Disturbing Reading List Coincidences

By | June 4, 2008

Sometimes there are obvious connections between the books I read consecutively, but I never expected a fistula-based connection. A month or so ago I finished reading the bicep builder Quicksilver (Volume One of the Baroque Cycle) by Neal Stephenson. I don’t often read 900+ page books, but this one was worth it. Not sure I will make it through the similarly long volumes two and three, though. Life is only so long.

Quicksilver is a historical novel set in Europe covering a few decades around the year 1700. The Sun King, Louis XIV, plays a small, but very influential, role. Louis also has an anal fistula removed using state of the art medical practices for that time. That is, a doctor performing the operation the first time using a pair of scissors. Although based on historical events, Quicksilver is, of course, fiction. The retelling of the surgery is fiction, but the actual operation really did happen.

Next up, I decided to read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by fellow Oakland resident Mary Roach. So far, I’m finding Stiff to be even more enjoyable than Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife.

Well, stuff my mouth with biscuits if not more than 28 pages into Stiff I’m reading about Louis’ anal fistula operation again.

By the way, I recommend all three books. While Amazon reviewers agree with me on Stiff, Quicksilver and Spook get only 3.5 stars. Poor Neal is condemned like William Gibson to get bad reviews for not writing every book to be exactly like earlier cyberpunk novels. Spook gets dinged for making fun of the people she interviews and writes about. Excuse me, but those people are looney. I’m amazed she gave them the benefit of the doubt for more than ten minutes. I think she did a great job with the topic.

One thought on “Disturbing Reading List Coincidences

  1. JohnB

    Who are you calling looney?
    I’m an avid fan of http://www.looneylabs.com/ and they may be pot-addled (or creatively chemically altered, depending on your views) but they are definitely not crazy or spook-obsessied. Give their game ‘Fluxx’ a try and you might like it.


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