Apr. 23rd, 2017

truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
Poison: An Illustrated HistoryPoison: An Illustrated History by Joel Levy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This is a beautifully designed book which talks about poisons from arsenic and snake venom to ricin and sarin. It's not terribly in-depth on any of them, but it does offer a panoramic overview from Cleopatra and Socrates to Alan Turing and Georgi Markov. Levy is an engaging writer, mostly light and deft--he missteps kind of horribly when talking about the assassination of Sarkov by a KGB agent wielding a pellet-shooting air-gun concealed in an umbrella (ammunition: jeweler's ball-bearings that contained ricin). Describing the umbrella as a "slaughterous sunshade" is, I'm sorry, over the top (134)--and very good at explaining how poisons work in a way that's simple enough for a layperson to follow but detailed enough for that same layperson to feel like s/he actually has a good understanding of what's happening, chemically speaking.

The beauty of the design does occasionally get in the way. Some of the font choices are hard to read, and, the sidebar pages offering profiles of the various poisons being printed on colored paper, some of the colors are too dark to easily read the text against.

So: good, but not great.



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truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher CreativityThe Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron




I can't rate this book, since my opinion of it veers wildly between five stars and zero stars.

Read more... )



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