Wednesday, October 17, 2012

BOOKreMARKS: Get Rabid for Halloween

Looking for something spooky to read this month? Try Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus.

If you’d told me last year that I’d enjoy reading 200+ pages about rabies, I would have politely corrected you. Yet that’s exactly what happened a few months ago when I devoured the collaboration between Bill Wasik, a writer for, and Monica Murphy, a veterinarian (and married to Mr. Wasik). It’s a romp through history, ever focusing on the disease and its victims, its symptoms, and its treatments—all the while weaving cultural and historical perspectives into the story. Werewolves, vampires, and zombies figure into the picture, too.

After speaking with an animal control officer earlier this year about rabies, I suspected her department acted more on myths and assumptions than on facts (long story involving a sweet fox). I promised myself I’d research the topic, but procrastinated. Then Rabid caught my attention at the library and I thought it might shed some light on the issue.

It didn’t answer my specific questions, yet the book offered so much more. It made me realize how much Louis Pasteur contributed to the world, how important rabies vaccinations are for pets, how rabies research helped scientists understand how to breach the blood-brain barrier, how and why dogs are perceived so differently in countries beyond U.S. borders, how rabies figured into literature and laws. With so much context, even zombies started making sense.

If you’re craving a little gore and horror to get you in the holiday spirit, read Rabid. It won’t disappoint.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...