December 29, 2005

Ed Regis kicks Richard Preston's literary testicles

In an effort to restore my intelligence slightly I've been trying to read lately. I may actually have to buy some books - which I am loathe to do as it took me two days (about 6 hours reading time) to finish of Howl's Moving Castle. Which is an awesome book and kick Harry Potters ass so many times over. I can't wait to watch the movie now.

So I after re-reading my collection of Japanese folklore book. I moved onto Ed Regis' hardcore Ebola tale of Virus Ground Zero: Stalking the Killer Viruses with the Centers for Disease Control. I got this book the Christmas after reading Richard Preston's The Hot Zone and another spectacularly dismal popular science piece of non-fiction - and have been wary of much biological and medical based scare-mongering crap that appears to popular ever since. Medical books, it seemed, were either boring, crap or aimed at under 18s. So this had been sitting around propping up a plethora of Christian Fiction, that I also don't read too much of these days, when I was packing for Japan and I decided it was probably going to be a little more interesting, and at least annoying in a way that stimulates my intelligence than the other choices.

So it took me about a week to read, you might say that this makes me stupid and a cretin because it appears that fiction takes less. It's not that Fiction is more interesting (which it may be in a way, plots are designed to not have lulls# and irresistable to put down). Non-Fiction is more intellectually challenging and one can be satisfied with small chunks and process them at one's leisure. Its far more interesting, and as such you don't need constant stimulation of speed reading through fiction. And I have to say it is awesome. Its also not to hard for you to understand, has lots of facts about anything it can, and has bits of excitemnent without trolloping out the suspense. It paints a very realistic picture of the Modus Operandi of Forensic Epidemiology, without to much glorification of an occupation, which just like ramen chef, fire-fighter, systems engineer, school teacher, and dictator of a third world country is just someone's everyday job.

Centering on the 1995 Zaire outbreak of Ebola, which occured several years after the Reston-Ebola outbreak in the US - the centerpiece of Preston's "Terrifying True Story" (which had a human death toll of 0) - Regis explores the history of the CDC from a small Malaria eradication outfit in the 1940s to the world-recognized multi-field operating health organization it is today. He also explores many other aspects of public health and the problems field officers face, the highs and lows of CDC's operation and more. Being writing published after an acclaimed blockbuster of monstrous unintended facetiousity Regis can put in a few subtle jab's to Preston's works, which is just fuckin awesome.




# - Unless you are reading epic fantasy tripe such as Harry Potter, Lord of The Rings or Sword of Shannara -


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