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text 2018-10-10 12:35
Free square
Extinction: An Apocalyptic Horror Novel - Iain Rob Wright

 

This one doesn't really fit anywhere, so I'm going to use it for the Free square.

 

Some weird stuff with the angels at the end there, unless Damien is something else.  I feel like we were told about him, like his chapter at the end was a continuation of his story, but I don't remember him showing up.

 

We're not left with much hope.  Some, maybe enough, but not a lot.

 

And I want to know what happened to Alice, 'cause that was a shitty thing to do to her.

And do the 3 amigos ever make it back?

 

 

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review 2018-10-07 13:50
Modern Masters
Legion: An Apocalyptic Horror Novel (Hell on Earth Book 2) - Iain Rob Wright

 

I got sucked into another series.

 

This one is a little repetitive, as most of it is the same story as the previous book except told from a different characters point of view.  Tedious in some cases, like the ship captains, interesting in others, as in the case of Vamps and his buddies.

 

New information is added as well from other characters so it's not a complete re-telling, as well as a GLARING contradiction from Daniel.

 

In book one, unless I'm mis-remembering (which is possible as numbers have a tendency to be floaty unless I wrestle them down and chain them up), there were 6,000 gates scattered across the world.  According to THE SAME GUY, there are 666 to correspond with the Adversaries of God, which have nothing to do with the angels that were banned from heaven. 

 

We'll see if the number changes in book 3.

 

 

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review 2018-10-05 14:05
Doomsday
The Gates: An Apocalyptic Horror Novel - Iain Rob Wright

 

God had placed and sealed 6,000 'gates' on Earth after chucking Lucifer and his minions out of heaven.  

 

Lucifer and The Red Lord (we don't know who that is) have somehow managed to open them and they still hate humanity and want to see us wiped from the face of the earth.

 

 

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review 2018-09-29 00:59
A plague on ALL your houses!
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright

Previous Updates:

 

Antonine Plague

 

Bubonic Plague

 

Dancing Plague

 

Small Pox

 

Syphilis, Tuberculosis, and Cholera

 

Leprosy, Typhoid, and Spanish Flu

 

 

Encephalitis Lethargica

 

There is still no cure for EL, and its rise and subsequent disappearance is still regarded as something of a mystery.

 

I have heard of this before but only in the obscure and morbidly fascinating sense, think more horror movie than documentary. The unknown-ness of this one draws me and repels me away. Reading about how it affected people's personalities, bodily functions, and sent them into comas is frightening. 

 

If you are interested in following a line of thought on interrelated diseases, though, some scientists today think that EL is related to streptococcal bacteria, so that’s a fun thing to consider when you get strep throat.

 

I have never heard and this and can I just say WHAT?!? Reading about how adult's showed after effects of Postencephalitic Parkinson’s disease which led them to L-dopa as a cure and how it initially worked, the woman waking up from a coma years later and thinking it was early 1940s when it was late 1960s, was wild. I think this "plague" was added to just scare the crap out of everyone as there is still no known cure but I guess it hasn't made any more appearances? This is one I'm going to have to investigate further because how freaking wild that it seems to suddenly appear in 1916 and disappear in 1920s. I guess I'd put my bet on Aliens.

 

Lobotomies 

 

Somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of lobotomies were performed on women, despite a greater percentage of men being institutionalized.

 

This probably shouldn't have been included in a plague book but it is important to discuss, so I'll allow it. I'm against lobotomies, so I had no problem how the author discussed Freeman, the physician behind the start, procedure, and craze of them. The accounts of how he went about them, snipping here and there, until he got the desired amount of not quite comatose in patients, is horrifying and rage inducing. 

 

A charismatic demagogue was elevated and trusted because he was captivating and because researching facts, as well as listening to dull doctors who have done their homework, is hard and time-consuming. 

 

This quote, I can't tell you how much I feel this quote down into my soul right now. Reading about how women who were listed as menopausal or hysterical, by doctors that didn't even converse with them but rather their husbands and given over to Freeman for lobotomies had me fighting tears. This chapter was all about making sure there are committees, watchdogs, or the like in place to stop charismatic, mad medical field individuals from dazzling people with their "science".

 

Polio   

 

Well, herd immunity works for most diseases only if about 80 to 90 percent of the population is vaccinated. With some diseases, like measles, a 95 percent vaccination rate is necessary.

 

Again, vaccinate your kids. 

 

I have to say, I'm not sure I knew Polio came from contaminated water or food, kind of like typhoid. That is how well we eradicated it, I didn't even know what caused it!  The author talked about live virus and killer virus vaccines and the rivalry between Salk and Sabin to get there. I've heard of Salk before because of how he used unwittingly mental health patients for clinical trials, which the author mentioned but after saying he should be considered close to a saint. I'm not quite there on him but I'm a grey shades person and as long as you mention the shitty aspects I don't have a problem stating all the good he also did. Seems wild in today's atmosphere of people dying because the price of their insulin is too much money that he didn't patent his vaccine but I'd like to read more on the legalities of if and how he could have. 

 

My favorite part of this section was the focus on how representation matters and how FDR gave hope and pride to fellow Polio survivors. 

 

 

Those who had AIDS survived because they, like Mr. Crumpton’s No Nose’d Club for syphilitics, founded groups like the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP to fight for their right to live. They supported one another. They protested. They yelled. They made people extremely uncomfortable.

 

I'm not a scientist or in the medical field, so there was definitely new information for me to gain from reading this. I went in thinking this was going to be a drier, informative read but realized very early on that my expectations needed to be changed. This is more of a coffee table book where casual readers can just pick it up and learn some interesting facts that will either make them popular on trivia night or send them down a drier text reading rabbit hole. 

 

The author has a sarcastic, pop culture heavy tone that could turn some people off as we discussing real horrible deaths but I'm a bit of a gallows humor gal myself, so except for a couple times, I wasn't put off or offended. I do think the pop culture references are going to date this and age it out of future circulation. 

 

All in all, I learned some facts, was intrigued to research some, and enjoyed this more surface look into diseases. This book is not for experts in the field but the average person could definitely get something out of it. However, if you're an anti-vaxxer, you'd probably get huffy over the author's constant reminder that you should probably reevaluate your thinking (I completely agree with her). 

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-28 05:20
Some Rambling Thoughts: Get Well Soon
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

by Jennifer Wright

 

 

 

A humorous book about history's worst plagues—from the Antonine Plague, to leprosy, to polio—and the heroes who fought them

In 1518, in a small town in France, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn’t stop.  She danced herself to her death six days later, and soon thirty-four more villagers joined her.  Then more.  In a month more than 400 people had died from the mysterious dancing plague.  In late-nineteenth-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome—a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary and led to historic medical breakthroughs.

Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the plagues they've suffered from.  Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues in human history, as well as stories of the heroic figures who fought to ease their suffering.  With her signature mix of in-depth research and upbeat storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history’s most gripping and deadly outbreaks.



One of my fellow reader/reviewers over at Booklikes had stated that this book read like a compilation of blog entries, written by "an overconfident twenty-something with an only superficial grasp of history and medicine and science."  I seconded that statement, because the writing style in this book is extremely informal, with a lot of opinionated side-quips, and tons of speculation masquerading as scientific fact or historical data.  I'm not saying that this book doesn't have anything to offer, but to be honest, it doesn't offer what it seems to have been marketed to offer: a look at history's worst plagues and the heroes who fought them.  Instead, I feel like the title should have been changed to something along the lines of "Some Sensational Stories About Plagues, Medical Horrors, and History that Interested This Author."

The book is very Anglo-centric, focusing mostly on how these plagues affected America or the European nations.  But a cursory search of, say, leprosy, shows that this is a disease that impacted, and still impacts, hundreds of countries never mentioned in this book.  Wright's focus, however, was the leper colony of Moloka'i and the story of Father Damien.  While I didn't mind reading about the wonder who was Father Damien, this chapter on Leprosy left a lot to be desired.

Much like a lot of her other chapters, Wright doesn't dwell very long on the science of each plague, and instead spends a good amount of time on tangents and speculative asides.  In fact, she doesn't spend a whole lot of them with the plagues themselves, because a lot of her side tangents, some of which have nothing to do with the plague (re: Comoddus's incestuous lusts circa 'The Antonine Plague') take up more pages than were necessary.

After the first couple chapters in this book, I realized that I'd have to change my mindset before continuing on.  The writing style wasn't what I'd been expecting, and even up to the end, still wasn't a writing style that worked for me.  There were too many of those opinionated side-quips, too many random and ill-used pop culture references, and a lot of times, Jennifer Wright will insert her own imagining of how she would recreate certain parts of history if left to her devices.

 

I'm always trying to rewrite the scripts for history, the way some people must mentally rewrite the scripts for disappointing episodes of their favorite television shows.


First of all, yes I can relate to mentally rewriting scripts for disappointing episodes of a favorite television show; and at least Wright is aware of her own habits.  Of course, I also don't try to sell my rewritten scripts as fact in a popular science book, currently worth $12.99 via Kindle.

As I think I might have mentioned in another update, this book tries too hard to be informal and personal by adding random pop culture references, and short humorous (?) commentary, possibly in an attempt to lighten the mood of the context.  After all, this is a book about devastation and tragedy, with millions of deaths and a lot of suffering communities and nations over history.  I'm never opposed to dark humor, but you have to do it right.  At some points, Wright DID manage to make my lips quirk, but other times, I just didn't quite understand her humor.  The timing always felt off, or the insertions felt awkward.  Whatever it was, it didn't work for me.  And a lot of times, I didn't understand the connection--I grew up in America, but I've never been big on the pop culture trivia.

She also inserted exclamations almost everywhere!  Even when said exclamation probably wasn't warranted!  A lot of her opinions were exclamations!  A lot of her speculations and asides were exclamations!

But they failed to really do the job of being exciting or surprising in their exclamation point usage.

If it is one thing I will say in favor of this book, it's that Jennifer Wright truly DOES seem passionate about the subject and each plague's impact on human life and society.  Her stance on vaccinations, hygiene, sanitation, general health... all good points to emphasize.  Her stance on behaviors towards humankind and the diseases that afflict us is sincere--the message not to treat people badly just because of the disease is a good one.  Being kind, supportive, and understanding is a message I think needs to be put out there more often.  We don't become afflicted with something deadly as a punishment from some higher judgment--diseases don't pick and choose who they affect, and pathogens aren't discriminatory.

As a popular science book, she could have focused more on the science and medicine of these plagues she is show-casing.  But show-casing is really what she is doing in this book, choosing specific stories that seem to interest her about each plague rather than giving more details about the specific plague itself.  Truly, the only chapter I felt had the most sincere presentation was the 'Smallpox' chapter, but unfortunately, she didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.

But the rest seemed to hinge greatly on some sensational aspect of each disease: Syphilis and the rotting noses, Tuberculosis and how people glamorized it, for examples.

Then there were the chapters on 'Dancing Plague' and 'Lobotomies,' which, in honest truth, I don't see as counting as true plagues.  Lobotomies as a medical horror I can see, but this is a book about plagues, so if she truly wanted to write a book about medical horrors that included a chapter on lobotomies, she should serious reconsider the title to her book.

I can see this book interesting a lot of people, if only because it DOES present a lot of tidbit information that many might find intriguing.  In some instances, you DO find yourself wanting to learn more, from a much more detailed, well-informed source.  In some chapters, she DOES manage to tell me things I didn't already know, although I would confirm her facts from my own research if inclined to do so.  For the most part, this book is, at best, an overview, which I feel would have been better off in a blog format, where expectations might be a bit lower than as a book you had to pay for.

 

 



 

Flat Book Society - September 2018 Read

 ~*~*~*~

 

Halloween Bingo 2018
(anything related to the end of the world, doomsday cults, or a post-apocalypse world)

 

**This book was approved by our Halloween Bingo hosts for the Doomsday square, and by default, the Creepy Raven Free Space.**

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/some-rambling-thoughts-get-well-soon.html
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