A Warts-And-All Take On Female Anatomy and Beauty Issues

Book review: Gross Anatomy: A Field Guide to Loving Your Body, Warts and All, by Mara Altman (Amazon / Book Depository) Mara Altman’s Gross Anatomy, a loose memoir told through investigation of myths, practices, and biases around the female body, is a book I ignored on its original publication last August. It seemed guidebook-y or goofy, or just not something I felt all that interested in. Also, … Continue reading A Warts-And-All Take On Female Anatomy and Beauty Issues

Richard Preston Tells Stories from Within Ebola’s Deadliest Outbreak

Book review: Crisis in the Red Zone, by Richard Preston (Amazon / Book Depository) Viruses are the undead of the living world, the zombies of deep time. Nobody knows the origin of viruses–how they came into existence or when they appeared in the history of life on earth. Viruses may be examples or relics of life forms that operated at the dawn of life. Viruses … Continue reading Richard Preston Tells Stories from Within Ebola’s Deadliest Outbreak

A Tour Through the Crimes and Criminals of Belle Époque Paris

Book review: The Crimes of Paris, by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler (Amazon / Book Depository) The disappearance of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre stunned Parisians, who had long dismissed any impossible task with the remark that doing so ‘would be like trying to steal the Mona Lisa.’ The central defining event in The Crimes of Paris, by husband-and-wife historians Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, is the 1911 … Continue reading A Tour Through the Crimes and Criminals of Belle Époque Paris

12 Mid-Year Favorites from 2019’s New Nonfiction

What’s the best nonfiction you’ve read so far this year? Any standouts yet? Looking back from the halfway point, I think it’s already been a pretty good year for nonfiction. In no particular order, here are my favorites from the new nonfiction published in the first half of 2019. Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer – Random House’s chief copy … Continue reading 12 Mid-Year Favorites from 2019’s New Nonfiction

Epidemiology in Tijuana: Drugs, Death, and Tracing an Epidemic

Book review: City of Omens, by Dan Werb (Amazon / Book Depository) Perhaps epidemiology could reveal the hidden structures lurking just beyond reach, like asbestos behind wallpaper. Those structures might manifest as cruel calamities – car crashes, murders, HIV infections – that at face value appear unrelated. If that were the case, these women were not victims of a textbook epidemic, driven by an infectious … Continue reading Epidemiology in Tijuana: Drugs, Death, and Tracing an Epidemic

Narrative Nonfiction Classic on Ebola’s Origins

Book review: The Hot Zone, by Richard Preston (Amazon / Book Depository) Nature is anything but simple. This emerging virus was like a bat crossing the sky at evening. Just when you thought you saw it flicker through your field of view, it was gone. Richard Preston’s 1994 bestseller about the origins of Ebolavirus and early outbreaks, The Hot Zone, has been criticized for inaccurately depicting … Continue reading Narrative Nonfiction Classic on Ebola’s Origins

The Inflamed Brain and The Unreliable Narrator

Book review: Brain on Fire, by Susannah Cahalan (Amazon / Book Depository) The mind is like a circuit of Christmas tree lights. When the brain works well, all of the lights twinkle brilliantly, and it’s adaptable enough that, often, even if one bulb goes out, the rest will still shine on. But depending on where the damage is, sometimes that one blown bulb can make … Continue reading The Inflamed Brain and The Unreliable Narrator

Breaking Down the Bad Science of Food and Diet Fads

Book review: The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating, by Anthony Warner (Amazon / Book Depository) I am a chef with a passion for cooking, a background in biological science and a fascination with the way our diet affects our health. I have been down the rabbit hole, transported into a world of strange pseudoscience, arbitrary rejection of modernity and dangerous … Continue reading Breaking Down the Bad Science of Food and Diet Fads

A Forensic Anthropologist on Her Life’s Work in Death

Book review: All that Remains, by Sue Black (Amazon / Book Depository) As the product of a strict, no-nonsense, Scottish Presbyterian family where a spade was called a shovel and empathy and sentimentality were often viewed as weaknesses, I like to think my upbringing has made me pragmatic and thick-skinned, a coper and a realist. When it comes to matters of life and death I harbor … Continue reading A Forensic Anthropologist on Her Life’s Work in Death

A Life-Saving Medical Treatment, Both Cutting-Edge and Historical, Succeeds Where All Else Failed

Book review: The Perfect Predator, by Steffanie Strathdee and Thomas Patterson (Amazon / Book Depository) In November 2015, globetrotting epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee was on vacation with her husband, psychologist and psychiatry professor Tom Patterson, exploring pyramids in Egypt when Tom fell suddenly and violently ill. They initially suspected food poisoning, but it quickly became clear that something more sinister was at work. In a Luxor … Continue reading A Life-Saving Medical Treatment, Both Cutting-Edge and Historical, Succeeds Where All Else Failed

Disaster and After: A Chernobyl Deep Dive

Book review: Midnight in Chernobyl, by Adam Higginbotham (Amazon / Book Depository) Senior Lieutenant Alexander Logachev loved radiation the way other men loved their wives. So begins Adam Higginbotham’s exhaustive account of the April 1986 Chernobyl disaster, recounting a blow-by-blow of the unfolding incident and the monumental effects of the aftermath, amidst the context of Soviet politics and the USSR’s place on the world stage. … Continue reading Disaster and After: A Chernobyl Deep Dive

Highly Anticipated: 14 New Nonfiction Titles in 2019

As the year comes to a close, I’ll leave you with another look to the future and what’s new in nonfiction in 2019. Wishing you a happy, healthy year ahead, and the most heartfelt thanks to everyone who reads and discusses here. Your engagement means so much to me. Here’s to another year of enlightening reading, sharing ideas and thoughtful discussions around all the wonderful … Continue reading Highly Anticipated: 14 New Nonfiction Titles in 2019