Wednesday, 24 December 2008

What I've been reading

Image of the book cover
The Single Helix
by Steve Jones

"From chaos in the heavens to the fight against creationism, from optical illusions in tartan to the mathematics of elections and what rules the sex lives of cats, The Single Helix is a scientist's look at sciences other than his own - and as a result its author has been forced to make the complicated simple enough for even a biologist to understand."
This is like a book of short stories: there are a hundred articles of about three pages each, picking on random scientific subjects and offering a few nuggets of information. Easy to read, enjoyable too, but ultimately for sharing, not for keeping and re-reading.

Image of the book cover
I Think There's Something Wrong With Me
by Nigel Smith

"On 15 November 2001, Nigel Smith was rushed to hospital with a brain lesion so big the radiologist thought the scan had been taken post-mortem. In the months that followed, there were times when Nigel wished it had been. He’d never needed a life-shattering illness to teach him that he should have spent more time smelling the roses."
Black humour at its blackest. You know that an extended stay in hospital will be unpleasant, undignified, painful and depressing, and not just because of the illness you've got. He does give us some of the gruesome stuff. We often consider blindness, deafness, being unable to walk as being serious disabilities; he is unable to swallow, and therefore condemned to never eat again. And while it's a relatively happy ending, it's not sugar sweet.

Note: no concessions to the festive season on THIS blog, I'm revising today, hence the early post. I think Mr A is probably taking it easy.

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