08 January 2007

Parasite Rex

I finished Parasite Rex : Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creaturesby Carl Zimmer yesterday. The last day of reading was by far the best. I did a lot of skimming in the first half of the book because it was pretty boring. There were bits and pieces that were interesting (for example, the parts talking about how parasites control the behavior of their hosts, and the lengths scientists have gone to to learn about parasites) but there was for too much detail about how this parasite or that one gets into a hosts and wraps itself around various body parts. I felt like most of the book was a collection of magazine articles with details about specific parasites filling in the gaps.

The last third was a lot more interesting, particularly the chapter on how parasites affect humans. It was very interesting to read about the ideas of how the lack of parasites in some parts of the world has given rise to other ailments in those better-off humans. And the chapters about using parasites as biological warfare were interesting even though I was familiar with what they were talking about.

So I can't quite recommend this book unless you're really interested in the topic. Still, I didn't quit in the middle and I'm glad I didn't. But I've moved on to better things.

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