Poison, Prohibition, and the Beginnings of Forensic Medicine

Book review: The Poisoner's Handbook, by Deborah Blum (Amazon / Book Depository) The Poisoner's Handbook came up in Nonfiction November last year, when Silver Button Books mentioned it as an exceptional example of nonfiction that reads like fiction. I was surprised, as I wouldn't guess a book involving chemistry in any form would be so readable,... Continue Reading →

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Malcolm Gladwell’s Take on Stranger Dynamics

Book review: Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell (Amazon / Book Depository) We think we can easily see into the hearts of others based on the flimsiest of clues. We jump at the chance to judge strangers. We would never do that to ourselves, of course. We are nuanced and complex and enigmatic. But the... Continue Reading →

A Sociologist Explores “The Science of Fear”

Book review: Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear, by Margee Kerr (Amazon / Book Depository) Last year I'd read enough spooky nonfiction to make a list for October, but this year I didn't have enough appropriate titles to compile one (though you can also terrify yourself by just browsing the "true crime" tab). But the positively wonderful... Continue Reading →

Amateur Sleuths and the Unidentified

Book review: The Skeleton Crew, by Deborah Halber (Amazon / Book Depository) Chances are good that you or someone you know has at one point stumbled over a dead body. There are shockingly large numbers of them out there. According to the National Institute of Justice, America is home to tens of thousands of unidentified... Continue Reading →

Into the Underworlds

Book review: Underland, by Robert Macfarlane (Amazon / Book Depository) What happened here? The mouth of the chasm says nothing. The trees say nothing. Leaning over the edge of the sinkhole, I can see only darkness beneath me. British author Robert Macfarlane's Underland is a difficult book to describe or do justice to. It's more of a... Continue Reading →

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