I love books (and conversations) like this one. It shows that there’s a rich and full story behind just about any topic you can imagine. Journalist and author Peter Laufer had just written Mission Rejected about veterans of the Iraq war and soldiers who refused to fight or go back. Laufer was speaking at a book signing and was asked what he’d be working on next. He jokingly said his next project would be about butterflies and flowers, as a welcome respite from researching and writing about war. The event was broadcast on C-Span and Laufer received lots of positive and negative feedback about his Iraq book — and a single email about his flippant butterfly comment. The email was from “the butterfly lady”, an American ex-pat living in Nicaragua, and working as a butterfly breeder. She said “I realize you were joking, but it’s no joke.” She invited Laufer to Nicaragua and helped him begin to uncover “the startling subculture of criminals, collectors and conservationists” invovled with butterflies — which also happens to be the subtitle of his book. Laufer spent almost two years researching and writing The Dangerous World of Butterflies and learned to appreciate the beautiful bugs anew. At the end of the interview, Laufer was reluctant to reply to Bob’s question “what will your next book be about?” so we ask for your suggestions. What should a man who’s covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the start of the AIDS epidemic, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Iraq war and now the dangerous world of butterflies write about next. Share your ideas with us by posting a comment below and we’ll share them with Peter Laufer.
To the right, is “The Explosion Exalted” a 2006 work by “badboy” artist Damien Hirst. It’s made of butterfly wings and household gloss. Hirst has been called a sadist by PETA in part for a previous work which involved butterflies emerging from their coccoons and becoming trapped in paint on a canvas. Hirst’s butterfly works have sold for millions of dollars each at auction. Here’s a link to read more about a recent auction and to see some more of Damien Hirst’s million dollar works.