Books #1

I should have just started numbering these posts this way from the beginning! It would have been easier. But oh well, I’m starting now. 🙂

It’s been a busy summer and I’ve gone through a bit of a dry spell lately. I read some books that weren’t that great or just so-so. But here is a wrap up of a few that were worthy of sharing. If you want to follow my reviews on Goodreads, friend me!

1. Spillover by David Quammen 

Non-fiction science book! I do love science and I particularly love viruses and outbreak type books. I don’t know why, because I’m a huge germaphobe. You’d think it would freak me out too much to read stuff like this, but it doesn’t. I find it fascinating. The Hot Zone is a great book. Outbreak is one of my favorite movies. 🙂 I heard about this book on a science podcast I listen to (Talk Nerdy) and got the book from the library right away!

This book is very well written and while it’s scientific, it’s not over your head hard to read. The subject? Zoonosis.

“Zoonosis is an animal infection transmissible to humans, There are more such diseases than you might expect. AIDS is one, Influenza is a whole category of others. [pg14]….When a pathogen leaps from some nonhuman animal into a person, and succeeds there in establishing itself as an infectious presence, sometimes causing illness or death, the result is a zoonosis. [pg 20]”

He goes on to give some examples of zoonosis: SARS, Ebola, Bubonic plague, bird flu, swine flu, monkeypox, Marburg virus, Lyme disease, West Nile fever, rabies, hantavirus, Lassa fever, anthrax, the list goes on and on.

Each chapter is a different story of an animal getting sick from something and passing it on to humans. The first chapter is about the Hendra Virus in Australia, which originated from flying foxes (what a great name for bats!) that moved to horses and the humans. There are several chapters on Ebola, one on Marburg and also AIDS.

The chapter on AIDS was particularly fascinating. It discussed some of the origins of it and how they think it moved into humans. They think the sooty mangabey monkey might be the original host. And boy is it a cute little guy–such a shame!

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“The sooty mangabey is treated by local people as an annoying but edible sort of vermin. Sometimes also, if they’re not too hungry, they adopt an orphan juvenile as a pet. What brought the sooty mangabey to the attention of AIDS researchers was coincidence and an experiment on leprosy. [pg 400]” They did some research and “the unlucky three also developed simian AIDS. Suffering chronic diarrhea and weight loss, they wasted away and died. [pg 401]” They did a bunch of other tests on the sooty mangabey monkeys and “revealed that the virus was ‘endemic’ among them. Not just among captive sooty mangbeys but also in the wild. They were infected but healthy, which suggested that the virus had a long history in their kind.”

“‘A plausible interpretation of these data….is that in the past 30-40 years SIV from a West African sooty mangabey (or closely related species) successfully infected a human and evolved as HIV-2.’ It was official: HIV-2 is a zoonosis. But what about HIV-1? Where did the great killer come from? The logical inference was that HIV-1 must be zoonotic in origin also. But what animal was its resevoir? [pg 402]”

Overall the book was packed with information about a lot of different viruses. If you like science and this type of history, give it a try!

2. Dry Bones: A Walt Longmire Mystery Book 11 by Craig Johnson

So good! I LOVED the latest installment of this series. There was quite a big surprise in the book, I won’t give it away, but it came out of nowhere and was really well written. The main story was about a complete T-Rex skeleton discovered on Native land and the fight that follows on who owns the bones. There’s a murder, a mystery and as usual in these books there’s magic and adventure. One of my favorites of this series I think.

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3. The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen 

I’d give this book 3.5  out of 5 stars but because the ending was really exciting and really well done I’m rounding up to 4 stars. The story is about a new department in the police unit solving “special cases”–basically a cold case unit. The first case investigated is about a congresswoman who mysteriously disappeared 5 years ago.

I was on the fence for the first part of this book. It started a little slow but the biggest issue for me was the main character, Carl. He wasn’t likeable at all. He was kind of a giant ass and just didn’t come across well. Sure, he’s the jaded, burned-out cop clique with his demons but at least with Harry Hole (for example, another series from that area of the world) you liked Harry despite of his flaws. Not so much with Carl. I just never warmed up to him throughout the book.

I loved his assistant Assad. The story was unique and kind of crazy! (I don’t want to give away any spoilers.) Overall I liked the book and couldn’t put it down once the action ramped up.

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4. Red Bones by Ann Cleaves

This is book #3 in the Shetland series and detective Jimmy Perez is back to investigate an “accidental death” on the island. Was it a drunk accident late in the night that shot the old woman? Or was it something else? This book brings back characters from the other two books but also introduces new characters. There’s also an archaeological dig going on on the property of the dead woman. Then there’s another suspicious death. The book was fast moving and I enjoyed the story. The ending was a bit sad but not disappointing.

5. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

I’ve read a few of the Temperance Brennan books but not in order and I decided to start from the beginning. This is book 1 in the series and it was quite a good read. If you watch “Bones” you know it’s based on these books. Another thing I’ve seen some of–a few episodes here and there but never from the beginning–and now I’m starting to watch Bones on Netflix from the beginning (thank you back injury, right?). I find it confusing because Bones is VERY loosely based on the books. So don’t fear spoilers if you want to read the books. The characters and story seem very different than the TV show.

This book was fast paced and I liked the main character a lot (honestly, a lot more than the tv version). The mystery was interesting with enough plot turns to keep the pages turning but not confusing. I will keep reading the series!

6. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

Loved loved loved this book! It’s another one in the Armand Gamache series. This time Armand and his wife are staying at a rustic lodge to celebrate their anniversary. Another family (rich) is staying there as well for a reunion and surprisingly some friends from Three Pines show up too. Everything is going along fine when suddenly there is a murder. It was a cozy whodunit and it reminded me a lot of the movie Clue. 🙂 The mystery was so fascinating and I loved all the new characters. The ending was very satisfying and I was bummed when I finished the book!

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7.  Blue Lightning (Shetland #4) by Ann Cleeves

Book 4 in the series. This time detective Jimmy Perez brings his fiance back to the Fair Isles to meet his family before their wedding. It’s a very remote island and of course there’s a murder he must solve! As the story unfolds you discover the murder victim was not a nice or good person, cheating on her husband with everyone…so who killed her? Then there’s another murder and Perez needs to figure out if they are connected. I don’t want to give away a spoiler but the ending is SHOCKING.

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Stay tuned for the next installment. I have a few books that I’m really excited to start reading soon!

5 Responses

  1. The Hot Zone ranks as one of the scariest books out there about germs, I think. I have read a huge collection of germ books, which started when I took a microbiology class and got fascinated by it.

    Have you read “The Paris Wife” I just finished it and it is very, very good. It’s about Hemingway’s first marriage and told from her point of view. Fiction, but based on facts and letters.
    Lori recently posted..Tuesday Things

    1. Hot Zone was a great book! I read it when it first came out.
      Yes, I read most of the Paris Wife. I just couldn’t get into it. I tried but…maybe in the future I’ll try again…

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