Brian Switek is better known, perhaps, for writing about palaeontology — and particularly dinosaurs. The Secret Life of Bone is all about a much more familiar skeleton in the closet — well, actually, it’s not even in the closet, so that’s really a bad joke. Ahem. Anyway. The point is, this book focuses mostly on human bone, though it gets there by way of our evolutionary history. Want to know how bones evolved? What bones can tell you about an individual? Freaky facts about bone growing inside soft organs? How bones are formed and reformed throughout your life? How bones fossilise?
This book is all of that, in a pretty breezy and entertaining style. It’s anecdotal, of course, as is common for popular science books — so if you have absolutely no interest at all in knowing Switek’s own thoughts, feelings and experiences, it probably won’t be for you. It makes the descriptions and explanations accessible, and I think really the thing that’s most lacking is some colour-plates to illustrate some of the skeletons he discusses from photographs.
Keeping it quiet for another week and just posting here and not going round other blogs in the link roundup… but looking forward to hearing what blog regulars are reading!
What are you currently reading?
I decided I wanted something light and fun, so I’m reading Deanna Raybourn’s A Dangerous Collaboration. I normally tear through these because I can read great big chunks at a time, and so it is proving this time.
Mind you, Skyrim is really distracting, or I’d probably have finished it already…
What have you recently finished reading?
Last thing I read was Brian Switek’s The Secret Life of Bones. He’s primarily known for his enthusiasm about dinosaurs, but this is actually largely about human bones. Other species come into it for illustrative purposes, and a good broad sweep of evolutionary history is discussed to explain how bones in general developed… but mostly it is about human bone. I enjoyed it.
What will you be reading next?
I’m gonna go with “goodness knows”, again. I just spent a birthday cheque from my grandma on a couple more birthday books… and there’s some library books… and books I fancy rereading. So I’ll just go “as my Whimsy takes me”, as ever.