October 25, 2013

Footnotes: A love story.

You realize that you're a nerd when you get excited for a book with footnotes. The probably with this particular book was that the footnotes were actually endnotes which meant a lot of page flipping which I found tedious and annoying. I have to say though that this minor inconvenience was the only issue that I had with Blood Work. As you know already, I'm a huge fan of scientific nonfiction and this definitely fit the bill (with a side of history and murder to make it even better!). Learning about the history of something (blood transfusion) which I've never given much thought about was more engrossing than I had originally anticipated. Tucker made great use of resources to paint a vivid picture of Parisian life (specifically among scientists and academics) in the 17th century. The conditions of the time which included religious bias and political favor (or disfavor) effected any advances that were being attempted by the scientific community. In fact, because of the events which unfolded in this story there was no experimentation whatsoever regarding blood transfusion for over 150 years. It was essentially a dead end that no one dared to attempt (or even cared to attempt). For anyone who's interested in either history or science this book will be ideal for you (and it's a quick read!).

I'm trying to get to my backlog of books which range from earlier this year to many years ago that I haven't gotten around to quite yet. Next up on the "to read" list is The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll. According to a well-known author, "The Land of Laughs is a book for anyone who has ever believed that a favorite book could be a safe place to go when things get hard." When a book has a blurb from Neil Gaiman you know it's going to be a good one. From the title, you'd think that this was a book full of comedy. However, it's actually the story of two people who go on a quest to write a biography of their favorite children's author which leads them on a frightening journey of discovery AND self-discovery. Just because you wish you could immerse yourself in your favorite storybook world from your childhood doesn't mean you'd really jump at the chance to do that if you could. Imagine the frights which would greet you there!

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