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text 2018-04-12 00:19
The Flat Book Society: July voting update - 4 way tie!

We're getting close to naming our July read, but at the moment, we have a 4 way tie for first.  Here are the contenders:


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  The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee  Caesar's Last Breath - Sam Kean  Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods - Danna Staaf  


All currently have 4 votes each.  If anyone hasn't voted yet and sees a book here they'd like to read in July, please go to the group page and vote.  You can also vote for any of the other books too, of course, but it would be nice to have a clear winner to call as our July read.


Any and all are welcome to join The Flat Book Society.  Huggins loves a good crowd!


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text 2018-03-26 00:42
The Flat Book Society: Reminder that voting for July read is open.

We have a great selection of nominations for July's read - 12 books covering a wide variety of topics from chemistry, to evolution, to genetics, to geology.  If you haven't had a chance to pop in and vote, or if you think books have been added since you did, make sure to check our voting list to see what's new and what looks interesting and be sure to vote for all your favourites.


Voting for July's book will close on April 15, or thereabouts.

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text 2018-03-16 10:58
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong

This was readable and fascinating start to finish.  


I enjoyed but not really reviewing because not much to add to existing reviews or sure how to condense my thoughts and highlights enough to review.  A lot of material that never got too dense -- possibly because mostly new to me.

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text 2018-03-13 01:04
The Flat Book Society: Nominations are open for July group read.

The Flat Book Society's May read is A Is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup and will begin on May 1st.


The voting list has been cleared (although I added two books to get it started) and is now open for nominations for our July 2018 read.


Please keep in mind that we're aiming for a list containing 10-15 books.  You may vote for books anytime you'd like, and you can vote for multiple books, but be aware that others might add new books after you've voted, so check back often to make sure you don't miss out on voting for any favorites.




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review 2018-03-13 00:41
I Contain Multitudes
I Contain Multitudes - Ed Yong

I wasn't sure what I was going to get when I started this book; obviously microbes, but was it going to be dry and academic, or worse, evangelical 'omg-microbes-are-the-answer-to-everything!'?


Luckily I got neither.  Instead Yong's book was, from start to finish, utterly fascinating; never too arcane and never to simplistic, he found the sweet spot of science writing, creating an engaging narrative that never talks down to the reader.  Anyone with an average vocabulary and an interest in the symbiotic world can pick up this book without feeling intimidated.  


Microbes (bacteria, viruses, etc.) are everywhere.  Everywhere.  And bad news for the germaphobes:  this is a good and necessary thing.  Life on Earth simply could not exist without these microscopic machines.  Plants and animals depend on bacteria for nutrients they can't get from food on their own, for turning on specific and necessary genes in the DNA, even for protecting them from other bacteria gone rogue.  


Yong starts at the beginning of humans' awareness that there is life we cannot see.  Typically these beginning chapters are the deadliest for me, as I get bored with the 'background' and impatient to get to the 'good stuff', but Yong made sure even the boring background was the 'good stuff'.  I was never bored reading this book.


Left to my own devices, this review would go on forever, because there's just so much worth discussing, so I'm going to short-circuit myself and say this:  I Contain Multitudes is a great book for learning how microbes help make all life possible; it's a 50/50 split, more or less, of information on microbe/human and microbes/other flora and fauna symbioses.  It's easy to read, it's entertaining, and for at least myself, it was laugh out loud funny in one part.  I finished with a much better understanding of the microbial world and my own digestive system (for now, I'm going to resist the temptation of probiotic supplements).


A very worth-while read and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone with an interest.



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