I was recommended this book by my mother, an ardent gardener and lover of nature. From the start I was curious about it, and over the course of her reI was recommended this book by my mother, an ardent gardener and lover of nature. From the start I was curious about it, and over the course of her reading it she shared many little tidbits here and there that only further piqued my interest. I was lucky enough to grab it from the library shortly after she finished the book, and together we've now embarked on our own minor mission to discover an American Chestnut in the wild. Only time will tell if we'll be successful. This is the sort of passion that this book has the ability to evoke, though. I firmly believe it will soon create a new generation infected with a brand of chestnuttiness.
The story of the American Chestnut is not a particularly singular story. Other trees and species have followed a similar fate, and therein lies the strength of the story itself. What the chestnut has that other plants and species do not, is an intrinsic weaving of its life with our own, and an all too quickly forgotten fate. This is a fascinating story, a very human story, and one that will ultimately affect how restoration and conservation goes in the future. Will the American Chestnut be brought back? I have faith it will, and that the passenger pigeon will as well. The question, however, is in what form will these things be brought back? It made me incredibly happy that Susan Freinkel discussed that issue in detail. It's one that will soon (hopefully) be a more common discussion.
This book is fascinating and really heightened my interest in trees and the complexities of them. Forestry, by its nature, is complicated and I'm glad that the author really discussed how vital every part of the ecosystem is to restoration. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone - it has within it the chance to start some important discussions that more people should be participating in.
I, for one, look forward to the full return of this species....more
My interest in Through the Language Glass came from a conversation with a friend about how the color blue was relatively recent 'invention.' This wasMy interest in Through the Language Glass came from a conversation with a friend about how the color blue was relatively recent 'invention.' This was not that the color blue didn't exist in antiquity, but rather that it didn't go by that name. How then, did the ancients view blue? How did they view colors? Like most things, there's a book for that.
Through the Language Glass not only delves into the complicated world of how language and culture affects how we organize colors, and perhaps even how we see them, but also how the science of how we perceive color and name it developed over time. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is also delved into, as are the multitude of problems with it and where they just may have gotten things right. This book is dense with information, riveting in what new discoveries and alternative hypotheses it discusses, and rife with good humor.
While this book was a dry read at times, it was one I could not put down for the sheer interesting nature of all it discusses. It's a shame that so much of these topics have yet to be thoroughly discussed, but this book seems to be bringing glad tidings of a shift in focus that is more welcoming towards how culture affects language and perception....more
The three star rating is in no way meant to disparage this book. This was, in fact, a fascinating and highly enlightening book. The only reason for aThe three star rating is in no way meant to disparage this book. This was, in fact, a fascinating and highly enlightening book. The only reason for a less than four star rating came largely from the fact that I found the final portion of the book (focusing on the the 'medicalization' of the penis and the erection industry) far more boring than the previous sections. I will say that I enjoyed the alternative view to the prevailing one - that by focusing on the ED drugs we're losing the more complex aspects of relationships and that problems may eventually arise due to it - but the mechanics and drug focus just somewhat lost me.
A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis was an incredibly enlightening read. It traces not only the history of our understanding of such a singular organ, but arguably more importantly the changing views society had towards it over time. This results in a book that begins with the Greeks and Romans, threads through the Church and the various ways religion changed how we viewed our sexual selves, the racial, the Freudian, feminist, and eventual medical view of the penis. This book was fascinating, funny, and altogether a lens through which I never quite thought history would or could be viewed. Who doesn't giving a different perspective a try?
Ultimately this book left me with a far broader cultural understanding than I expected it to. It gave me a new way to view history, a new interest in gender studies, and a better understanding of ultimately how little the sexes understand one another. We all have a tendency to oversimplify our sexual identities, and we risk losing a part of ourselves in the process. By the end of the book, it seemed to me that a little of each perspective was the best way to view everything. It's not wholly psychological, physiological, religious, scientific, political, or racial anymore than a person is. We're left with the same mystery we started with, but there is little wrong with that....more
This book is fairly self-explanatory. Written by Jolie Kerr of the Ask a Clean Person podcast and column fame, this book attacks the most common (andThis book is fairly self-explanatory. Written by Jolie Kerr of the Ask a Clean Person podcast and column fame, this book attacks the most common (and lewd) of cleaning issues with optimism and humor. Contained within these pages are a myriad of helpful hints, always written with frugality and functionality in mind. This is truly an invaluable guide for twenty-somethings, but honestly anyone and everyone can use it.
The book contains handy charts and chapters divided up primarily by the room that it would be tackling. It's easy to use for reference while going around the apartment (as I used it), but also fine for taking notes for future cleaning endeavors. It's a handy reference, a hilarious and helpful read, and slim enough to fit into a purse or apron if you're on the go.
One of the other things I greatly appreciated about this book was her willingness to offer alternatives to bleach, while still being honest about the drawbacks of not using a bleach product. Honesty is appreciated, and she has that in spades....more
I've been eagerly awaiting this book since I first became aware of its release, which was likely due to Daphne's review. Cannibalism is an undeniablyI've been eagerly awaiting this book since I first became aware of its release, which was likely due to Daphne's review. Cannibalism is an undeniably fascinating subject, and Bill Schutt tackles it with grace and humor, as long for a disdain for the sensationalism that has too long colored all publications on the topic. The book was fascinating from cover to cover, and is extremely well-organized. It begins with the study of it in the animal kingdom, and ends with the much needed topic of prion diseases, their spread, and how poorly understood they are.
Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History is destined to become the go-to book on the topic. Well sourced, entertainingly written, and scattered throughout with just enough humor and a large dose of respect, it does its topic justice. Bill Schutt writes with a deft hand that does much to dispel many of the sensationalized myths that surround some of the better known cases (i.e. Donner Party, Praying Mantises, Black Widows, etc.) and does a good job explaining topics that have never really gotten enough focus (i.e. prion diseases, kuru) or have suffered from the wrong type of focus.
This book was immensely readable, and more in depth and well-sourced than I expected a pop-science book to be. It definitely opened my eyes to the complexity of the topic, and added to disdain I already felt towards one Jared Diamond and his tendency to over simplify nearly everything. I'm very much looking forward to more being published in regards to the Neanderthal hypotheses presented in this book, as well as for more studies being done on the truly terrifying prion diseases. Nothing terrifies me more than the section on prion diseases in this book, and what it may hold in store for our future....more
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Mindfulness in Motion offers not only a scientific look at why meditatiI received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Mindfulness in Motion offers not only a scientific look at why meditation is effective, but also an in-depth guide into motion-based meditation to aid in your everyday life. While many understand that meditation does work and have a variety of benefits to those who practice it, people still don't practice it. Why? It's difficult for many to focus on the mind so adroitly, and often times people are too busy or restless to sit still for long periods in such a manner.
Mindfulness in Motion offers a solution to these problems. Dr. Russell explains that it is possible to practice meditation without needing to sit still and clear the mind. It's possible to reap the same benefits of traditional meditation through motion-based meditation. Rather than sitting still, you can practice slow controlled movements and focus the mind upon the motion. Furthermore, motion based meditation can aid in emotional healing in a way that traditional mediation doesn't always do.
The claims the book makes are grand, but all well-sourced and often quite logical. Dr. Russell takes the time to explain the science behind each exercise in a way that is easy to understand without sacrificing the specifics. I found myself fascinated by the book, and actually practiced many of the exercises listed within it. It's surprising, but the effects are easy to feel and experience. I can definitely see how this could hugely benefit a person is practiced long term....more
Suspicious Minds by Rob Brotherton is an interest, slightly irreverent, study of what makes us believe what we all too often believe. From the harmless suspicious tendency to roll a pair of die gently in order to achieve a low number, to the paranoiac belief that the government is out to get you, to the all-encompassing conviction that interdimensional shape-shifting reptiles rule to the world - we all have some tendency towards superstition and belief in conspiracy theories. The why we believe what we believe can actually be more troubling and interesting than the what we believe. Unless it's dealing with interdimensional shape-shifting aliens. Those are probably the most creative.
See, the Queen's a reptilian. You can tell by the eyes.
Suspicious Minds may not have been as in-depth as I would have liked it to be, but it was still a very interesting book. The beginning is a brief history of conspiracy theories, meant to show that this style of thinking is endemic to the human condition rather than a more recent phenomenon bolstered by the internet and the now pervasive globalism. The history was fascinating, and at times mildly disturbing. I was especially thankful for the in-depth discussion of the Protocols of Zion after Dan Brown and Holy Blood, Holy Grail had popularized a new resurgence in belief that those are anything but a hoax. Hopefully this well-documented history of the forgery will put some of that to rest.
Following the history of conspiracy theories the book delves into what a conspiracy theory is exactly (and decides that an important facet of it is that it isn't and likely won't ever be proven) and then the hallmarks of conspiracy thinking. The bulk of the book is devoted to the hallmarks of conspiracy thinking and how every one of us is given to it to a certain extent.
The book is a good example of pop-science, without being erroneous. It's well-researched, intriguing, and would benefit greatly from a more in-depth bibliography in the back. I think that this is a good introduction to the subject overall - though perhaps the section regarding echo chambers was handled a bit more deftly by Jon Ronson in So, You've Been Publicly Shamed. It's still a valuable topic and an interesting book. I'm glad I read it....more
I picked this book up on a whim at my local library, and soon discovered it was already on my to-read listing. Clearly, this was a fortuitous sightingI picked this book up on a whim at my local library, and soon discovered it was already on my to-read listing. Clearly, this was a fortuitous sighting.
This book was incredibly fascinating. Others have complained about the surfeit of speculation within it, and I will agree that there is a lot of speculation, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you pick it up as a relative newcomer to the Bog Body phenomenon, I feel this book has a lot to offer and a lot of fascinating insight into the not all that distant past. The photographs, at the very least, are worth quickly thumbing through the book to see. They're truly breathtaking.
Ultimately, I think my favorite part of the book was the utter respect with which the author treated the subject. At no point do the Bog Bodies become some freakish display, they are always human. It's important that we respect the past, and the bits of life that were managed to be reconstructed with startling things.
We may never know why the bodies were put into the bogs, why the ritual sacrifice (if it was such) occurred. But we can wonder, and we can do our best not to forget those we find, and what their last moments must have been like as they sunk beneath the surface, trapped forever somewhere between life and death....more
Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle by Douglas J. Emlen is a delightful enlightening read. Douglas J. Emlen focuses on many unusual animals, rather than focusing upon the typical big cats, wild dogs, and dinosaurs. The main thrust of his book is the insects - beetles, flies, and other such forgotten creatures litter the pages with their bizarre adaptations and startlingly complex behavior. The times when the author is writing about these are the best part of the book - he thrives in descriptions of the unusual, and the pages fly by.
The book never became boring, but the transitions were largely bizarre to me, which in turn affected some of my enjoyment. While I agree that there are rather clear parallels between human weapon development and animal evolution - and that the case presented was a good one - I think it was clumsily written. Transitions could have been handled better, but overall that wasn't so jarring as to heavily impact my rating of the book.
In spite of the small gripe in terms of transitions, the book was wonderful. The contents were fascinating, the arguments presented well thought out, and the illustrations provided by David J. Tuss truly stunning. The illustrations, two of which adorn the cover, are fantastic and playfully done without sacrificing detail or scientific accuracy.
Last year I received Resurrection Science as an ARC from Netgalley and eagerly devoured it. This book was released around the same time, but I was unLast year I received Resurrection Science as an ARC from Netgalley and eagerly devoured it. This book was released around the same time, but I was unable to get my hands on it until the local library carried it. I'm quite happy that I was patient enough to get it, as the book was an incredibly rewarding read.
Resurrection Science focused primarily upon the ethical side of de-extinction. It went into the various types of extinction, their causes, and whether or not bringing them back in an abbreviated fashion - forever in captivity, unable to be reintroduced - is that fair? How to Clone a Mammoth touched upon these aspects briefly, but failed to really address those aspects of de-extinction in a satisfactory way. Ultimately, however, that is all right. It addressed other aspects of de-extinction quite beautifully.
How to Clone a Mammoth concerns itself with the scientific and practical aspects of the process. The author, Beth Shapiro, is intimately involved with Revive & Restore - one of the small number of groups championing de-extinction as a way to revive lost ecosystems and aid in encouraging biodiversity where it has been lost. She goes into detail about the importance of de-extinction on that front, and in turn, how the public often views it differently.
The book is a good work of lay-science, perhaps a bit more sophisticated than Bill Bryson's work in A Short History of Nearly Everything but nothing that should put a more casual reader off. She covers the more complex science well, but focuses mainly upon dispelling myths and practical solutions to the problems that may arise.
Personally, being deeply interested in de-extinction and believing in it as a possible solution to some environmental problems, I loved the work. While I do see its capacity for causing potential issues, I ultimately think it will be good - particularly when it comes to places like Pleistocene Park. I hope to see many more books tackling these issues in the near future, and look forward to eventual headlines trumpeting the return of the mammoth. Even if it's simply, in truth, only an elephant with some mammoth genes. :)...more
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was phenomenal. M.R. O'Connor did an excellent job of eI received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was phenomenal. M.R. O'Connor did an excellent job of examining not only the question of extinction and the controversial subject of de-extinction, but of asking the very uncomfortable question 'What is a species worth?' What is it that makes a person decide that one species is worth saving over another, and is saving a species from extinction truly a worthwhile endeavor? Does everything have an intrinsic value?
The book is divided into 8 chapters, each focusing upon a different species either going extinct, or possibly being revived. For those interested the subjects of the chapters are as follows: Spray Toads Florida Panthers White Sands Pupfish Northern Right Whales Hawaiian Crow Northern White Rhino Passenger Pigeon Neanderthal
Each species discussed raises a different question regarding the course of extinction and conservation. Should we save or protect a species if doing so hurts the human community around it? At what point of hybridization does a species stop being what it originally was? If human interference is largely responsible for the differences between a species that has been fragmented - are they still the original endangered species? What can we do to protect endangered species we know very little about? What if breeding a creature in captivity ends up erasing the very behaviors that were the hallmark of the species? Would reviving a species artificially result in the same species? Is conservation on the ground more worth it than rescuing the genetic data?
These questions and more abound, and are examined from all angles. The result is a book that looks at the ethical questions beyond conservation in a way that I've seldom seen discussed. This book is vitally important, engaging, and thought provoking. I would like nothing more than to see this book in the hands of everyone involved in the environmental movements. It asks uncomfortable questions and raises troubling points that need to be raised.
I can't emphasize enough how much I adored this text....more
This book was purchased as a surprise for my boyfriend, combined with Absolute Transmetropolitan as late birthday gifts. Only late due to their releaThis book was purchased as a surprise for my boyfriend, combined with Absolute Transmetropolitan as late birthday gifts. Only late due to their release dates, I should add. It's a signed copy, which means it has a pretty ridiculous squiggle in it. So. There's that.
The actual book proved quite surprising. I didn't expect it to offer as in-depth as sociological analysis as it did. The book was littered with interesting information, extensive references to studies and papers that had been done, and generally fun anecdotes from the experiments that Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg did themselves.
If anyone has looked into these topics before there won't be a terribly great deal of new information. Passionate vs Companionate love forms the basis of a lot of the books arguments, which at least to me is always quite interesting. The particular views of technology are interesting as well - as for once technology isn't viewed as either universally good or bad but rather as a tool that can be properly utilized to gain good results. Nice.
Some of the information in the book was in Ansari's most recent stand-up routine, but it hasn't gotten old for me yet. I enjoyed the humor, and think that it translated well to the page. It forced me to do a few double-takes as I was reading, when a humorous aside jumped into more serious text. It only became grating once or twice, and far more often got a real laugh from me. The full color pictures were beautifully printed and jumped off the page. It was nice to have a book that integrated them into the pages rather than having a few glossy pages in the middle. Well worth the money.
So, if you like Aziz Ansari's stand-up as well as sociological kind of pop-sci texts you'll like this. It's a weird niche, but I'm sure some people occupy it with me....more
When picking up Oliver Sacks it's important to realize that you're reading a medical text. The accountI kept getting strange looks while reading this.
When picking up Oliver Sacks it's important to realize that you're reading a medical text. The accounts you're looking at are medical cases, with only a marginal effort made to edit the language to something easier for the layman. Which is to say, these books can be rather dull. If you go in expecting that, however, they can be informative and interesting reads.
I learned a lot about the nature of hallucinations and the misconceptions that exist surrounding them. I learned that most people hallucinate, in one way or another, and that it's rather normal. I also learned how incredible complex our nervous systems are, and in particular our optical centers. Really, really interesting stuff. It's no wonder it breaks down now and again.
I also learned that it's incredibly unfair to introduce a Doctor fftych in a section dealing with textual hallucinations. How is that an actual name?...more
I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The Eastern Coyote is a fascinating creature, and one well worth deeper study. This book, while poI wanted to like this book so much more than I did. The Eastern Coyote is a fascinating creature, and one well worth deeper study. This book, while portending to be about just that, in truth was more about the symbolic nature of the creature than anything else.
The book spent far too much time focusing on Catherine Reid and why she wanted to see a coyote, than what the actual coyotes were like. While, yes, she was an interesting person and the symbolic value of an animal is a beautiful thing... I would have much preferred a more scientific or anthropological study of the animal in question. In short, I wanted this book to be to coyotes what Barry Lopez's Of Wolves and Men was to wolves.
This book did manage a fair bit, though. Though in a less interesting way than Daily Coyote did. Catherine Reid did a good job of talking about the designation of Eastern Coyote as a species, and how wolves and coyotes have interbred to a degree in the past. She explained how they managed to carve out a niche and maintain it even in the territory of bigger better predators. I wish it had been a bigger bit of the book....more
Recently I attacked the non-fiction section of my library, focusing primarily upon the sections devoted to biology, zoology, and cognitive ethology. TRecently I attacked the non-fiction section of my library, focusing primarily upon the sections devoted to biology, zoology, and cognitive ethology. This was one of the stranger books I picked up there. It looked amusing enough, though not terribly indepth. The title made me laugh, and well, the cover left a bit be be desired... Unfortunately, so did the book.
This book was comprised of a series of lists of odd animal behaviors and why they might act that way. It was written in a conversational manner, each little tidbit followed by an incredulous explanation that tried just too hard to be funny. Let the animals speak for themselves, or their behavior do it for them. No need to throw in puns, amazed silences, or a shrug of the shoulders. Quite frankly, the book came off as mildly insulting. A bit like the friend who just doesn't know when to stop making jokes to fill in what otherwise would have been a companionable silence...
The book would be great for younger children. Maybe middle school or so? It'd probably cause them to want to read more about animals and their behavior, and they might be in a better range to appreciate the humor. As for me, well... Nil nole sub sole. Most of the facts I already knew, and what I did learn didn't particularly surprise me....more
I've previously read A Prickly Affair by Hugh Warwick, as well as a handful of articles on the animals by him. While A Prickly Affair focused primarily upon the habits of the European Hedgehog and the need for conservation, Hedgehog focuses far more upon the cultural significance of the animal. The book is organized into sections detailing the hedgehog in literature, in film, in music, in mythology, etc. In short, hedgehogs have been insinuated themselves into our lives in more ways that one might expect!
This book is notable for showing a change in heart in Hugh Warwick as well. Previously the author viewed African Pygmy Hedgehogs in the pet trade in a derisive manner, and this book definitely softened that harsh edge. It wasn't an apology, per se, but rather a clarification of his perspective on the manner that was easy to understand. As African Pygmy Hedgehogs get more and more popular as pets (and more and more domesticated) the European Hedgehogs get pushed aside. The lessening of focus on the European Hedgehog has lead to a lessening in their conservation efforts, which is problematic in places where they're soon to be extinct in urban areas - such as England, Denmark, and Norway. Understand also that urban areas are where hedgehogs tend to thrive and you'll see why this is worrisome, and why The Disappearing Hedgehog is an apt name for one of their conservation efforts.
While the future is still rather shaky for the European Hedgehog, this book is a wonderful testimony to the charm that they have and the love that they elicit from people. They're a truly wonderful species, and this book highlights that beautifully. ...more
Hugh Warwick has managed to write a book that is simultaneously informative and deeply entertaining. His passion for the humble hedgWhat a great book!
Hugh Warwick has managed to write a book that is simultaneously informative and deeply entertaining. His passion for the humble hedgehog shines through in every page, and it's impossible to not have some of that rub off on you while reading this book. Indeed, it's impossible not to fall a bit in love with the animal the second you 'do the nose to nose thing' with them.
The hedgehog is an inherently silly animal, but there's something in its industrious and utterly benign nature that attracts both passion and obsession. There's something fascinating in the tiny creature, and what a joy it is to witness that love ignite in everyone I introduce the spiny beasts o. To see those emotions beautifully highlighted in someone else's words is heartwarming. To see it paired with a deeper scientific understanding of the animal was plain beautiful.
I've already passed this book on to two other people, and I honestly can't wait to encourage still others to read it. Save the hedgehog, save the world as the author put it. Any way an animal can be better loved and understood is a good one, and I've seen firsthand how passion for one creature can extend to all the others in our lives....more
Jerry Langton decides to delve into why rats have been around for so long, how they coexist with us, and why people decide to have tOH NO, NOT RATS!!!
Jerry Langton decides to delve into why rats have been around for so long, how they coexist with us, and why people decide to have them as pets. He does so with a distinct anti-rat perspective on the world, and a disturbing unwillingness to ever waver in his opinion or seek out people who think differently than himself. That, my friend, is why the book failed for me. The inherent prejudice against rats and rat-owners that permeated every page and the outright disgust that just saturated his language. That was why it got the dreaded one-star.
Langton has some interesting history of rats, he follows the basic run down of "this is why rats are interesting" that any writer would. Their ribs can collapse being the main fact that seems to shock him. He discounts their inherent intelligence when just about all scientific papers rate them as among one of the most intelligent animals out there, and he counts them as viscous and ready to attack when even the rat hunters he talks to admit that they only do so when disturbed. It's disturbing, just not in the way he meant it to be.
The true failing of this book, however, was the way that he wrote about rat owners. I've owned rats in my time. I found them to be very clean, very affectionate, curious and entertaining pets. I was only ever bit by a rat once, and that was when I startled him and truly deserved it. Langton puts rat owners into two groups: people owning a rat for the novelty and attention seeking deviant nature of it, and people owning rats as an apology to the species and taking it on as a burden. What the hell? What about people who just genuinely like the animal and what it offers...? Nevermind the fact he characterized the first group as being largely obese women with multiple piercings and or tattoos. Just... why?...more
I got this book through Netgalley for reviewing, and boy am I happy I did.
Fox Talk is a fantastic children's book that delves into the topic of domestI got this book through Netgalley for reviewing, and boy am I happy I did.
Fox Talk is a fantastic children's book that delves into the topic of domestication in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. They actually talk about the Russian Fox Experiment, how domestication affects not only behavior but actual genetics, and how you can assess these facts and animal intelligence for yourself.
The topic, while complex, is laid out very well and further resources are also offered throughout the book. The nature of exotic pet ownership is examined in a respectful way that acknowledges both the pros and cons and explains just why legality can come into question.
This is a book that I look forward to using someday for my own educational outreach, and is definitely one that I'll refer many people to while I work in the exotic animal field.
Five stars, no question. I'm so glad that this book came my way. :)...more
I got this book at the Darnestown Presbyterian church bazaar last year, along with a few others. The book was in fairly good condition, and on intriguI got this book at the Darnestown Presbyterian church bazaar last year, along with a few others. The book was in fairly good condition, and on intriguing enough a topic for me to be eager to read it and see just what new information I might learn.
As previous reviewers have noted, this book is charming from the outset. It's dedicated to a group of schoolgirls who wrote the author inquiring for more information about the bog bodies. The author wrote this book by way of offering it up to them - a long letter of sorts. This book is focused firmly in facts, and for the Iron Age civilization draws heavily from Tacitis's Germani, within reason. It's less speculative than the other book I read on the topic, but is charming for its straightforward approach.
The pictures would've benefited from a color release, but are startlingly vivid even in black and white. Apart from a few typos the translation was great. The book was nowhere near as dated as I expected it to be. I found myself rather liking the Nerthus hypothesis in the end....more
My GoodReads used to be filled with strange non-fiction books about a variety of topics. While today it is more fiction, I am looking forward to gettiMy GoodReads used to be filled with strange non-fiction books about a variety of topics. While today it is more fiction, I am looking forward to getting back into the nitty gritty non-fiction that is my ultimate love and joy. The Hot Zone is a book that I've wanted to read for a while, and the (relatively) recent Ebola outbreak in the US only further whetted my appetite to dive into it. I got to picking it up rather a long while after that outbreak, but since I never grew up reading this book in High School this was a better late than never case. Man, I'm glad I got a chance to read it.
The Hot Zone tells the story of an Ebola outbreak in Reston, Virginia, in the late 1980s. The book traces the history of the filovirus, the attempts to discover how it spread, and how it was contained once it hit American shores. The book, while scientific, reads like the best thriller. It's a mystery where lives are on the line, a tale of discovery, and more often than not far gorier than the worst horror film you've ever seen. This book was disgusting and fascinating, and I had difficulty putting it down. It taught me more about viruses than I ever expected to learn, and I'm glad I learned it all. I want to read more medical thrillers now, but I have difficuty imagining them measuring up to the horror of this book.
I'm glad this is required reading in most High Schools, and I hope it stays on those lists. Until another book about Ebola comes out to deal with a more recent outbreak, perhaps......more
The Dead Sea Scrolls are something that truly fascinate me. There's so much speculation about the community that wrote them, so much sheer oddness wheThe Dead Sea Scrolls are something that truly fascinate me. There's so much speculation about the community that wrote them, so much sheer oddness when it comes to what the Essenes believed and preached. It sheds new lights about just how different the religious communities were then.
This book goes into the history of the scrolls discovery, and what was known at the time of publication about the community that wrote them. It was a fascinating read, though of course now a bit out of date. I still would recommend it to anyone interested in the scrolls, as any information is still good information in my estimation. It was by no means a dry read....more
Steven M. Wise lays out the case for increased rights for animals from a scientific standpoint. Bit by bit he examines the cognitive abilAmazing book.
Steven M. Wise lays out the case for increased rights for animals from a scientific standpoint. Bit by bit he examines the cognitive ability of various animals (honeybees, dogs, great apes, birds, and cetaceans) in a rather rigorous and thorough way. He doesn't shy away from controversy (though he failed to bring up some of the questionable claims involving Koko) where it arises (especially in the case of the care of dolphins) and meets a lot of the questions that would be raised head-on.
While Steven M. Wise makes an excellent case for animal rights, he also acknowledges the trouble it will take to put those rights in place. He acknowledges and even postulates why people find it hard to grant rights to animals, and compares it rather compellingly to the trouble America had in granting both slaves and women increased rights in their respective times of emancipation.
Fascinating read, highly recommended to anyone and everyone who has ever loved a pet....more
This is the sort of book I'd want to give to my future children. This book explains, bit by bit, the archaeological practice of unearthing lost citiesThis is the sort of book I'd want to give to my future children. This book explains, bit by bit, the archaeological practice of unearthing lost cities. Each section details a different ruin, how it was discovered, what processes allowed us to date it, translate languages (in the case of ancient Egyptian writing), and so forth.
This book, published in the early '60s, is outdated, but for a children's book it is still fantastic. There is no talking down to the child, and while the language is 'easier' it is still technical enough that a kid could go on to fully understand more complex books.
Going into this book I knew nothing about NMO and nothing about Victoria Jackson or Ali Guthy. LeavingI won this book through the first-reads program.
Going into this book I knew nothing about NMO and nothing about Victoria Jackson or Ali Guthy. Leaving this book, I knew a great deal more about all of the above topics.
I'm rather reluctant to give books that I received for free poor ratings, and generally all books begin as three star books for me. As I read the book, it either increases in rating or decreases in rating going along. For me, unfortunately, this book was mostly a one star book. I gave it two stars because at least I learned a decent amount about the disease and how foundations are formed.
I found the book difficult to get through, over all. The story was told through two POVs, the mother and daughter, and would switch as often as just after a few paragraphs. Both people wrote in either present tense or a very passive voice, which grated on me as I read. The very casual voice didn't help matters either, and the puns (and apologies for puns) also induced more eyerolls than chortles. I would have preferred a more honest voice, as these came off as rather put-on to me.
The final straw, for me, was how congratulatory the people were. Barely a page went by when someone wasn't talking about how amazing the other people were. Even when they were complaining about one another they were still saying "I know that ___ is a truly amazing person, a superhero even..." and that gets rather old rather fast. It's all right to be mad at someone, it's all right to hate someone for a while, everyone does. Just let it out!
Also, if you didn't get a college degree or graduate high school, you only need to point it out once. You don't need to keep reminding us of it and how it's amazing that you're digesting medical jargon. Your daughter is in trouble, we get that that is an amazing incentive....more