Monday, October 15, 2012


Justin Cronin's follow up to The Passage is about to be published.  I read The Passage when it came out in the summer of 2010 and thought it would be fun to re-read it before starting The Twelve.  And so far, I am enjoying the re-read much more than I'd imagined I would.  It is a big, big book with a lot of different characters and stories packed into it and now that I know them all I can relax and enjoy everything more.  And the book retains most of its scariness.

I'm also reading David Quammen's new book Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.  Popular Science magazine just ran a nice excerpt.  It is the perfect nonfiction companion to The Passage as Spillover is about how diseases in animals crossover to infect and spread among humans and that some truly horrible epidemics are probably going to occur.  Which is sort of what happens at the start of The Passage - researchers being attacked by bats in the Bolivan jungle.  And then the virus spreads and pretty soon civilization collapses.  The viruses in Spillover mainly limit themselves to killing their hosts and so far it appears none have the potential to turn us into virals.  (As far as we know.)

I am deep into my project of putting many of my books into storage (so far, 63 boxes) and because I've been thinking about diseases and epidemics from The Passage and Spillover, I noticed that I have a ton of books on infectious disease: Malaria, smallpox, tuberculosis, Ebola, SARS, influenza, AIDS, anthrax, bubonic plague, BSE and more.  Even textbooks on malaria.  I've packed most of them up for storage but now that I think about it, it must have looked strange to anyone who saw them all.  And it reminds me of a funny story Nick Hornby wrote about in Vanity Fair about when he first saw his brother-in-law-to-be's London apartment - it was crammed full of books on Nazi Germany.  So many books that it looked suspicious and he was worried for his sister.  Turns out the Robert Harris was about to have a massive success with Fatherland.

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