Kenneth Setzer

The spider in my bookshelf or the well-read arachnid

It seems a spider has taken up residence among some of my books. Last night before bed, I crawled into the space between my bookshelf and bed to look for my next read. What to choose? Nothing too specific now. Just finished a work on Humboldt. Maybe general travel and exploration?

Crouching now on the floor in that little space, I inched to the lower end of the books at hand, bottom shelf. A nice dark, dusty space. What to read next?

There between a colorful tome on the history of steam trains across America and the book on ancient Ginkgo trees I spied an eight-legged boarder. Not a spider precisely. I think it’s a harvestman, an arachnid. It bobbed up and down to warn me not to disturb it. He or she I cannot know.

It’s a dusty area. The realm of spiders and harvestmen. I smiled and moved on, realizing it was kind of nice to know it was there, just literally hanging out amongst the literature. Then again, it is earning its keep as a boarder by hunting and consuming other creatures, many of which would harm my books.


Silverfish—I kind of have a soft spot for them—are primitive little insects without any wings. They eat paper. I normally wouldn’t mind, but not the paper of my books. So spidey will I hope keep them in check. Now roaches, they also can eat paper, glue, bookbindings. But spidey won’t allow it. Not to worry too much anyway, since roaches prefer damp, rotting wood and vegetation, not the printed word.

Arachnid book-guarding services aside, I couldn’t evict—no less kill—a creature choosing to live amongst, surrounded by, books. I envy it that actually.

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2016 by in arthropods, books, literature, natural history, writing and tagged , , , , .

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