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text 2017-08-15 07:45
The Flat Book Society: Our First (and Second) Reads!
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach
Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermid

Voting for the first two books came to an end today and we have two books tied at 7 votes each, so they're our first two reads.

 

Starting September 1st and running through October 31st:

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary RoachThe irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside. 

 

The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars.

 

Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis?

 

In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of—or has the courage to ask. We go on location to a pet-food taste-test lab, a fecal transplant, and into a live stomach to observe the fate of a meal. With Roach at our side, we travel the world, meeting murderers and mad scientists, Eskimos and exorcists (who have occasionally administered holy water rectally), rabbis and terrorists—who, it turns out, for practical reasons do not conceal bombs in their digestive tracts. Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies. 

 

And Starting November 1st running through December 31st:

Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermidThe dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died - and who killed them. Forensic scientists can use a corpse, the scene of a crime or a single hair to unlock the secrets of the past and allow justice to be done.

Bestselling crime author Val McDermid will draw on interviews with top-level professionals to delve, in her own inimitable style, into the questions and mysteries that surround this fascinating science. How is evidence collected from a brutal crime scene? What happens at an autopsy? What techniques, from blood spatter and DNA analysis to entomology, do such experts use? How far can we trust forensic evidence?

Looking at famous murder cases, as well as investigations into the living - sexual assaults, missing persons, mistaken identity - she will lay bare the secrets of forensics from the courts of seventeenth-century Europe through Jack the Ripper to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

 

Reminders will definitely go out closer to our starting dates, and threads will be setup beforehand.  (There is one thread for each in the club now for general comments).

 

If either (or both!) of these books sound good to anyone not already in The Flat Book Club, our door is always open and everyone interested is welcome. 

 

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text 2017-07-14 18:28
Nonfiction Science Book Club Reading List
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean
Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermid
Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution - Rebecca Stott

You may have seen MbD's posts on the new nonfiction book club and the suggestions for future reads floating down the dashboard in the last couple of days:

 

There's now a list containing all the books that have been suggested so far:

 

http://booklikes.com/apps/reading-lists/799/nonfiction-science-book-club-reading-list

 

The discussion group is currently still named for the buddy read that inspired it, "The Invention of Nature" -- the group page is here:

http://booklikes.com/groups/show/980/buddy-read-for-the-invention-of-nature

 

-- and the corresponding book club page is here:

http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/90/buddy-read-for-the-invention-of-nature

 

Do take a look and see if you'd be interested in joining!

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text 2017-07-13 19:00
Nonfiction Science Book Club: My Suggestions
The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug - Thomas Hager
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - Elizabeth Kolbert
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach
The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness - Sy Montgomery
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World - Peter Wohlleben
Adventures in Human Being (Wellcome) - Gavin Francis
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari Dr
The Genius of Birds - Jennifer Ackerman
Herding Hemingway's Cats: Understanding how our genes work - Kat Arney

Just my two cents :). I´m really looking forward to be reading some more non-fiction.

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text 2017-07-12 20:25
Some Science Ideas from my Library
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski
American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World - David Baron
Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness - Peter Godfrey-Smith
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal - Mary Roach
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World - Michael Pollan
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe - Lisa Randall
The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time - Jonathan Weiner
Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution - Rebecca Stott
The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science - Richard Holmes

I know that there's been a suggestion that we read more science together; these are just some books my own library has that I think look interesting.

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review 2017-06-26 18:16
Bonk / Mary Roach
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex - Mary Roach

The study of sexual physiology - what happens, and why, and how to make it happen better - has been a paying career or a diverting sideline for scientists as far-ranging as Leonardo da Vinci and James Watson. The research has taken place behind the closed doors of laboratories, brothels, MRI centers, pig farms, sex-toy R&D labs, and Alfred Kinsey's attic.

Mary Roach, "the funniest science writer in the country" (Burkhard Bilger of 'The New Yorker'), devoted the past two years to stepping behind those doors. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Why doesn't Viagra help women or, for that matter, pandas?

In 'Bonk', Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm, two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth, can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to slowly make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

 

Mary Roach, as usual, is drawn to the weird and the wonderful. I love her sense of humour about whatever her current obsession happens to be. A book about sex research could be dry and boring, but not with Ms. Roach at the helm.

Male readers may cringe at several of the chapters regarding surgery on the family jewels—it made me a little queasy. I am also amazed that she managed to drag her husband along to participate in research projects with her. He is obviously a guy with a sense of adventure!

Sex researchers, both animal and human, were good sports to show off their work in progress or discuss published results. As stated a couple of time in the book, publicity can sometimes be a hindrance to obtaining research money, so they were either very established researchers or willing to risk the exposure.

We’re all interested in the topic, but few of us have the time or inclination to track down these great stories! Thank you, Mary Roach, for being the obsessive researcher for us.

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