Posts Categorized: Science

Review: Brain on Fire

November 2, 2016 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 14

Review: Brain on FireTitle: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Author: Susannah Cahalan
Source: Library
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Summary: This was an amazing mix of clear, informative journalism and moving, emotional memoir.
“When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened? In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Cahalan tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.” (source) Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: Grunt

June 7, 2016 Humor, non-fiction, Science 18

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: GruntTitle: Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
Author: Mary Roach
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a slightly more depressing topic than Mary Roach’s previous books, but it delivered all the same great elements – fascinating facts, hilarious commentary, and delightful footnotes.

Grunt tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces us to the scientists who seek to conquer them” (source). And if you’ve read a book by Mary Roach, that’s probably all you need to know – maybe more than I needed to know. Mary Roach’s amazing ability to find the best fun facts and quirky stories, then present with great candor and humor are enough that I’d read on any topic she wants to write about. Read more »

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Want to Understand GMOs? First Read The Gene

June 1, 2016 non-fiction, Science 13

Want to Understand GMOs? First Read The GeneTitle: The Gene: An Intimate History
Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee
Source: NetGalley
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Although this lacked The Emperor of All Maladies‘ focus on moving human stories, it was one of the most ambitious yet accessible books I’ve ever read on the history of genome editing.

Throughout history, our understanding of heredity and the gene has become more precise and more nuanced. As a result, our ability to manipulate the genes of other organisms and eventually our own has increased as well. In The Gene, Siddhartha Mukherjee places our current genome editing abilities in the context of this history and insightfully presents both the promise of these abilities and the potential results of their abuse. Read more »

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Nonfiction About Death and Medicine in Mini-Reviews

July 30, 2015 non-fiction, Science 16

Nonfiction About Death and Medicine in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Author: Mary Roach
Source: Bought
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

 

It took Mary Roach giving a talk in Syracuse, NY to get me to finally pick up one of her highly praised books. I’m happy to confirm, it was as awesome as everyone says! Roach has an incredible talent for finding the interesting in the ordinary. She made me think about things I already knew in new ways and taught me more fun facts than I know what to do with. I was particularly impressed by her ability to pursue interesting digressions without derailing the story. I also thought she did a great job being funny, without being irreverent to the dead. I will strongly recommend against reading this while eating. It’s not for the faint of heart! The worst parts for me were some the animal experiments, which I did sometimes think included inappropriate humor. Everything else about this was wonderful though and I can’t wait to start her Packing for Mars for the Nonfiction Book Club this weekend! Read more »

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Review: A Deadly Wandering

June 18, 2015 Biography, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 8

Review: A Deadly WanderingTitle: A Deadly Wandering
Author: Matt Richtel
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Although the science and citations weren’t as detailed as I’d have liked, this book was a profoundly moving and enjoyable read.

This is a story about something that could happen to any of us if we’re not careful. This is a story about the sometimes deadly consequences of texting and driving. This is a story about Reggie Shaw and how he caused an accident that killed Jim Furfaro and Keith O’Dell, both fathers and rocket scientists, because he was texting while he drove. Through extensive interviews with Reggie, his family, and the families of Jim and Keith, the author shows the impact this accident had on their lives. He also explains the science that makes texts so hard to ignore that many of us choose to text and drive, despite knowing that doing so is dangerous. Read more »

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Five Things You Should Know About Antibiotics: A Review of 10% Human

May 30, 2015 non-fiction, Science 22

Five Things You Should Know About Antibiotics: A Review of 10% HumanTitle: 10% Human
Author: Alanna Collen
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This book was fascinating and informative, so full of fun facts that I wanted to take notes on nearly every sentence.

The title of this book, 10% Human, refers to the fact that for every cell in your body, there are nine microbes living in your gut. Your health can be influenced by these microbes in surprising ways. From your weight to your immune system, to your mental health and choice of partner, your microbes can affect every aspect of your life. By influencing your gut microbiome (the microbes living in your gut), antibiotics may play a surprising role in your health. Here are some interesting things this book taught me about antibiotics:
Read more »

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So What’s the Deal With Bitcoins? A Review of Digital Gold

May 25, 2015 History, non-fiction, Science 11

So What’s the Deal With Bitcoins? A Review of Digital GoldTitle: Digital Gold
Author: Nathaniel Popper
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: Like all my favorite narrative nonfiction, this book told a great story about fascinating people while teaching me something new.

If you’re like me before reading this book, you’ve heard of the digital money called Bitcoin only when it’s gotten negative press. Honestly, after hearing about many people losing the money they’d invested in Bitcoins, I thought this experiment was dead. I was still fascinated to learn about it though and especially about the people behind Bitcoin. As the subtitle indicates, this group included a wide variety of people, from millionaires to social revolutionaries, from hackers to drug dealers. Like most narrative nonfiction I love, it was the way the author told these people’s stories that made this a great read for me. Read more »

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Nonfiction Book Recommendations: Mother’s Day Edition

May 7, 2015 History, Narrative Non-Fiction, Nature, non-fiction, Science 30

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a bit tired of all the Mother’s day book recommendation lists that focus on traditionally “girly” books. Many include no nonfiction, with the possible exception of a few memoirs, almost always by women. In order to do my bit to get rid of gendered genres, I’d like to recommend some fantastic nonfiction books on the basis of your mother’s possible interests, not just the fact that she’s a woman.

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Dataclysm

October 28, 2014 Memoir, non-fiction, Psychology, Science 19

DataclysmTitle: Dataclysm
Author: Christian Rudder
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summary: This was a very light, accessible look at data analysis which answers some interesting, but often obvious, questions about how we date and how we describe ourselves online.

As one of the creators of the dating site OkCupid, author Christian Rudder has a fascinating dataset to play with. In combination with data acquired from other data-collecting websites (Facebook, Google, etc), he’s able to ask and answer some very interesting questions. For instance, who do people want to date? And, more interestingly, how does this compare to who they say they want to date? Does the way people describe themselves and the way that people respond to them vary by ethnicity? By age? Even questions that people might not answer accurately can begin to be answered here.

Read more »

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Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine

October 7, 2014 Humor, non-fiction, Review, Science 12

Generic: The Unbranding of Modern MedicineTitle: Generic
Author: Jeremy A. Greene
Source: Edelweiss
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Summary: Generic was written in a fairly dry way, but the material was interesting enough to make it an enjoyable read.

Generic drugs are a generally accepted part of medicine, but this wasn’t always the case. Throughout the history of generics, both scientists and politicians have struggled to decide what makes two drugs substitutable, while both generic and name-brand drug companies have tried to influence their decisions. This book describes the rise of the generic and all of the fascinating political, social, and scientific debates that led to their general acceptance. Read more »

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