Sunday, March 29, 2009
What I'm Reading Now
Hopefully I'll get back in sync with the group before long. But for now I'm off on my own tangent. Thought I'd let you know what I've picked up to read lately and see if anyone else might want to come along for the ride.
I'm reading The Great Influenza by John Barry. I'm just getting started, but so far it has been a facinating read. Meticulously researched without too much technical jargon, this book gives the history of how medicine evolved as a science and describes the social, political, and biologial confluence of events that came together in the terrible flu epidemic of 1918 that killed more people than World War I and more than we have lost to AIDS. In just one city (Philadelphia - the hardest hit) in Philadelphia, 4,597 people died in one week alone and bodies piled up on the streets to be carted off to mass graves.
Barry describes the panic and despair of the people, the driven determination of the doctors trying to find a cause and a cure, and the misguided governmental policies and priorities that exacerbated the disaster.
I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a long time...picked it up with a stack of others at a library book sale in Sequim a few years ago but for one reason or another just never got around to reading it. Finally I made time to pick it up.
It has been absolutely riveting.
Now I am mindful of a phrase I found years ago when I was doing the lit review for my masters thesis. Some Harvard doctor in the 1800's was explaining why education was unwise for females...after a long description on the size of women's brains as compared to mens and cautions about how over education could create complications in childbearing (I'm not making this up!) he further went on to warn that if women were given the same educational opportunities as men they would neglect their household duties...
Well, on THAT note the guy was right. I have absolutely no interest in doing the laundry, in dusting or scrubbing the sink. All I want to do right now is curl up with a good book.