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 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

Stories of Comfort Food For Cancer

Book review: All the Wild Hungers by Karen Babine (Amazon / Book Depository) Cancer divides – as its very premise, its cells divide, maniacally, so that one rogue cell becomes two becomes a three-pound cabbage-sized tumor. Yet the same is happening inside my sister in a different way, as her child who was once one cell became two cells is becoming a brand new human being we … Continue reading Stories of Comfort Food For Cancer

How the Instinct to Eat Can Go Wrong: Personal Stories of Food Anxieties

Book review: The Eating Instinct, by Virginia Sole-Smith Book Depository Nutrition has become a permanently unsolvable Rubik’s Cube. So we read more books, pin more blog posts, buy more products, and sign up for more classes and consultations. And we don’t realize how many of the so-called experts guiding us through this new and constantly changing landscape are … fighting their own battles with food. … Continue reading How the Instinct to Eat Can Go Wrong: Personal Stories of Food Anxieties

A Cancer Con Exposes the Sick Side of “Wellness”

Book review: The Woman Who Fooled the World, by Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano Amazon The front cover of the book whispered of a back-to-basics approach to wellness, lifestyle and nutrition. Of course, Gibson had no expertise in any such area. But that didn’t matter. Her credentials were listed in the first words of the very first sentence on the back cover. Social media sensation. … Continue reading A Cancer Con Exposes the Sick Side of “Wellness”

Frank Stories of Schizophrenia

Book review: A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise, by Sandra Allen (Amazon / Book Depository) All those fuckers…all of them with their clicking pens and quiet judgment, all of them did not get it. There was something in the sky. This was the best moment of Bob’s life so far. This was when he realized that, no matter what, there was something bigger than all of … Continue reading Frank Stories of Schizophrenia

Put Down the Perfume

Book review: The Case Against Fragrance, by Kate Grenville Australian novelist Kate Grenville had a problem. On book tours, she began suffering crippling headaches and other intense symptoms that she eventually deduced were connected to scents. She realized she was highly intolerant to artificial scents and fragranced products. Scent is certainly everywhere. Even if we choose to use little of it ourselves, we’re still breathing … Continue reading Put Down the Perfume

The Bones of Bioarchaeology

Book review: Built on Bones, by Brenna Hassett Brenna Hassett is a bioarchaeologist. If, like me, you have no idea what that is, it means she studies human bones and remains, such as teeth found in archaeological sites, looking for clues to understanding more about human existence and how it’s evolved through the ages. Her book focuses especially on cities, or our earliest iterations of urban developments, asking … Continue reading The Bones of Bioarchaeology

Images in the Ink

Book review: The Inkblots, by Damion Searls Beginning as a biography of the oft-overlooked Hermann Rorschach, developer of the eponymous psychological and personality test, and becoming a history of the test’s uses and controversies, The Inkblots is a continually surprising, enlightening work of narrative nonfiction. For creating a test so famous that it long ago crossed from the specialized psychology domain into pop culture and household status, little is commonly … Continue reading Images in the Ink

Life at the Bottom of the Glass

Book review: Pour Me a Life, by A.A. Gill (Amazon / Book Depository) Surprised by how much I liked this! I picked it initially because earlier this year I read and loved Sarah Hepola’s excellent memoir Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget, about drinking too much for too long, so I was open to something I thought would be similar. These are quite different … Continue reading Life at the Bottom of the Glass