Thursday, August 14, 2008

What world does a dead man belong to?-Charles Dickens

So, I finished The Ghost Map last night, it was (for the most part) pretty freakin' good! I don't really have much to say about it; it was intelligent, well-written, well-researched, and really interesting. I've read a lot of very dry science/medicine books in my day, but Steven Johnson did a very good job of making this book readable by intertwining science, sociology and history with stories of actual people. It flowed a lot like a good detective story, but he still managed to get across pertinent information, I definitely learned a lot. Unfortunately, because I didn't know much about cholera or the infrastructure of 19th century London before starting the book, it's hard for me to really say anything about the facts provided as a whole. It seems well-researched, but I wouldn't really know if Johnson left anything out. Although I'm sure there were more factors that affected both the outbreak and outcome of the epidemic I have a feeling that Johnson did present the most important and engaging points. The story of John Snow's struggle to get his waterborne theory any kind of audience was engaging, and Henry Whitehead's contribution was also given it's dues. I've never learned so much about waterborne disease in my life.

I did not, however, really care for Johnson's epilogue "Broad Street Revisited" (nice play on Brideshead Revisited though). In the epilogue, Johnson goes off on a rant/ramble about the future of urbanization, mega-cities, the Internet, environmental footprints, the bird-flu epidemic, and terrorism (I somehow can't seem to grasp how suitcase bombs and cholera go together, maybe it's just me). I really actually kind of skimmed through the epilogue because it was sort of disjointed and didn't seem fit at all with what had come before. If it wasn't for the epilogue I would have really enjoyed the book all around. It also could have used a few more images: maps, diagrams, etc (especially since it's called The Ghost Map). I give it 3.25 v. cholerae bacteria out of 4.

Now, once again, I'm reading Pat of Silver Bush. Oh ya, that's right, that means more Lucy Maud Montgomery coming at you! I mentioned earlier that I had found a first edition copy of it for $1.00 at BMV while shopping with Jen; it's been sitting on the bookshelf since and it just started calling to me last night after I finished The Ghost Map. We all know I love anything Maud, but Pat has a special place. I think I've always envied Pat more than any other character. Pat has a home that she loves more than most anything else, and a big family; I think she's the only character that's not in someway displaced or missing at least one parent (yes, Jane has both parents, but they're not together, which would have been truly harrowing at that time). She loves everything fiercely, which brings her both a lot of joy and a lot of pain, but the main thing is that she has so much to love (and is loved back). I never really dreamed of being Anne or Emily, but I definitely wanted to be Pat. Actually I don't really think I wanted to be Pat either, I just wanted all the things that Pat had. I'll write a bit more when I'm done.

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