Reading

Nonfiction November – Week 2

Week 2: November 10 to 14

“Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).”

Science and Medicine

I love science and medicine books. I’m not sure if this normal behavior or just for those of us in those fields.

Science, a History, 1543-2001Science, a History, 1543-2001 by John Gribbin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is probably my oldest unfinished book. I loved learning about the older scientists. I find people fascinating who decided to make it their life’s work to figure something out because they were astoundingly rich so they didn’t have to work to survive and had people for all the mundane stuff of life. I lost interest in this when it got to the 1970s and it was more about research teams. It lost the personal touch.

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS EpidemicAnd the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the story of the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States.  It is an amazing and frustrating story of inaction on the part of the governments, confusion on the part of researchers, and heroics on the part of individuals in the heart of the epidemic.  How did they figure out that this was a virus and how it was transmitted?  How did they get the word out?  How did the politics of sex hurt the science?  This is an amazing book (the miniseries was great too) written by a man who would eventually die of AIDS himself.

The Emperor of All MaladiesThe Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book describes itself as a biography of cancer.  It tells the story of how cancer has been handled from ancient times until now.  It is fascinating enough that I listened to this long book on audio and it kept my interest.  Learn about developments that made previous death sentences into manageable chronic diseases and why some cancers still can’t be treated.

My Medical TBR List

I just found a list on Goodreads on hundreds of science and medicine books. From just the first two pages I added these titles to my list.

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human PandemicSpillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen

Everybody always blames the animals.

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical VirusRabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik

I spend a good part of my day preventing rabies so this would be an interesting read for me.

The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our HistoryThe American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History by Molly Caldwell Crosby

I don’t know much about Yellow Fever but have heard it mentioned in a some books lately like Tomlinson Hill.

 

Hippocrates' Shadow: What Doctors Don't Know, Don't Tell You, and How Truth Can Repair the Patient-Doctor BreachHippocrates’ Shadow: What Doctors Don’t Know, Don’t Tell You, and How Truth Can Repair the Patient-Doctor Breach by David H. Newman

It amazes me what people will accept from their human doctors that they would never tolerate from a veterinarian’s office.  For example, people routinely talk about not getting into a doctor’s office for months but let a vet clinic say they can’t get you in in the next hour and all hell will break loose.

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the PresentMedical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington

I know about the STD experts and the sterilizations but I have a feeling that it got much worse.

The Family That Couldn't Sleep: A Medical MysteryThe Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery by D.T. Max

Prions – the stuff behind kuru and mad cow.  Interesting little buggers.

The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New YorkThe Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum

Forensics – ruining people’s alibis

 

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in HistoryThe Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry

I’ve heard some stories about this but it would be interesting to hear the whole story.

13 Comments

  • Lu

    I have heard amazing things about And the Band Played On and The Emperor of All Maladies. I own The Emperor of All Maladies, so I have no excuse! Some of those medical books would definitely terrify me, but they all sound like fascinating reads. Have you read Parasite Rex? Absolutely required reading!

  • Savvy

    I read Emperor of Maladies and included it on my best of list earlier this month. All of these books sound fascinating and hope to read them in the future. Perhaps this is the topic I wish to read more about.

  • Trish

    I don’t read books like these often but I do enjoy listening to them (I find it easier to listen to nonfiction than to sit down with them). I listened to STIFF last year–about human cadavers and I’m currently listening to one called The Disappearing Spoon about the periodic table of elements. I have Emperor of Maladies and keep meaning to listen to it! Another that I have on my list is The Human Body by Daniel Lieberman. I’ll be checking out some of these others!

  • trav

    I am officially going to have to bump “The Emperor of Maladies” to the top of the TBR pile. You gave it 5/5 stars & everyone else is still raving about it too. It must really be good. Thanks for compiling this list. There are quite a few I have not heard of. Have a good month!

  • Ann @ Books on the Table

    I don’t think it’s weird to like books about medicine and science — I’ve been somewhat obsessed with them since childhood, and I’m not in the field. I highly recommend The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, and My Own Country.

  • Holly @ GunInActOne

    I don’t think medical books is an abnormal topic, and I am not at all in the medical field! I have been meaning to read the Emperor of All Maladies FOREVER, and I also have a book about Typhoid Mary on my TBR list. And now I might have to add a few more of your suggestions!

  • bookmammal

    And The Band Played on is a wonderful yet very frustrating and angering book. I’ve read it a couple of times and it never fails to evoke extreme emotions. The movie version was pretty powerful, too.

  • Becca Lostinbooks

    I like medical history and science too. Maybe it is because I have several chronic illnesses, because I was never good at science lol. Medical Apartheid looks good, and so does And the Band Played On and The Emperor of All Maladies.

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