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Weekend read: My final recommendation

My recommended read for this week is by Zachary Crockett on the Priceonomics blog, and concerns the invention of sliced bread. As an American, Crockett fails to point out the remarkable fact that the dates in the article mean that Sir Bruce Forsyth is older than sliced bread – which is a quite remarkable fact. But the rest of the article is so good that I can probably, just about, forgive him.

wheat toast bread

This week’s selection is the 125th in this two-and-a-half year series, and I’m sorry to say that it is also the last. It isn’t for want of material: I’ve 71 future ‘weekend reads’ – more than a year’s worth – tucked away in Evernote. The truth is that I’ve grown a little bit bored with this series. It’s not a series where I add much, but rather one where I just point and gawp. And pointing and gawping gets boring after a while. The fact that I have so many future options tucked away is revealing: why have I not just shared them as I’ve gone along? And I guess, at least in part, it’s because I feel constrained by my own format. So I’m ditching it.

I’m going to take a couple of weeks away from the blog, and then I’ll be back in the new year with some new ideas and a slightly more flexible format – but I’ll tell you more about that in 2015.

In the meantime, if you didn’t catch every one of those 125 recommendations first time round, you can access the whole back catalogue here.

Have a great Christmas!

This 2,287th post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .






Weekend read: Accidental deaths in Tudor England

Since this is my blog, I reserve the right to geek out once in a while… and today is one of those times. My recommended read for this weekend is a fascinating bit of historical epidemiology published in The Lancet back in 2012 (it’s free to access). Gunn and Gromelski present their review of the documentation from 16th century coroners’ inquests (Who knew there were coroners, let alone inquests, in the 16th century?!)

Getreideernte

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to have some of my work featured in the British Library’s Beautiful Science exhibition, and – just a few exhibits along from mine – they had some brilliant Parish records of deaths from the 19th century on display. It was intriguing to see diagnoses like “rising of the lights”, which killed an awful lot of people – especially when one considers that knowledge of what this phrase actually described is now lost to history.

The Gunn and Gromelski paper is interesting for its analysis of what the deaths tell us about lives during that period, and how things have changed over the years. My description of the paper may sound geeky, but it really is fascinating, and well worth spending a few minutes reading this weekend.

And can any of my medic friends honestly say they wouldn’t love to write something as artistic as “a rush of water entered his mouth and nose and stupefied his spirit” in the relevant box on a crem form? I know I would.

This 2,286th post was filed under: Health, Weekend Reads, , , .






Weekend read: What kind of king will Charles III be?

I’m sure I’ve read in the past that the Prince of Wales plans to use the title King George VII on accession to the throne… but that’s not hugely relevant to my recommended read for this weekend, which is a long piece by Robert Booth published in The Guardian this week. Booth explores the likely manner of Charles as monarch.

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Of course, this being a Guardian article, it’s more than a little critical of Charles and tinged with more than a hint of republicanism. But, while the heavy-handedness grates from time to time, it’s an enjoyable article with some interesting observations which is well worth a read this weekend.



The image in this post is a Creative Commons licensed photo shared by Victoria Johnson on Flickr.

This 2,285th post was filed under: Weekend Reads, , .






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