24 July 2012


The Sushruta Samhita recommends pouring clarified butter into the infected wound and then drinking it; Pliny the Elder suggests a linen tourniquet soaked with the menstrual fluid of a dog.
From a review of Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus, by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy.
Wasik is an editor at Wired and Murphy, his wife, a veterinarian. Together they have coauthored a sprawling chronicle of rabies ... It’s a rare pleasure to read a nonfiction book by authors who research like academics but write like journalists. They have mined centuries’ worth of primary sources and come bearing only the gems.
I've requested the book from the library (3 copies, 25 waiting - so it will be a while...)


  1. You need to buy a book once in a while. Authors need money too.

    1. We have well over 3,000 books in our home. We've done our part with book purchases - and continue to do so for books we plan to reread or consult frequently, or give as gifts.

  2. This subject is fascinating and when I can buy the book, I will. I'm not a kindle kind of a person. --A.

  3. Pliny's suggestion would be difficult to manage, since dogs do not menstruate....

  4. Wilco's thought was mine too. As a writer, I can confirm how dependent we are on people buying our books. Personally, I'd be a little peeved to read a blog that expressed excitement for my new book, if it concludes by saying that the blogger has no plans to buy it or even read it until a well-worn library copy becomes available.

    I've got a massive book collection myself, so I empathize. I'm not made of money either - not many writers are. Often I go to the library or buy used books. But now that I see what authors go through to get a book published, I've started walking into bookstores and buying brand new books, just because it's the right thing to do.

  5. Technically the statement above that "dogs do not menstuate" is correct, but bitches in estrous often will have a bloody discharge which Pliny would have been referring to in his statement. (I've had evidence of such discharges on carpets, couches and bedspreads left by pets in the past.)


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