Thursday, May 30, 2013
reading notes, entry 6...
Why I read it now:
It came very highly recommended by Eva, and it fit into the medical/psychological issues theme month, and it was sitting right there on the library shelf taunting me.
I loved this book! It was not only well-written and completely accessible, it was fascinating as hell. Nothing about malaria is uncomplicated. Every facet of the story is complex, from the continual evolution of Plasmodia to the pharmacologic efforts to stop it to the differing views of those who live day-to-day with malaria and those in the Western world who are so determined to wipe it out. Malaria has played major roles in world history, as well as major roles in personal histories. And Sonia Shah does a wonderful job relating all these facets of this much-feared disease.
I'd like to say that this is a hopeful book, but it's not. But what Sonia Shah produced with this book is a well-rounded and realistic look at malaria on this planet of ours.
Just a few of the interesting tidbits contained in its pages:
*Plasmodium has seven different forms during its life cycle.
*Once a mosquito is sated with blood, she flies to a vertical surface and spends 45 minutes excreting all the water from the blood so she is once again light enough to fly unburdened.
*While I already knew of malaria's connection to sickle cell, I had never before heard of its connection to favism. Actually, I don't believe I'd ever even heard of favism before at all.
*The Romans had some interesting "cures" for malaria. Being a vegetarian, I wold have had to choose the honeysuckle dissolved in wine over the liver of a seven-year-old mouse or the bedbugs eaten with eggs and wine.
transmogrify--to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely
impluvia--a cistern or tank in Roman dwellings set in the atrium to receive water from the roof
Quote postcards sent:
Heather: 1 with "capricious"