January 24th, 2020

Gil

Books 3-4

RiptideRiptide by Douglas Preston

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Not my usual cuppa but I almost always enjoy Preston and Child's books. This one is suspense rather than mystery and it's lifted whole cloth from the Curse of Oak Island. If you're not familiar with that real life pirate treasure hunt, it's just that, a supposed pirate treasure burial so complex we can't find it even told (but the reality show will keep dragging on for you.)

Way back in the day Red Ned Ockham buried his treasure off the coast of Maine on an island owned by Dr. Malin Hatch's family in the modern day. Ockham had kidnapped a famous architect to help him and this thing is filled with dangerous traps not the least of which is the water pit. As children, Malin and his brother were playing there when they weren't meant to, leaving his brother dead and Malin saddled with a life of guilt.

He gets into this with Neidelman, a captain with deep pockets and a scientifically advanced crew mostly to see if he can find out answers about his brother more so than the two billion dollars of treasure including St. Michael's sword. We have computer experts, fussy cryptographers, and Bonterre, the archaeologist. On the other side we have Clay, a preacher who hates the idea of the search of gold and is trying to radicalize the townspeople against the search. And then there's Malin's ex.

So obviously most of this is about the search for treasure, mounting paranoia and eventually lots of action/adventure at the end. I enjoyed it well enough but on the other hand I'm not all that wowed. it's not one I'll remember for a long time. It was a nice escape but not much more.



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Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure EverythingQuackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


As a doctor with an interest in the history of medicine, I had so much fun with this. Looking at other reviews there are some good points there. This IS like a 300+ page Cracked article so if you don't like sarcasm and humor, this isn't for you. But to me, humor in teaching keeps it from getting boring and engages the learner so I loved it and it worked for me.

Another made a good point about some of this not being true quackery and a lot of it is more about the fact our understanding of medicine just sucked at that time. Medicine as we know it truly blossomed in the twentieth century. But I suppose Quackery made for a snappier title.

Regardless, it's a great look at the history of medicine along with true quackery. What I liked was they also pointed out that some of this misunderstood/quack medicine does have some medicinal value but didn't always include enough (like electricity which is used in bone/wound healing and inflammation decreasing via TENS/Inferential units).

What I would have liked was a bibliography in case you wanted to read further. There is zero in the way of reference pages. Even Wiki includes that so even though this is meant for the lay person, I found that disappointing. Still, in spite that, it was an informative fun read.



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