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The Butchering Art
The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister's Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine | Lindsey Fitzharris
The gripping story of how Joseph Listers antiseptic method changed medicine forever In The Butchering Art, the historian Lindsey Fitzharris reveals the shocking world of nineteenth-century surgery and shows how it was transformed by advances made in germ theory and antiseptics between 1860 and 1875. She conjures up early operating theatersno place for the squeamishand surgeons, working before anesthesia, who were lauded for their speed and brute strength. These pioneers knew that the aftermath of surgery was often more dangerous than patients afflictions, and they were baffled by the persistent infections that kept mortality rates stubbornly high. At a time when surgery couldnt have been more hazardous, an unlikely figure stepped forward: a young, melancholy Quaker surgeon named Joseph Lister, who would solve the riddle and change the course of history. Fitzharris dramatically reconstructs Listers career path to his audacious claim that germs were the source of all infection and could be countered by a sterilizing agent applied to wounds. She introduces us to Listers contemporariessome of them brilliant, some outright criminaland leads us through the grimy schools and squalid hospitals where they learned their art, the dead houses where they studied, and the cemeteries they ransacked for cadavers. Eerie and illuminating, The Butchering Art celebrates the triumph of a visionary surgeon whose quest to unite science and medicine delivered us into the modern world.
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review
Crazeedi
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Pickpick

3.5 ⭐ This is the story of Joseph Listers quest to make surgery safer. A fascinating look at the 1800s medical field. I was appalled to think surgeons reused instruments and were proud of the bloody aprons they wore. Aseptic practice has come a LONG WAY!!!!

Freespirit As a nurse this one interests me! 1mo
Crazeedi @Freespirit I worked in the medical field in my career, and as a nurse you would definitely like, and it is just nuts how the surgeons worked in such unsanitary conditions, and didn't believe Lister and Pasteur when they discovered germs and how infection begins, etc. fascinating stuff, people died from post op rather than surgery !! 1mo
Freespirit I have just watched a great Netflix series based in a German hospital during WW11. It's based on real events and characters and if you have a medical background I think you'd enjoy it @Crazeedi It's called Charite at War. The hospital still operates today 😊 1mo
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Crazeedi @Freespirit thank you for thinking of me! It sounds like something I'd enjoy, if I ever subscribe to netflix! I love books etc about medicine. Have you read this one? 1mo
Crazeedi @Freespirit or this one? 2 recent books I've read this one is set in Pittsburgh, the city closest to where I live 1mo
Freespirit Thank you @Crazeedi I will look into them! 1mo
Crazeedi @Freespirit and if you know of any in the same vein you've enjoyed let me know too!! Thanks!! 1mo
Freespirit Will do @Crazeedi 👍🏻 1mo
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Lexeegee
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Pickpick

How far we have come in medicine. Thank God for men like Joseph Lister who are willing to look beyond the accepted and find the unexpected.

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Lexeegee
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The nurse in me cringes at so much in this book. We have come a long way.

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readordierachel
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Pickpick

The bits about medical procedures & treatments were fascinating (& alarming). Doctors were doing some pretty grisly, backward stuff, essentially groping along in the dark trying to save lives and ending many in the process (although infection would probably have done the job anyway). Joseph Lister is one who shined a light & helped lay the foundation for modern medicine. 👇🏼

readordierachel We've come a long way, & it makes me wonder how far we'll go in the future, what else we'll discover.

While the parts about the science & medicine were engaging, I found some of the biography of Lister himself & the descriptions of hospital politics tedious.
2mo
Megabooks I have had this on audio for awhile. I should remember to read it. Thanks!! 2mo
Crazeedi It's crazy what medicine was way back when 2mo
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Cathythoughts It‘s awful to think of the pain people were in .... for what now is a more simple procedure. My one wish is for all dental treatments to be laser jobs .... I‘m terrified of the dentist 2mo
readordierachel @Megabooks the narrator is good. Enjoy! 2mo
readordierachel @Crazeedi It really is. I'm very thankful for modern medicine. 2mo
readordierachel @Cathythoughts Yes, it's heartbreaking to think of all the pain and lives lost. And I'm with you 100% about the dentist. I had a root canal last month and it was...unpleasant. Although I shudder to think what it would have been like in Victorian times! 2mo
Crazeedi I'll have to look for the audio of this! 2mo
Crazeedi Just borrowed the ebook! 2mo
readordierachel @Crazeedi cool! Enjoy! 2mo
Crazeedi @readordierachel I'm sure I will 2mo
94 likes3 stack adds11 comments
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Lexeegee
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This made me giggle. 🤭

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Lexeegee
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I love medical history!

Bookish_B I have this on my TBR shelf! I love this stuff too 😳 2mo
DeeLew I‘m putting this on my TBR even though I may not have the stomach for it. 😳 It sounds soooo interesting though! 2mo
Minimalgrl I loved this book and recommend The Remedy by Thomas Goetz ... having to do with tuberculosis in the 19th century 🤓📚😷 2mo
Lexeegee Thanks for the recommendation @minimalgirl. 2mo
scowler1 Brilliant book! 2mo
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readordierachel
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"His left arm was reportedly so strong that he could use it as a tourniquet while wielding the knife in his right hand. This was a feat that required immense strength and dexterity...Liston could remove a leg in less than 30 seconds...in order to keep hands free, he often clasped the bloody knife between his teeth while working. Liston's speed was both a gift and a curse. Once he accidentally sliced off a patient's testicle along with the leg."

DivineDiana I think I‘m a little too squeamish for this one! 3mo
readordierachel @DivineDiana It's pretty intense! It makes me very thankful for modern medicine. 3mo
vivastory "..he often clasped the bloody knife between his teeth" This makes my inner germaphobe vomit a little 3mo
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BiblioLitten @readordierachel Me too! I read some crazy stuff here, and am glad that i live in the present. 3mo
readordierachel @vivastory Right? There was a note before on how surgeons rarely washed their aprons and had what was referred to as that "good old hospital stink" 3mo
readordierachel @BiblioLitten It's remarkable how far we've come. That book sounds fascinating! 3mo
batsy Oh lord 😰 2mo
rohit-sawant What @vivastory said 😵 2mo
Reggie Yowza!!! Well we all have to start somewhere right? Even surgery. 2mo
readordierachel @batsy @rohit-sawant I know! This whole book is disturbing (ie, kinda gross) and fascinating. Like @Reggie says, we had to start somewhere. Makes me wonder where we'll be in another 50-100 years! 2mo
RaimeyGallant Omg! 2mo
Suet624 Yikes! 2mo
readordierachel @RaimeyGallant @Suet624 I know! Surgery was not for the faint of heart. 2mo
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readordierachel
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Did some #audiobaking tonight. Vegan carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting. Turned out pretty well! I think it looks like Pac-Man with the piece missing. Just started the tagged book and it's fascinating (and somewhat alarming) so far 👍🏼

CoffeeAndABook Yumm 😃🍰🍴 3mo
vivastory The book has been on my TBR. Glad to hear it's interesting. The cake looks delicious! 3mo
RvnclawWhovian I love carrot cake 🤤 3mo
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Reggie That sounds and looks delicious!!😋 3mo
rohit-sawant Looks so yum! 😋 3mo
batsy Mmm! Looks delish! 3mo
DivineDiana It does look like Pac Man! 😀 3mo
ladym30 That looks amazing 🤩! 3mo
readordierachel @CoffeeAndABook @vivastory @RvnclawWhovian @Reggie @rohit-sawant @batsy @DivineDiana @ladym30 Thanks, friends! It was one of my better baking ventures 😊 2mo
Lindy Is the cake recipe from a cookbook, the Internet, or your own creation? Looks wonderful! 2mo
readordierachel @Lindy I used this recipe (although I used a different, easier frosting recipe from Minimalist Baker): http://www.picklesnhoney.com/hippie-vegan-carrot-cake-simple-recipes-for-joy-giv... 2mo
readordierachel @Lindy It was yummy 😊 2mo
Lindy @readordierachel Thanks for the recipe link. I haven‘t made carrot cake in a long time and now I really want some! 2mo
72 likes13 comments
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SassenachTheBookWizard
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Pickpick

Okay this had the potential to be dreadfully dull but it ended being insanely interesting. The author made it more of a narration of the Doctor and his colleagues lives rather than just bullet points and use of very scientific language. Also, I will never be afraid of my own doctors now. The absolute lack of basic hand washing! Ugh *shivers grossed out*

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SassenachTheBookWizard
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This month's non-fiction!

Crazeedi Looks like a good book! 6mo
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Bianca
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Fun times.

#history

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Minimalgrl
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#24in48 @24in48 ..... my weekend !!!! #readathon 🤓📚🥰

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Minimalgrl
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Ok here is the plan for #24in48 this weekend!! Get these two going !!!!!🥳🥳🥳#24in48readathon

readingjedi Wow! I love that typewriter! 7mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Love your typewriter!!! ❤️ 7mo
mreads That owl is so pretty ❤ 7mo
Sarah83 Love your typewriter 😍 7mo
62 likes4 comments
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Minimalgrl
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Just finished The Library Book (amazing) Now moving on to this to satisfy my interest in medical history! #nonfiction

readinginthedark I'm both fascinated and afraid to read this! 🙈 7mo
RainyDayReading I really enjoyed this one when I read it! There are some parts though that are definitely not for the weak stomached. 7mo
52 likes2 comments
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scientist_reading
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What a wonderful story to accompany my breakfast 🤣

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JPeterson
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2018 was a fantastic reading year! It was hard, but I managed to pull together my top 10 for this year.

Here‘s to even more 5⭐️ reads in 2019!

JPeterson @cathysaid Yes! I think it is one of the best mystery/thrillers I‘ve read in a long time. I just loved this African setting and historical elements in it. 8mo
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LaLecture
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Mehso-so

A rather fascinating but equally shocking report on the disastrous hygienic situation in (British) hospitals in the first half of the 19th century. The book is extremely graphic (meaning gross, in the eyes of probably most people) but you can sense the author‘s passion for the topic in every description of hers. It‘s really interesting how Joseph Lister developed his antiseptic system and how long it took until it was accepted. ⬇️

LaLecture Sometimes I couldn‘t help thinking though that the book could‘ve been about 70 pages shorter if the author had refrained from telling the story of the life of every single person she ever mentions in the book 😅😂. 8mo
vivastory I have been meaning to read this one. Bumping up my NF TBR! 👍 8mo
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Hforrester12
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Going in blind but I love everything medicine!!!

Bookworm47 Hope you enjoy it. 😊 9mo
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Moray_Reads
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Pickpick

An excellent overview of Joseph Lister's groundbreaking career. Fitzsimmons had a great eye for the morbid humour essential to medical history and the episodes that bring her subjects to life. Grisly, detailed and well-balanced. Also the first book that ever made me think "I recognise that tumour!" (I used to work at Surgeons' Hall Museums RCSEd). Fascinating but perhaps not for the faint-of-stomach!

Cathythoughts Great review! Sounds interesting..... 9mo
ralexist I read this via audiobook and loved it. Totally agree that it's not for the squeamish 😉 9mo
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PunksteR
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Trying to get back in to the habbit of reading with this random airport purchase. Hope this semi accurate scientific snuff will do the trick.

Texreader Yikes!! 9mo
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scowler1
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Pickpick

What a great story, you'll need a strong stomach though - some passages had me wincing with imagined pain. We are truly lucky to live in this age of medicine, if we can afford it of course. There are a lot of famous characters among these pages and some very witty, though gory writing.

Ericalambbrown I really liked this one. It was the first book I posted to Litsy. 9mo
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scowler1
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Two from the library today, coincidence?

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JPeterson
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#BlackCatChallenge: Gory

Nothing says gory like a Victorian surgery theater. ☠️

IamIamIam I follow her IG account! She's always posting cool factoids!!! 10mo
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RainyDayReading
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Forgot to post this yesterday before I fell asleep 😅 #blackcatchallenge day 2. This book is definitely #bloodcurdling and not for the faint of heart when it comes to the descriptions. So of course I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fascinating and macabre this book made me sooo happy to have been born in this era rather than the Victorian one. @Clwojick

Bklover Listerine!! 11mo
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JPeterson
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Oh, hello pretty #bookmail. I have an idea of what my weekend is going to look like. 💀🖤🔪💉

catiewithac I loved this book! 🔪 12mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage This was a good one! 😷 12mo
JPeterson @catiewithac @BarbaraTheBibliophage It was great! I basically devoured it yesterday! 🖤 12mo
LaurenReads My brother just recommended this one to me! 12mo
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MStew
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This book sounds INSANE! I can't wait to read it , I love anatomy and medical books so anything dealing with that intrigues me. This is about how surgery was in the nineteenth century and how much has change, and I'm sure it was very gruesome back then!! #horror #book #nonfiction #booknerd #medical

Velvetfur That sounds fab! Have you read 'Past Mortems' by Carla Valentine? I haven't, but want to 😊 13mo
JennyM Messy business, for sure 😊 13mo
trioxin_sematary That's some grim shit 😂😘 13mo
MStew @trioxin_sematary i know i loves it!!🤓🤓😗 13mo
MStew @Velvetfur I'm gonna look that up 13mo
99 likes8 stack adds5 comments
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Sarrie
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As a pregnant woman. No, thank you. I'm pleased we've grown from here. 😖

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Sarrie
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Why read horror novels when you can read medical history books?

4 likes1 comment
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nikirtehsuxlol
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Internal Medicine gets its name from the time where surgeons operated more on the periphery of the body (amputations, tumor removals), because heart, abdomen, etc (the “internal” parts) were so dangerous at the time. Also prob not the best book to read before I gotta get surgery ☠️

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Lkbbooks
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A biography of Joseph Lister, who pioneered antiseptic surgery. “Lister‘s methods transformed surgery from a butchering art to a modern science, one where newly tried and tested methodologies trumped hackneyed practices. They opened up new frontiers in medicine —-allowing us to delve further into the living body—-and in the process they saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

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ElectricKatyLand
Pickpick

Engrossing medical history and biography of Joseph Lister, the surgeon who brought germ theory into the medical mainstream.

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RainyDayReading
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Boy if the “Age of Agony” doesnt perfectly sum up this book so far I don‘t know what would. Makes me glad for today‘s advances in modern medicine. I‘m hoping to knock this out tonight (since it‘s due back tomorrow 🙈) and then return to my #freakyfriday reads!

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HollyB3
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Bailedbailed

Ah, I kind of hate to bail on this one, I‘ve enjoyed what I‘ve read, but I haven‘t touched it in days and I‘m not clamoring to read it. I may go back to it at some point, but I think I need to put it down for now.

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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Pickpick

Before Joseph Lister, surgeons were battlefield-trained butchers. And patients were quite likely to die, usually of an infection. Lister changed all that, but it was a lifelong journey for him. He fought the medical establishment to gain credence for his scientific antiseptic practices. It‘s a fascinating read about the history of medicine!

Full review at www.TheBibliophage.com

#thebibliophage2018

AmyG Sounds oddly good. Thanks for posting the review. (edited) 1y
catiewithac Loved this book! I also love carbolic soap! 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @catiewithac It sounds like the book was a good fit for you, with the soap preference and all! 😜 I don‘t know that I‘ve ever seen carbolic soap in the store. Maybe I just didn‘t notice it. 1y
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BarbaraTheBibliophage @AmyG It is oddly good. Parts get a bit slow, but mostly it‘s quite interesting. 1y
GarthRanzz Loved your review of this one Barbara! 1y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Great review!! Stacked!! 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @GarthRanzz Thanks @GarthRanzz — I love writing reviews for books I enjoy. 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Thanks! I hope you enjoy it—whenever you read it. 1y
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks @BarbaraTheBibliophage so many so little time!! 📚📚📚 1y
sloanghost If you like podcasts at all, Sawbones would pair great with this book! 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @sloanghost Oooh thanks! I‘ll have to check that one out. Theoretically I like podcasts. In practice, I listen to books more. But there‘s often some in between time. 1y
lynneamch Looks like a good post for #emojimadness #🔬for @JoeStalksBeck @Tiffy_Reads #science 1y
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ralexist
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Pickpick

My NF audiobook read for February. Not for the squeamish, it nevertheless is a fascinating look at early medicine. You learn things like the best surgeon could perform an amputation from first cut to sewing up the stump in 30 seconds. And that with the the addition of anesthesia, deaths from surgery actually increased for awhile. But mostly this is a book about the man who introduced medicine to the concept of germs, thereby changing the world.

ralexist 📷: courtesy of cultofweird.com (edited) 1y
29 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Started this one before bed last night ... yikes! It‘s a lot better than that last nonfiction book I DNFd. I really must catch up on my ARCs too.

#nonfiction2018

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rabbitprincess
Pickpick

Excellent read, with plenty of details that had me going EWWWW even as I turned the pages, enthralled. Recommended for those who like to read about the history of medicine and/or those who are fans of Henry Marsh or Caitlin Doughty.

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rabbitprincess

Joseph Lister used frogs as research material and caught some on his honeymoon. "Unfortunately for Lister (though happily for the frogs), they managed to escape on this occasion, causing uproar in the house as the servants scurried around trying to catch them."

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rabbitprincess
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*faints*

tournevis The great thing about knowing authors is that you get to have a conversation where you learn how to remove a person's eye ball with a spoon and still have said person survive. True story. 2y
rabbitprincess @tournevis Yikes! That would be quite the story! 2y
tournevis @rabbitprincess It's especially fun when that conversation is in a restaurant where there are a lot of other patrons. 🤣🤣🤣🤣 2y
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Grrlbrarian
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#riotgrams Day 3: Naked hardcovers. I‘m on a Victorian medicine jag, and the tagged book has been FANTASTIC thus far. I‘ve never been more grateful for modern medicine. Can‘t wait to delve into Quackery as well. These books are not for the squeamish, but they‘re lovely anyway!

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Ericalambbrown
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Pickpick

This is an excellent read if you have any interest whatsoever in medical/surgical history. I learned about Joseph Lister while earning my degree in microbiology/biotechnology and he became one of my scientific heroes. Who wouldn‘t love the guy who realized washing your hands before surgery (and not just after) could save lives? Bit of warning: this is not for the squeamish.

DebinHawaii Welcome to Litsy!! 🎉📚👍😀Hope you are enjoying it here! 2y
Jess7 Welcome to Litsy! 2y
Ericalambbrown @Jess7 Awww, thanks! It‘s lots of fun! 2y
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kristina_with_a_k
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Starting this while I wait to have an MRI.

Reecaspieces Unique choice before an MRI! 😜 2y
14 likes2 comments
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BeththeBookDragon
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Hahahaha

Texreader 🤣 but 😵 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage Wowza. That‘s on my NetGalley shelf. Gotta get to it! 2y
minkyb Yikes! 2y
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catiewithac
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Pickpick

What a great read! It‘s a little gruesome & starts off heavy on the gross side (but that‘s perfect for me 😋). Recommended for folks who enjoy history of medicine, biographies, & surgery. No amount of putrefaction can dissuade me from reading on my lunch break at work. RNs have stomachs of steel. I enjoy wound care so this history is relevant to my job even today. With antibiotic resistance on the rise, antisepsis is important to remember. 🤢🤕😷

vivastory I'm currently reading Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Butchering Arts sounds like a good one for my nonfiction TBR 2y
rabbitprincess Yay, I have a hold on this one at the library! Looking forward to it 😊 2y
Godmotherx5 Sounds right up my alley. #NursesofLitsy (edited) 2y
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effinprincess
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Started this this evening. Went into my grocery budget to pick this one up, but so far, it's not disappointing! Looks like it's going to be a fun read!

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catiewithac
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“‘Life directs the work of death at every stage.‘” - Louis Pasteur

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Expandingbookshelf
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Pickpick

Maybe it wasn‘t a great idea to read about ghoulish surgical practices in the Victorian era WHILE eating noodles, but it‘s too late now.

Still, I 💚 this book. It‘s a fascinating, well-researched, GORY account of Dr. Joseph Lister and his campaign to convince other doctors that germs exist (so, you know, maybe they should wash their hands? It took awhile for him to convince them 💀). It‘s super fascinating and well-written.

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JessNevertheless
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One of my favorite books of the year that also happens to be from a #debutauthor. Fascinating account of science history and the life of Joseph Lister 🔬💉 #jingleshelves

Also so glad Litsy is back 🎉

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Love your pic!!! And me too 😉 2y
53 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Expandingbookshelf
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Surgeon, bastard, knows nothing, etc., etc.

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WoodyWoodson
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Pickpick

This book is up your alley if you enjoy learning about Early surgical practices and are not squeamish. Lindsey Fitzharris doesn't hold back the gore and gruesome spectacle seen in Victorian era operating theaters. This is a well reseaeched, well written, fascinating read!