#NFBookClub The Poisoner’s Handbook Discussion Part 2 and November Read

October 24, 2016 Uncategorized 6


For me, the second half of this book was very similar to the first and equally enjoyable! I hope you’ve all had a good time with it too. I’ve got just a few more questions to wrap us up for the month and then I’ll reveal our November read below.

1. Of the things you learned reading this book, what surprised you the most?

This may be due to my lack of knowledge about science history, but I was shocked that so little was known about toxicology before the 1920s. I would have guessed that scientists would be able to detect poisons in the human body as early the 1800s. The amount of corruption in the government at the time also surprised me and I hope I’m right in believing that’s a far cry from how things are now!

2. Who did you find more interesting, chief medical examiner Charles Norris or toxicologist Alexander Gettler? (credit for question to this Galesburg Library discussion guide)

I included this question because I found it a tough one to answer! I felt that more of Norris’ personality showed through. He was clearly very passionate about improving the medical examiner’s office and was willing to make personal sacrifices to make that happen. On the other hand, I was far more interested in the science than in the political side of things. Had this been a book more focused on science and had we learned more about Gettler, I think he probably would have been more interesting to me.

3. Overall, did you like the book? Would you recommend it to someone else?

I really liked it! I thought it was a nice mix of science and interesting stories that made for an engaging read. I thought it was narrative nonfiction done right, so I’d recommend it as a good story even to people who don’t typically like nonfiction.

Feel free to answer the above questions in the comments or to use the link up below to share a discussion or review from your blog.

[inlinkz_linkup id=672709]

Last but not least, the big reveal! November’s Nonfiction Book Club pick will be….


6 Responses to “#NFBookClub The Poisoner’s Handbook Discussion Part 2 and November Read”

  1. Rachel

    Yippee! I’m totally joining in reading Neurotribes! Glad you liked Poisoner’s Handbook. 🙂 It’s a good Halloween read.

  2. Aylee

    I was also so surprised how little was known about toxicology at that time and how corrupt things were… as I’ve mentioned, I’ve only seen the doc so far, but my overwhelming feeling was that I was so glad not to live in that day and age. There were so little precautions made about dangerous chemicals! Gettler probably fascinated me more in the doc, but I’m looking forward to learning more about Norris when I read the book.

  3. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I found the part about radium poisoning fascinating and alarming. What current health crazes will we find are actually deadly? And it was also so frustrating to read of the indifference of the company that poisoned its workers. Again, something that still happens too often today.

    This was a very engaging read and I learned a lot. Great pick for October.

    • DoingDewey

      Agreed! I can’t believe we spent so long thinking something deadly was actually good for us or how hard it was to create change. I found this book really enjoyable and engaging too 🙂

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