Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday book Review


Hey guess what! Science doesn’t have to be stuffy and boring to read at all! For this weeks Sunday book review I present “Parasite Rex” and “The Hot Zone”. A number of years ago I decided to give up reading fiction. When I was younger I really enjoyed reading sci-fi, but once I started studying science I worried that my imagination might get the better of me.

In “The Hot Zone” Richard Preston takes a true story of pathology and writes suspense and character development into it as though it was the work or King or Crichton. Even more striking than fiction though when occasionally you put down the book and it takes a moment to realize “oh shit, this really happened!”. The description of the CDC Hazmat lab is real enough to launch you into the world of the scientists right from the opening pages of the book. Truly consuming.

In keeping with the pathology theme for the day Carl Zimmer’s book “Parasite Rex” explores the life cycles of several different types of parasites, some of which take truly extraordinary journeys through many different phases on the way to adulthood. Now I can hear you reading this, and saying “eww, paracites? Like tape worms? Gross!” Well if you don’t see reading the book for entertainment value, maybe you should read it under the philosophy of Sun Tzu who teaches “Know your self and know your enemy and you need not fear the outcome of a thousand battles”.

Who knows, maybe demystifying some of this stuff might just save your life someday.

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