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Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything | Lydia Kang, Nate Pedersen
62 posts | 27 read | 124 to read
Imagine a time when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When liquefied gold was touted as immortality in a glass. And when strychnine--yes, that strychnine, the one used in rat poison--was dosed like Viagra. Looking back with fascination, horror, and not a little dash of dark, knowing humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable history of medical misfires and malpractices. Ranging from the merely weird to the outright dangerous, here are 67 outlandish, morbidly hilarious "treatments"-- conceived by doctors and scientists, by spiritualists and snail oil salesmen--that were predicated on a range of cluelessness, trial and error, and straight-up scams. With vintage illustrations, photographs, and advertisements throughout, Quackery seamlessly combines macabre humor with science and storytelling to reveal an important and disturbing side of the ever-evolving field of medicine. Written by Dr. Lydia Kang, a practicing physician, and Nate Pederson, a journalist and historian, it's all here -- the leeches, the arsenic drops, the water cures and radium spa hotels, the prefontal lobotomies. Do no harm? As if!
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sherryvdh
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I was looking around on overdrive to find some accompaniment for my #audiocleaning today. This sounds fascinating! I can't wait to start. After having a sick toddler all week, I really need to get things done, including some penpal responses. Hope everyone has a great weekend (and a great long weekend for those who have one this weekend)!

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BiblioLitten
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A few examples from my husband‘s bizarre, shocking yet fascinating #currentread about medical misfires and malpractices.
Morphine for crying babies, Arsenic to cure fatigue, Tobacco for lung diseases, drilling a hole in the head to cure insanity!
Surely a #highwaytohell for the patients.
#maymoviemagic

Centique Yikes! 4mo
tammysue Hard to believe isn‘t it! 4mo
rohit-sawant Scary stuff! 4mo
See All 6 Comments
Cinfhen So sad 😣ignorance is terrible 4mo
Tanisha_A 🤯 4mo
gradcat Wow! 😮 That‘s scary!! 4mo
52 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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Emory
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Pickpick

Started and finished this yesterday. It was exactly what I needed after binge listening to This Podcast Will Kill You and Mary Roach audiobooks.

RamsFan1963 I loved this book!! So funny in a dark way. 6mo
71 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Amandajoy
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Eating dinner and reading about... leeches? Maybe not the best #dinnerandabook pick...

50 likes1 stack add
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Amandajoy
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Apparently, strychnine used to be used instead of Gatorade to help get through a grueling marathon. And water? Meh, not important. 😳🤦🏼‍♀️

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Amandajoy
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Settling in with a cup of tea & learning how good can cure your opinion habit, drunkenness, & neurasthenia (that‘s nervous exhaustion in case you‘re curious). Just a typical Wednesday evening. This book is slightly absurd & I‘m enjoying it.

56 likes1 stack add
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The.Intentional.Reader
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The title of this book alone is worth its weight! I‘ve always been interested in seeing the ummm “Creative” ways medicine has been practiced in the past.

16 likes1 stack add
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Ericalambbrown
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Mehso-so

My biggest issue with this book is that NOTHING is annotated. For any book claiming to be historical fact, this is a problem for me. There‘s no bibliography and no sourcing. Aside from that, it started off as snarky fun but ended up feeling like bad dad jokes on a long car trip. I did learn a lot that I didn‘t know previously, however, so I didn‘t feel it was a complete waste of time.

BarbaraTheBibliophage Argh! I would feel the same way! 7mo
Ericalambbrown @BarbaraTheBibliophage Right? And it‘s just odd for an author to call out quackdom whilst neglecting to include proper academic citation. 🤣 7mo
89 likes2 comments
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Ericalambbrown
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1) Tagged book and The Poisonwood Bible
2) Ravenclaw
3) The Punisher

#weekendreads

rachelsbrittain Thanks for joining in 💙🖤💙 7mo
52 likes1 comment
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Megabooks
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Pickpick

A fun stroll through the history of bad ideas! The authors debunk all kinds of medical treatments from the 1950s all the way back to BCE. The book mainly focuses on European/white American fads. If you have a high tolerance for gross things and some curiosity, this book is for you. 4⭐️

#nonfiction2019 #somethingaboutlawormedicine

Riveted_Reader_Melissa Haha those quotes are great! 7mo
Megabooks @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I highlighted so many more! It was truly hilarious and odd! (edited) 7mo
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Ericalambbrown
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Well, this could certainly explain a lot. . . 🤣 Cocaine extract in wine, y‘all! 🍷 🍃

Weaponxgirl That‘s brilliant! 😂 7mo
61 likes1 comment
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Amandajoy
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1. I took a picture of breakfast but forgot to post, so you get dinner too.
2. I‘ve bought four, this was one of them.
3. I think 33, but I feel it should be more.
4. The pretty, fancy ones. In addition to all the ones I want to read & cookbooks.
5. Not this year, but we‘re planning a big trip for 2020. My fiancé has never been overseas, any suggestion of where to go first?

#humpdaypost

BarbaraJean So exciting to plan a big trip! My husband had never been out of the USA until October—we went to the U.K. (England, Scotland, and Wales) and he loved it. And if you go to Wales, you could stop in at Hay-on-Wye, the Town of Books! 7mo
39 likes1 comment
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Ericalambbrown
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This book is great! The sense of snark with which the author writes is glorious! It‘s pretty fascinating stuff. I‘m not getting through it as quickly as I‘d expected because I keep going off on little research tangents -it‘s so ridiculously interesting (if sometimes infuriating).

Elizabeth2 Hahahaha! 😂 7mo
Megabooks Lololol 🤣🤣 thanks for the reminder to read this! 7mo
C.Perone 😂 7mo
BookNerd9906 🤣🤣🤣 7mo
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Ericalambbrown
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So true!

Weaponxgirl This is on my tbr list, it looks sooo good 8mo
Ericalambbrown @Weaponxgirl It‘s funny and snarky and informative so far. 😊 I‘ve already giggled and learned a lot in the first two chapters 8mo
RadicalReader @Ericalambbrown cannot wait to read this sounds like an interesting read my favorite types of reads lol 8mo
63 likes3 comments
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Ericalambbrown
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Hurray for new Christmas books! D got me nine books! NINE! I feel like he got me ALL THE BOOKS 😊 This one I particularly love. He knows my love of medical history and my distaste for woo ridiculousness that makes no scientific sense. I‘m a lucky girl 🍀📚💕 #allthebooks #lovemyguy

Jee_HookedOnBookz Love the cover and the title! 😁 8mo
Ericalambbrown @Jee_HookedOnBookz I can‘t wait to start it tonight 😊 It looks like it addresses a ton of woo peddler nonsense 8mo
Jee_HookedOnBookz Wooooo!! (lame I know ahhaaha) Have fun!! 8mo
See All 10 Comments
Reviewsbylola This sounds fascinating! 8mo
Ericalambbrown @Reviewsbylola I think it will be - and with a healthy dose of snark, from what I‘m seeing so far, which I love 😊 8mo
Crazeedi You are one lucky person! This book looks so cool I have to add! 8mo
tracey38 Wow, that's a good amount of books! 8mo
RadicalReader @Ericalambbrown every time I think of the word quack I think of how Betty Deville from Rugrats would always call Dr Lipschitz a quack still love the humor in wonderful Rugrats. Happier to know they‘re coming back on tv next year 8mo
Ericalambbrown @RadicalReader I didn‘t know Rugrats was coming back! That‘s awesome! 😂 8mo
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Amandajoy
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This quarters suggestions from MyTBR subscription. I went to go pick up one from Barnes and Noble, but they had none ☹️. Guess I won‘t be starting one this weekend. Have you read any of these selections? What did you think?

Librarybelle Quackery is fun! It‘s a little scary to think what we‘re considered remedies in the past. 8mo
8little_paws Friday Black is fantastic 8mo
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RamsFan1963
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Pickpick

This book is very funny in a snarky way, but I don't recommend reading it while eating because there's plenty of things within that will make you say Ewwwwww Gross!! 4 💥💥💥💥 out of 5.

BarbaraTheBibliophage This one is definitely on my TBR! 8mo
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bookaddict86
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Pickpick

This is an interesting read

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RamsFan1963
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This has got to be the most painful thing I've read today!!

LauraJ Yeah, that‘s not going to set a young man up for a lifelong fetish... 8mo
Redwritinghood Yikes! 8mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage Holy ouch! 8mo
35 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Samary
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Pickpick

This book was a lot of fun! We recorded our review and it will be available Dec 31!
The 2019 genre is Young Adult Fiction!
#quackery #review #bookclub #fiction

https://www.iabdpresents.com/quarterly-book-club

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RamsFan1963
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Done for today, pretty much on schedule although I had hoped to get more reading done, but life interferes as usual.
I'm off to sleep now, and I hope I don't have nightmares from reading about the horrifying medical practices in the tagged book. Some stagger the imagination

#25in5 @Andrew65 @TheReadingMermaid

LauraJ Yeah, definitely don‘t dream about being covered in leeches. 😴 8mo
Andrew65 Brilliant, right on track 🙌 Hope you got restive sleep. 8mo
TheReadingMermaid Doing great!!!👍🏻 8mo
49 likes3 comments
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Samary
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Equal parts fascinating and squirmy!!

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cocomass
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Pickpick

Oh so gross but HIGHLY entertaining. This was a (very random) book club pick but we ended up having some great discussion about women‘s health, personal “quack remedies” we‘ve tried, as well as trust (or lack thereof) in medical professionals. Certainly helped to have a doctor amongst us! 4/5 ✨

Riveted_Reader_Melissa This sounds awesome!!! 9mo
RedxoHearts I will have to read this one some day. I'm always such a sucker for these kinds of books and love reading about random weird facts. 9mo
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cocomass
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Reading this one for book club. No small amount of fun, if you have a strong stomach. Mercury baths to treat syphilis? Why not?

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Linsy
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Pickpick

Ever wondered about the term blue bloods? Looking for some skull moss to staunch a bloody nose? Or do you have a confounding case of wandering uterus? Then look no further! Quackery is the book for you.

What a riot! Filled with weird science and even weirder history, this book is for those moments when you need to feel better about yourself — because you don‘t think heroin is a cure for morphine addiction.

#bookreview #screamathon

KellyHunsakerReads It makes me wonder what should be in the book about today. 10mo
Linsy @Hunsakermountain Right?! Maybe we shouldn‘t think about it too hard... 😱 (edited) 10mo
Bookish_B I love these kinds of books! 10mo
Blaire This sounds like a lot of fun! 10mo
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CoffeeK8
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Pickpick

An interesting history of all the worst ways to not get better in history.

CoverToCoverGirl 😂 I adore the title 11mo
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MarriedtoMrT
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I‘ve started listening to this on audio and it‘s great. Irreverent, sarcastic, informative, and read with the perfect inflections. That said, I‘m glad I also have a hard copy so I can enjoy all the images of period memorabilia throughout.

The above section made me stop listening to tell my husband about it. Reusable poop pills passed down through families! “They were dutifully retrieved from latrines, washed, and reused over and over again.” 🤢

julesG 😂😂😂😂 12mo
thereadingowlvina This was a good read! Love the illustrations and bite-size info too 😁 12mo
RaimeyGallant I feel like I got ripped off, because no one has ever given me these. 12mo
44 likes1 stack add4 comments
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LaurenReads
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Pickpick

This book was hilariously snarky! It was a great overview of medical practices that (thank goodness) are not used today, but were popular in the past. I have some topics to add to my tbr after listening to this book. #nonfiction #audiobook

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thereadingowlvina
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Pickpick

A hilariously disturbing compendium of medical blunders & oddities. I'm thankful for modern medicine!

✔ Well-written & structured
✔ Fun, engaging & easy to read
✔ Wealth of information with illustrations & vintage advertisements

Rating: 4.5 🌟

For complete review, plese visit https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2456248272

#nonfiction #medicalcompendium

Trashcanman Oh man that book should have its own section on Mexican remedies because I know like, well a thousand. 13mo
CSeydel I heard an interview with the author and I‘ve been wanting to read it! Glad you enjoyed it! 13mo
thereadingowlvina @Trashcanman Wow, that's cool! 👍😁 13mo
thereadingowlvina @CSeydel Yes, it was a fun read for me! Didn't expect that! For a non fiction book, I think it was well done 😁 13mo
38 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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thereadingowlvina
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Picked this one up from the library today. Something to read in between my current reads. It's disturbingly hilarious so far! 😏

rather_be_reading 😂😂 13mo
29 likes1 comment
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ElishaLovesBooks
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New #bookmail 📚 Daughter #3 is obsessed with a book series so I have slowly been paying her for babysitting with books! I had to order something for myself too! #EvilGenius

Just sitting on the porch as I finally have some time to relax after a very hectic day. So busy, but at least I accomplished a lot. #MomLife #TeacherLife

Booknerd2 Your Petunias are beautiful!!! (edited) 1y
Reviewsbylola What a great way to earn books. I would gladly be paid in the same way! 1y
ElishaLovesBooks @Reviewsbylola So would I! She‘s pretty picky about books but when she likes something she reads it over and over! Totally not the way I read 😂🤷🏻‍♀️ 1y
73 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Conservio
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Really enjoyed this! It had some great photos and covered a wide range of topics. Ms. Kang is an excellent speaker as well (saw her give a Science Cafe Talk).

If you like this sort of thing, check out the #sawbones podcast. Their slogan is “a marital tour of misguided medicine”. #nonfiction #medicine #history

vivastory Sounds great! 1y
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Bookmarkie
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Delicious recipe for a stew to combat seizure disorder. We,as humans, really did some messed up stuff that we considered medicine. This book is gross but enthralling and quite entertaining!

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Librarybelle
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I thought this was a fun, yet at times disgusting and disturbing, look at cures for what ails a #human . #getmovin

Cinfhen Great title 😹 1y
Swe_Eva I need this! 1y
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Conservio
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Been awhile since I‘ve had time to walk and read... or do any exercise besides Thursday night rocking climbing #busybee

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ElePoser
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Trying not to be quack 😉

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Conservio
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Been so busy with school that I‘ve barely had time to read! Taking a break to catch up on “quackery”. I love the inclusions of previous advertisements... wonder if I could find any prints of them??? #tobaccosmokeenemas

9 likes1 stack add
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JessNevertheless
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Managed to read 14 books this month so I‘ve upped my Goodreads goal to 100 which somehow seems doable this year! Also glad I knocked out two books for the #litsyclassics challenge, two of my longest in fact! 🎉 Overall I think a solid start to the year!

#januarystats #wrapup #stats

Andrew65 👏👏👏👏 2y
jdtchicago Good job. I‘m doing 10 a month which is 120 and you are way ahead of me! 2y
59 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Conservio
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Well. I guess that‘s one way to kill all the nasties..... #radium #uhhhhhh

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tracy_anne8
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Pickpick

This turned into one of those books that I wish I could read over again for the first time. It was entertaining and informative. I never once felt bored (which sometimes happens to me with non-fictions). #nonfiction #history #medicine

This was also my 1st one done for #24in48. This was also my 1st book done for my #nonfiction2018.

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tracy_anne8
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I got my coffee, the dogs and hubby are taken care of (he has flu) and I'm hiding in the bedroom away from germs. I think I'm officially ready to start my #24in48. @24in48

36 likes3 stack adds
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tracy_anne8
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Well I won't be starting my #24in48 tonight. I had a long exhausting week so I'm heading to bed early tonight but I will start first thing in the morning. This is my pile for this weekend. To finish the two books shown, along with catch up on Jane Eyre for my #janeeyrebuddyread and read some of the mystery book(which I'm not revealing yet). I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!
@24in48

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Gina
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This looks interesting. I can't wait to get my hands on this one. Looks like a hoot.

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allthembooks
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It's been a crap day, but I'm finally taking a couple minutes to sit down and read this, it truly is delightful and awesomely weird.

#bookstagram #amreading #quackery #quack #history #medicine #medicalhistory

MStew I need this😍 13mo
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JessNevertheless
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One of my #bookresolutions is to read at least 2 nonfiction books a month. As I happened to drop by a bookstore today I snagged these two in my #bookhaul. Another one of my resolutions is to read more of what I own already but I‘ll start that one tomorrow 😉

#readingresolutions

JenReadsAlot I just started Radium Girls this morning and so far it is really interesting. 2y
JessNevertheless @JenReadsAlot I‘m really looking forward to reading it! I know it‘s not a happy story but science history is slowly becoming one of my favorite genres. ⚗️ 2y
JenReadsAlot Please let me know some recommendations! 2y
See All 9 Comments
JessNevertheless @JenReadsAlot This one and the next are a couple of favorites :) 2y
JenReadsAlot Thank you! 2y
EKonrad I read Radium Girls over the summer and I‘m still thinking about it! So good! 2y
Elle_Skeldon I started Radium Girls on audio book and was so excited about it, but honestly I couldn't handle more than a chapter with the narrator. Her voice just didn't sit well with me. The book version in on my holds list and I am even more excited to read it now based on the reviews here! 2y
JessNevertheless @Elle_Skeldon Good to know about the audiobook! I usually switch between versions unless I really hate a narrator which it sounds might be the case this time. 2y
48 likes9 comments
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JenlovesJT47
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Lol I just saw this on another Litten's feed today and commented that it sounded like a fun read! Lo and behold it's on sale today so I'm definitely snatching it up! 😅As a heads up there are a ton of great books on sale on kindle today, including the entire Lord of the Rings for $3.99. #sale #kindle 📚🤓📚🤓📚

Booksnchill This was a really fun read!! 2y
tracy_anne8 So far it's great! 2y
JenlovesJT47 @Booksnchill yay glad to hear it, can't wait to read it! 🙌🏻🤗 2y
JenlovesJT47 @tracy_anne8 great! So ironic I just saw you post about it this morning, it looks really funny. 2y
tracy_anne8 @JenlovesJT47 It was meant to be!😊 2y
72 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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tracy_anne8
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The hubby fell asleep on the couch and is still passed out so I'm starting today back in bed with my 1st book for #nonfiction2018, my #janeeyrebuddyread, coffee and 2 dogs (one of whom is staring at me very intently because I'm not giving her scratchies 🤣)

JenlovesJT47 This book sounds like fun! 😅 2y
tracy_anne8 @JenlovesJT47 So far I'm enjoying it! 2y
Gissy Love that edition of Jane Eyre😍 2y
tracy_anne8 @Gissy Thank you 😊 2y
29 likes1 stack add4 comments
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DrJAdMerricksson
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Pickpick

This book is packed with so much neat information! It's fascinating the things humanity has believed through the ages. We‘ve gone through many trials, and made many errors to get to where we are today medical-wise. It's so hard to believe we once thought ingesting things like mercury, strychnine, and radium were beneficial, or that cocaine and opium were in medications casually given to children.

Or this here... 😅😆

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tracy_anne8
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A picture of my Christmas bookish Goodies 😊.A stack of books, a new kindle case and a bag, mug and socks from Out of Print.#christmas #bookishchristmas #kindle #outofprint #bookishgifts

BookMaven407 Merry Christmas 🎄 2y
36 likes1 comment
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DrJAdMerricksson
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I'll take 'Hell No' for 1000$, Alex.