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Book Review: Never Shower in a Thunderstorm – Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths About Our Health and the World We Live In by Anahad O’Connor

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If you are a science geek like me and read the New York Times, then chances are that you have found yourself validated or surprised by Anahad O’Connor’s “Really?” column. He takes all of those old wives tales, myths, and home remedies you’ve heard year after year and puts them to the scientific test. Think of it as a pen and paper version of the hit Discovery Channel show Myth Busters.

With his new book, Never Shower in a Thunderstorm: Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths About Our Health and the World We Live In, O’Connor dissects over 100 of these tales we have heard so often from our grandmothers, aunts, and dodgy old small-town doctors. Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Yes. Is arthritis affected by changes in the weather? Maybe. Can Echinacea rid you of that pesky cold? Sorry, no.

The beauty of this book is the way that O’Connor discusses highly scientific (and sometimes ridiculous) studies in a way that even the most chemistry-challenged person can understand. Artfully using anecdote and personal experience to keep each discussion enthralling, O’Connor makes Never Shower in a Thunderstorm is, at a jam-packed 221 pages, a very quick and decidedly informative read.

It’s the ultimate bet-settling book, corroborating or dispelling everything you ever wondered about or that your mother ever threatened you with. I, in fact, called up my own mom several times throughout my reading to inform her that, among other things, all of those warnings about shaving my legs and the hair growing back darker and coarser were woefully wrong. As mother’s everywhere are bound to do, she simply scoffed.

This is a fantastic gift for your favorite herbalist, hypochondriac, or conspiracy theorist. And if you want to know if you really can get electrocuted while showering in a thunderstorm, then I suggest you read this book. You’ll feel smarter and be all the more prepared for water-cooler discussions of how that new temp failed his drug test by eating a poppy-seed bagel… or did he?

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About Kate C. Harding