and bugs – many of which significantly impact our day-to-day lives. From the little mites that live on our skin to the microbes present in our guts, Dunn teaches how important these microorganisms are in a way that is conversational and easy to understand. His writing is very accessible to non-scientists and sprinkled with humor, making the book both educational and entertaining. I found the book to be the perfect complement to quite a bit of my heavier reading for the classes I take for my environmental science program (especially since I’m taking microbiology this semester – fun fact, did you know that up to 3% of your body weight is bacteria?!), in a much more relaxed format. It isn’t easy to get pleasure reading in while working full time and going to school, but a book that spans both relaxation reading and school content really is ideal for me! The footnotes and references are sure to spark additional reading, too – my copy of the book has many highlighted portions to go back to so I can do some additional reading and research! One of the most interesting topics (and maybe scary too) was the potential link between toxoplasmosis and mental health – it was really fascinating to do some extra research on. While there are certainly such bacteria that we want to avoid, we tend to go too far in the opposite direction and kill off the beneficial bacteria that are critical to good health – an important topic that Dunn touches on throughout the book.
“Never Home Alone” is a must-read for anyone interested in the natural world – and in this case, you don’t even have to venture out of your home to explore! Dunn’s insights into the hidden world in our homes will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the microscopic life around us.
Here’s what I’m reading now:
- The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle: an excellent collection of study, practice, and focus tips for achieving all sorts of goals. Recommended by my good friend and belly dance teacher!
- Sword of Destiny: Book Two from The Witcher series – love this immersive fantasy series and I can’t wait for the next season of the show!
- The Power of Awareness: a quick but impactful read on positive mindset and manifestation from Neville Goddard.