Alright, same drill as the last post, but for this one, it’s all true! How creepy is that?
In no particular order:
1.) The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
The author of this book actually went inside level 4 (highest risk of infection) rooms at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) researching this book. You can’t even do that anymore! Anyone curious about how our government researches and prevents or controls diseases should give this one a look. And buy some hand sanitizer. The information on Ebola may give you some sleepless nights, but this book is worth it. Also look for Panic in Level 4, and The Demon in the Freezer, Preston’s other nonfiction works on the subject. All are fantastic.
2.) Spillover by David Quammen
Everything you didn’t know was fascinating about zoonoses (diseases that spread from animals to humans). This book gives an overview of several of these types of diseases including Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Ebola, HIV, and some I’d never heard of before. David Quammen traveled, did interviews, and thoroughly researched his subject. The first hand narrative about things like hiking through the jungles of Africa adds a depth and a personality that is often lacking in non fiction. I got to hear him read at Auntie’s and he even talked to me about my novel and signed my copy of his book. Nice guy. Awesome writer.
3.) The American Plague by Molly Caldwell Crosby
A well researched story told in a way that grabs and keeps your interest. The downside is that I now have a phobia of mosquitoes. Also check out her book, Asleep.
4.) Awakenings by Oliver Sacks
Behold the incredible mind f*&% that is Encephalitis Lethargica. You go to sleep, and you might wake up three days, three weeks, three months, or thirty years later! You might not wake up at all. Or it could have the opposite effect. You might not sleep ever again and just run around possessed by hyperactivity until you die of exhaustion. If you manage to A) survive, and B) regain consciousness, you’ll most likely be left with Parkinsons-like symptoms that rob you of the ability to walk, talk, care for yourself, you name it. The clincher? They still don’t know what causes it. I’ll be honest, this disease scares the living $#^& out of me. That’s why I decided to write about it. This book is written by another of one of my favorite authors. Oliver Sacks is a former neurologist, who now writes humorous, touching, and sometimes tragic memoirs and case studies.
Oddly enough, this book was also made a movie staring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams. It’s actually very good, and mostly accurate.
5.) The Little Book of Pandemics by Dr. Peter Moore
Gives a great overview with easy to read charts at the beginning of each chapter that list when and how each disease was discovered, its infectivity, the severity of the resulting illness, and the potential threat from each if they are used as a bioweapon. It’s been a go-to for me while I’ve been writing this book.