Saturday, December 13, 2008

Charles L. Bardes, Pale Faces

Charles L. Bardes, Pale Faces: The Masks of Anemia. A lovely old fashioned little book about blood. A scholarly rumination about history and medicine - the nature of diagnosis and illness. Sometimes a little too ruminative, a little too effusive. I didn't mind, although I occasionally rolled my eyes at prose like this:
"A red cell lives for ninety days, give or take, and when it is old and gray and full of sleep the spleen recognizes its senectitude and takes it aside, takes it down, administers some fatal blow and breaks it apart, recycles its parts for future use, its iron and vital stuff."

Even with this lack of restraint, the overall story was pleasing. I wouldn't mind if textbooks were written in the same style, with myth and literature interwoven with description. I picked it up at the library because it was small and attractive, and it lived up to its looks.

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