Thursday, October 17, 2013
Saturday Samplers Book Group to Meet
Bernardsville Public Library’s book discussion group, Saturday Samplers, will meet on Saturday, November 2 at 3:30 pm to discuss “The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World” (2006) by Steven Johnson. [The author will not be present.]
The book describes the terrifying cholera epidemic in London during the summer of 1854 which killed an estimated 31,000 people, and examines the epidemic from the microbial level to the human level to the urban level. It is a story of how scientific understanding can advance in the most hostile environments and how two men were spurred into action, Dr. John Snow, an anesthetist who created a map of the cholera cases, and the Reverend Henry Whitehead, whose extensive knowledge of the local community helped determine the initial cause of the outbreak. Author Johnson intertwines the histories of the spread of disease, the rise of the cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry in a vivid history and a powerful explanation of how it shaped the world we live in. When the book came out, the Washington Post wrote: “By turns a medical thriller, detective story and paean to city life, Johnson's account of the outbreak and its modern implications is a true page-turner.”
Steven Johnson is the best-selling author of four books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience: “Everything Bad Is Good for You;” “Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life;” “Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software” and “Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate.” His writings have influenced everything from the way political campaigns use the Internet, to cutting-edge ideas in urban planning, to the battle against 21st-century terrorism.
Led by Evelyn Fischel, Saturday Samplers is a book discussion group dedicated to sampling various kinds of literature, including short stories, nonfiction, new and old novels, and even teen fiction. Its goal is to search out interesting, noteworthy, and sometimes overlooked books. Readers can find information about the group and about the books and authors on the reading list at http://saturdaysamplers.blogspot.com. No sign-up is needed to join the discussion. Call the library at 766-0118 for more information.