Science-minded readers will love ‘Never Home Alone’

Ahhhhh, a quiet night at home.

You’ve been promising yourself that for a long time. A nice dinner. Maybe a movie, or soft music and conversation. It’s gonna be perfect: just you, your beloved and, as in the new book “Never Home Alone” by Rob Dunn, a few billion bacteria, a hundred insects, a parasite or two, and maybe a fungi.

Back when you were a child chances are that you spent a lot of time outdoors getting dirty, sweaty and germy. Todays kids, says Dunn, spend an average of 93 percent of their week inside, in what’s often a place that’s as germ-free as possible. Dunn and his colleagues learned, however, that our homes are actually teeming with life we rarely notice, critters we can’t see and creatures we share without even trying. We live amidst abundant biodiversity and it’s “beneficial to us, necessary even.”

Bacteria, for example, get an overall bad rap. Of all the millions of bacteria known, “Just 50” or so are dangerous to humans; we absolutely need the rest to exist. Without the bacteria in your gut, you’d be in a world of hurt. Without it in your food, some dishes wouldn’t taste as good. Says Dunn, we need bacteria so much that the kindest thing you could ever do to your kids is to let them get filthy dirty or to take a page from the Amish and buy your kids a cow.

Bacteria are everywhere, including space stations, shower heads and that glass of water you just drank. Your house is loaded with fungi that are slowly eating it — so many kinds of fungi that some aren’t even named yet. The average home holds “at least a hundred species of arthropods,” and cockroaches don’t make you nearly as sick as will the people you come in contact with.

So, it’s pretty unsettling to think of those germs in your home, your food and your bed, isn’t it? Argh, what can you do to eliminate the creepy-crawlies that are in, on and around you?

“The answer,” says Dunn,” is that you shouldn’t.”

If you could somehow infuse the curiosity of a 6 year old with PhD-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.

Author Rob 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!” You’ll kind of forget that fear for a moment, you’ll be almost impressed and more likely to relax more and clean less.

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.

More in Life

Living life deliberately | SoHaPP

Bonney Lake resident Sue Z. Hart will be doing some laughter therapy Dec. 8th at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Enumclaw library.

Santa to ride through Buckley

Find out when Saint Nick will be arriving in your neighborhood next week.

This book is sure to put you in the Christmas mood

You thought you knew what was inside the box. Though it was… Continue reading

King County Library’s best books of 2018 | KCLS

From “The Immortalists” to “Dopesick” and even the graphic novel, “Speak,” here are the books you should check out before too long.

‘Real’ Christmas trees are big business, quite a bargain

Here are 10 interesting facts about live holiday trees.

The perfect book to read while snuggling

A dog says “woof.” Cats meow, horses neigh, cows go “Mooooo,” sheep… Continue reading

Photos with your pets and Santa | Tractor Supply Company

Celebrate the holidays by taking a photo with Santa.

Be thankful for your septic system | Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

Have you ever heard of Brown Friday? Many plumbers have.

Dealing with grief during the holidays

The workshop is being hosted at Auburn’s Wabash Church on Monday, Nov. 19.

Photos, maps, fun facts make this book addicting

You know? Of course you do, because you’re no dummy. You’re on… Continue reading

Children’s entertainer Eric Ode to lead workshop

Register now, because space is limited.

Conversations about climate change | Pierce County Library System

Through November and December, various PCLS libraries are offering free climate change-related events and workshops.