075) A Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare> by Jeremy Butterfield, finished August 8
- I love books on words. This one, specifically, is on the Oxford corpus and all the dandy things we can learn by examining it.
Unfortunately, I didn't think to make a list of fascinating facts as I did with the next book on this list, but you should not take that to mean that I did not enjoy this book as much. I enjoyed this book immensely. I want you to consider me now, at this moment, pressing both Damp Squid and How Sex Works into your hands and saying Read! Read! You must read!
This book was so good, I stopped reading How Sex Works's chapter on intercourse to come back to it and read some more about words.
IT'S THAT GOOD.
074) How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do by Dr. Sharon Moalem, finished August 6
- Don't you just love a riviting nonfiction book? One that you can't put down because you're just learning so many interesting things? I've been reading two and it's marvelous.
This is the one about sex.
Two brief observations, then I'll get down to business.
One: This book is rife with typos. An unbelievable number. What, were they afraid sex was going to go out of style two weeks later if they did a last pass for errors? I just hope the errors stuck with grammar and didn't actually screw with content.
Two: I'm fascinated with how the author personified Evolution. The text of the book treats Evolution as a godlike figure who wants things and causes things and influences things. But the moral of the story is even if Evolution made you a philanderer, you still have the brain Evolution gave you and you need not do what Evolution wants. It's a very postmodern religious idea.
Now down to business. I've made a list of facts from this book that I found particularly interesting. That *I* found particularly interesting. Which means if you find them interesting at all, reading the book will provide ones you are charmed by even more. For instance, I didn't write down anything about crocodile feces because I already knew what Cleopatra did with it. So it wasn't that interesting. To me. You might feel differently.
This book was a blast. Pick one up. (Or wait for the second printing if you're easily annoyed by lousy copyediting. Harper should certainly know better. No wonder traditional publishing's in the crapper.)
- TRIVIA FROM HOW SEX WORKS
in the last 150 years, the age for menarche has dropped from 17 to 12
5% of people have a supernumerary nipple
hourglass-shaped women are ~30% more fertile
during arousal breasts can grow 25%
hourglass-shaped women's children seem to be smarter
16c-18c slang for the vulva: "hey nonny no" (which remakes my understanding of Much Ado About Nothing)
menarche - first menstruation
thelarche - first breast growth
pubarche - first pubic hair growth
popularity of the Brasilian wax is threatening the existence of crabs
symbiosis: pubic and underarm sweat provides nutrients to feed microbes that create our personalized scents
new trend in South Korea: pubic hair transplants
it's possible to grow a baby to term outside the uterus
Fallopian tubes not directly connected to ovaries --- they just open up into the same cavity we find intestines and the liver in
ancient Egyptians made tampons of papyrus
pitocin (for inducing labor) is a synthesized version of oxytocin, famous for its role in orgasm
oxytocin may also help with autism symptoms
the erect penis of a gorilla is about 1.5 inches long
when a queen bee mates, in midair, you can hear an audible pop when the drone ejaculates and then his penis breaks off
1999 study showed women 11xs more likely to experience discomfort during intercourse with a circumsized partner
chimp semen can be so thick and sticky it can form a plug to keep out other males' semen
Pythagoras's followers belived semen was a 'clot of brain containing hot vapor'
semen includes sugar to fuel the sperm
semen is alkaline to neutralize the acidic vagina
having 15% of your sperm be viable is topnotch
it seems that viewing porn that features men as well as women increases the sense of reproductive competition and thus sperm count and sperm quality
the BBC commisioned on-camera semen taste-testing
semen allergies do exist
being in love makes other people less attractive
gay men's brains react to male odors the same way straight women's do
women (both straight and gay) prefer the smell of straight men to gay men
more folate = more healthy sperm
dark skin prevents UV from destroying folate
therefore tall dark and handsom tend to have better sperm
women with more symmetrical partners have more orgasms
plastic surgery started in the 16th century for syphallis-destroyed noses
monkeys will pay for pornography (spec. pictures of girl monkeys' butts)
Jared Diamond wrote a book called Why Is Sex Fun?! Why didn't I know this?
stimulating the G-Spot generally also stimulates the female prostate
the prostate has the highest concentrate of zinc in the body and so does the prostate's contribution to semen
feel like you're gonna pee before orgasm, ladies? it's probably female ejaculation
zinc is bad for bacteria
female ejaculate may help prevent urinary infections
cranberries have a chemical that coats the bladder and keeps out germs
oysters are loaded with zinc
regular oral sex may decrease a woman's immune responce against that person's sperm, making fertilization more likely --- it also decreases the chances of preeclampsia (actually swallowing the semen provides the most protection from that potentially disasterous condition)
there's video evidence out there somewhere of homosexual duck necrophilia (duck-on-dead-duck action!) --- he kept it up for an hour
the female relations of gay men tgend to have more children than the female relatives of only straight men --- so it may be that there is a gene that causes men to like men, and it has survived because it also makes women like me
proportion of ring to index fingers in lesbians is closer to that in males than in straight women
the placenta prevents ~75% of HIV-infected mothers from passing it on to their children
≥¼ of American adults infected with HPV
syphilis = 'great pox' in opposition to which comes the name small pox
he marks condoms at 87% effective at preventing HIV transmission
HIV most infectious immediately after initial infection
HIV on the rise among seniors. Thank you, Viagra!
(/16% of new cases in 2005)
some plants mimic The Pill to cut down on the next generation of animals that like to eat them
Google the Bruce effect
Casanova wore condoms --- perhaps mostly to prevent nun pregnancies (they were made of dead animals in his day)
there's a Thai group that offers free vasectomies on Father's Day
Taking the Pill? That bleeding you experience isn't menstruation but withdrawal. If you don't stop taking the real Pill, you'll never have a period. (Although you will still spot now and then and if you get pregnant, you won't know it.)
The Pill's side effects can include bigger, ah, boobs
Women-on-the-Pill's ability to sniff out genetic diversity is reversed --- which might explain the increase in divorce, when lover's smell is not so good once you stop taking it
Get this word: teledildonics
073) We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson, finished August 6
- The Big O asked me to read this book to him. And, to my surprise, stayed interested clear to the end. I think because of the pov choice I discussed last time I wrote about this book. He was engaged by the book entire --- LOVED it! --- when I thought he would only care about the pictures. I was happy to be proved wrong.
Lady Steed and I have wondered about how much of the race issues Biggo was aware of as we read, and I really don't know. I'm coming to the opinion that while being white means we have the luxury of believing we live in a postrace society, protecting our children from reality may not be the best choice. It's hard to know though. But this book is so much more than racism. It's a book of baseball. And that's what O loves.
a week or so because the kid went to the grandparents for four days
072) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, finished July 29
- Neil Gaiman, ladies and gentlemen, Neil Gaiman as finally done it. Neil Gaiman has finally written a novel worthy of his talent. I no longer have to insist people read his comics and short stories. I no longer have to say, of his novels, yes they are good BUT. Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is pretty much perfect.
This macabre riff on The Jungle Book is so good that it's hard even to know where to start talking about it. It functions on so many levels.
So instead I'll just say this.
I am buying a copy.
It's going with us to read aloud on long trips.
I am pressing it on friends.
Basically, this book is all of Gaiman's merits --- not stretched out to novel form --- but woven together into a marvelous booklength tapestry.
If you're wondering if I'm ever going to stop gushing and say something substantial, the answer is no.
Great book. Great great book.
I'm so glad he waited twenty years till he was good enough to write it.
two or so weeks
071) The Left Bank Gang by Jason, finished July 22
Finally! I've finally read a Jason book all the way through! And it did not disappoint. Anthropomorphic dogs named Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald spend their days making comics; and criticizing the comics of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Gertrude Stein. Finally hooking with with their bird pal James Joyce to pull a robbery.
070) The Juggler of Our Lady by R.O. Blechman, finished July 22
069) Waterwise by Joel Orff, finished July 22
068) The Saga of the Bloody Benders by Rick Geary, finished July 22
067) 10 Books That Screwed Up the World (And 5 Others That Didn't Help) by Benjamin Wike, Ph.D., finished July 21
066) We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson, finished July 11
065) Hooper Haller by Dean Hughes, finished July 18
064) Stay (MS) by Moriah Jovan, finished July 15
063) The Question: The Five Books of Blood by Greg Rucka et al, finished July 14
062) Daisy Kutter: The Last Train by Kazu Kibuishi, finished July 13
061) Gravity vs. the Girl by Riley Noehren, finished July 11
060) The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy, finished July 1
059) Letters from a Nut by Ted. L. Nancy, finished June 21
058) The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, finished June 21
057) Lowboy by John Wray, finished June 16
056) One silent sleepless night by Spencer W. Kimball, finished June 14
055) Blue Beetle: Boundaries by Sturges/Albuquerque/Coelho, finished June 6
054) [title in flux] (MS) by B.G. Christensen, finished June 5
053) Invincible Volume 1: Family Matters words by Robert Kirkman, pictures by Cory Walker, finished June 3
052) Der Ostwind (MS) by Kohl Glass, finished June 2
051) The Rumpelstiltskin Problem by Vivian Vande Velde, finished June 2
050) The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton, finished June 2
049) Superman / Madman Hullabaloo! by the Allreds, finished May 29
048) Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting by Jim Posewitz, finished May 26
047) Brave and the Bold: Demons and Dragons by Mark Waid et al, finished May 20
046) Atonement by Ian McEwan, finished May 20
045) Love and the Light: An Idyl of the Westland by Orson Ferguson Whitney, finished May 20
044) Tales Of The Batman: Tim Sale by Tim Sale and some motley group of writers, finished May 17
043) Catwoman: The Dark End of the Street by Ed Brubaker et al, finished May 13
042) Aztek - the Ultimate Man by Grant Morrison), Mark Millar, Keith Champagne, Steven Harris; finished May 11
041) Cypher by Brad Teare, finished May 7
040) My Faith in Frankie by Mike Carey, Sonny Liew, Marc Hempel, finished May 5
039) Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg, finished May 5
038) Batman: R.I.P. by Grant Morrison et al, finished May 4
037) 1000 Steps To World Domination by Rob Osborne, finished May 4
036) 110 Per¢ by Tony Consiglio, finished May 4
035) Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker, finished May Day
034) All Star Superman, Vol. 2 by Grant Morrison, and Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, finished April 22
033) All Star Superman, Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison, and Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant, finished April 20
032) Bound on Earth by Angela Hallstrom, finished April 19
031) Batman: The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul by Grant Morrison and colleagues, finished April 18
030) Madman Atomic Comics Volume 2 by Mike Allred with Laura Allred, finished April 14
029) For a Good Time by K. Voss, finished April 11
028) The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told, finished April 11
027) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, finished April 6
026) Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey by Karen Wilkin (essay) and Edward Gorey (art), finished April 5
025) Owly: A Time to be Brave by Andy Runton, finished April 1
024) Blue Beetle: Endgame by John Rogers and Rafaele Albuquerque, finished March 29
023) Blue Beetle: Reach for the Stars by Rogers, Torres, Albuqerque; finished March 26
022) The Complete Peanuts 1967-1968 by Charles M. Schulz, finished March 25
021) Blue Beetle: Road Trip by various, finished March 25
020) Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, finished March 18
019) Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block, finished March 17
018) The Proviso by Moriah Jovan, finished March 16
017) An Ensign to the Nations: History of the Oakland State by Evelyn Candland, finished March 7
016) Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, finished February 27
015) Batman: The Black Glove by Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel and J.H. Williams III, finished February 23
014) The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story by Richard Preston, finished February 22
013) Lex Luthor: Man of Steel by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, finished February 19
012) Blue Beetle: Shellshocked by Keith Giffen and Cully Hammer, finished February 18
011) The Joker by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, finished February 17
010) Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, finished February 18
009) Superman: Red Son by MJR&M, finished February 11
008) The Best American Comics 2008 edited by Lynda Barry, finished February 9
007) The Blot by Tom Neely, finished February 6
006) JSA: Darkness Falls by Goyer, Johns, et al, finished January 28
005) The Road by Cormac McCarthy, finished January 24
004) Poor Sailor by Sammy Harkham, finished January 19
003) The Waitress was New by Dominique Fabre and translated by Jordan Stump, finished January 19
002) Stagger Lee by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix, finished January 12?
001) The Arrival by Shaun Tan, finished January 8
the first five, 1-5
the second five, 6-10
the third five, 11-15
the fourth five, 16-20
the fifth five, 21-25
the sixth five, 26-30
the seventh five, 31-35
the eighth five, 36-40
the ninth five, 41-45
the tenth five, 46-50
the eleventh five, 51-55
the twelfth five, 56-60
the thirteenth five, 61-65
the fourteenth five, 61-65