logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Lydia-Kang
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-16 15:54
Ever wondered about the anatomy of a leech?
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything - Lydia Kang,Nate Pedersen

As soon as I saw Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang I knew that I had to get it in my hands. If the name alone doesn't intrigue you then I don't know what will. This book is full to bursting with historical facts about crazy medical practices through the ages. It is an excellent resource about the history of the medical profession as well as education and social change. Much like when I read Soonish, I felt that it was a little heavy with the 'relatable' humor but this was easily overlooked. (I think Kang pulled it off better anyway.) As someone who has read quite a bit about the history of medicine, I was surprised by just how much I didn't know. For example, did you know that leeches have 3 stomachs, 3 jaws, and 100 teeth in each of those jaws?! Kang sets up the different medical practices and procedures by first giving a history of the person that started it off (generally a 'medical practitioner' or someone at least purporting to be one). She then shares accounts from the patients who endured such crazy routines (like bloodletting or ingesting arsenic) paired with diagrams of the medical equipment used to accomplish such feats. (I hope you have a strong stomach for the bloodletting chapter.) I especially enjoyed the little asides about what we now know about the concoctions put together long ago to 'cure' and how the vast majority of them were either complete hokum or actually increased the chances of the patient suffering an agonizing death. It makes you wonder how the future generations will view our supposedly 'innovative' medicines and treatments of the sick. Will we be seen as medical charlatans and blind fools or will they take into account the socioeconomic and political climate that we live in and how that shapes our view on medicine as a whole? As you read this book (and I hope you will) ponder that very question because then perhaps you won't judge past generations quite so harshly...unless it's the guys who took Strychnine in order to increase their sex drive. Always judge those guys. 9/10

 

I wasn't lying about the leeches. [Source: Amazon]

 

 

What's Up Next: HiLo Book 4: Waking the Monsters by Jeff Winick

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-21 17:57
Review: Quackery
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything - Lydia Kang,Nate Pedersen

Equal parts mortifiying, morbid and fascinating, Quackery is a guided tour through the horrifying world of medicine and health care in days gone by. I eat these kinds of books up like candy, who doesn't like lurid trivia of the not-so-good ol' days? I know I do!

 

I really liked the layout, it's akin to my favorite magazine, Mental Floss with little factoids on every page to highlight the subject. Very well organized, full of stomach turning stories of medical mistakes and maladies, it kept me turning pages and very thankful I live in the modern day.

 

Like Reblog Comment
review 2017-11-03 00:00
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything - Lydia Kang,Nate Pedersen I feel like I gotta give this 5 stars on account of it being 100% what I expected, which is essentially a book length Cracked article in the shape of a book.

It's gross, horrifying, and great.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-15 16:47
A Beautiful Poison
A Beautiful Poison - Lydia Kang

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

Loved the backdrop in this book. World War I (with the reader knowing it’s nearing its end... but not the characters). The dreadful influenza reaching American shores and starting a war all of its own. Socialites in their own little world, feeling the bigger world as an intrusion that may or may touch them (whether draft or flu). Murders in those ‘higher spheres’, with the reminder that with a little money, nobody will try and look further. The early times of another type of poisoning, too, for the girls who painted clock dials with magic glowing in the dark (if you haven’t done so yet, read The Radium Girls, it’s really interesting).

I liked the beginning well enough: an engagement party, one of the guests falling to her death on the stair, and it turns out the fall isn’t what killed her—poison did. This murder, more than the party itself, reunites the three main characters, who got separated four years prior to these events, due to various reasons, but mostly selfish ones, such as falling out of favour (God forbids your daughter keeps associating with the child of people who committed suicide, right, this is so vulgar and out of taste); and considering the latter, there’s no wonder this relationship is tainted, poisoned, from the start, simmering with both happiness at having friends back yet also with resentment and bitter memories. Which in turn made Allene, Birdie and Jasper unreliable narrators to the power of ten, because in a mystery with murders aplenty, they were part of the pool of potential culprits just as much as other people at the engagement party.

There was a lot of unhealthy tension in this book, because of the characters’ past, and because of other secrets that got revealed later. Although in a way, I liked it, I wasn’t too keen on how it all unfurled; the characters weren’t very likeable, but for me that wasn’t even due to their personalities (I can enjoy a ‘non-likeable’ character), more to the fact they were somewhat inconsistent with what was told of them at first. For instance, Allene is presented as loving chemistry, but this didn’t play as much of a part as I expected (mostly she still remained the socialite totally oblivious to the people around her, unless what affected those people affected her as well). Perhaps Birdie was, all in all, the most consistent of all. I’m not sure where the line was, that line that would’ve made me like these characters more; it just didn’t click with me here.

The narrative, I think, was also poised between too little and too much. Part of me wanted more of the setting (New York, descriptions, parties, how the flu claimed people—horrifying symptoms, and so many deaths), yet at the same time, the setting plus the murders didn’t mesh fully, and the plot felt too convoluted when nearing the end. And, of course, what’s happening to Birdie—as the author mentioned at the end (and I agree), historical accuracy demanded there could be no closure on that specific point, but this means that, well, either you already know about that bit of history, or you don’t, and it makes no sense. Tricky.

Conclusion: It was an OK read for me: mildly entertaining in general, but not a gripping mystery. Here I preferred the setting to the characters.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-31 14:49
Uneven Book from Beginning to End
A Beautiful Poison - Lydia Kang

I think that this book was a bit all over the place for me to get a very good handle on. We have a lot of characters whose motivations we are not too sure of throughout the book. I think that Kang was trying for some tension to build about who was the murderer, but it was telegraphed at least to me pretty early about who was doing what. I will say that I was a surprised by the ending. I thought for sure that two of the characters were being set up to run away together, so that was a pleasant surprise.

 

Taking place during the Spanish Influenza in New York, we have a series of murders that revolves around three childhood friends: Allene, Jasper, and Birdie. At one time Jasper and Birdie were extremely close with Allene. But one day, Allene's parents sent Birdie and her mother away (they were companions to Allene's mother's family for generations) and then Jasper was "not our kind dear" when his family left him in financial ruins. When a member of their circle is poisoned, the three friends band together to find out who murdered this person and why. Pretty soon the body count starts to rise and you are left wondering if these three people really know each other at all.

 

I didn't have a favorite character to root for while reading this. Kang really does not try to develop any of the characters until almost the very end. Maybe it would have worked if she had given us a prologue to them as children all playing together. Instead we start in the middle of a story and we are left to just get that the three characters are friends and know each other so well. 

 

Also I have to say that Kang doesn't paint any of them very well. When you get to the end and get to the final reveal about a lot of people I ended up feeling very sympathetic to Birdie's mother of all people. 

 

The writing was okay, I just wish that there had been more there, there you know. I just found a lot of the bits about chemistry, cyanide, the Spanish flu to be boring. And that should have been the most interesting part of the story. 

 

The flow wasn't great. We kind of shuffle around to Allene, Jasper, and Birdie and back and forth again and again until the end. 

 

Even though the book takes place during the early 1900s, I didn't get a very good sense of New York during this time period. The author mentions clothes, how the young women behave, etc. But I really didn't get a true sense of the time period which was a shame.


As I already said the ending was a surprise so that was nice. 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?