I recently read two books that have to do with poop. Strange as it may sound, I found them both informative and well written.
Brown Acres is a history of the sewer system in Los Angeles. That may not seem interesting at first glance, but following the story is much more adventurous than you might imagine. Nepotism, cronyism and just plain stinginess were responsible for a long series of bad decisions in Los Angeles leading to recurring problems of sewage flooding into the streets and backing up into toilets.
Ms. Sklar has done her research and goes into appropriate detail on the history. Understanding the technology used to move human waste around was enlightening. The idea that we used to dump raw sewage into the ocean is simply astounding. Also, I was surprised to see that voters of the past were as short sighted as today's voters when it comes to investment in public health issues. Repeatedly, the public rejected spending money to solve the sewage problems. Not until the sewage literally flowed in the streets did the money get approved to put in better sewer systems.
Today, Los Angeles has a world class sanitation system in place, but I found the path to this point well worth the read.
My only criticism would be a request for more diagrams of the sewer system over time to help keep track of all the changes and sewer paths.
I first heard about this book on an episode of Internet Superstar, where one of the authors spoke about it with Martin Sargent. It sounded interesting, but not interesting enough to search it out. Recently, I was out with my wife Michele for dinner when I saw the book.
It's a small book, suitable for reading on the toliet, so I picked it up. Once I got home, I went to the obvious reading spot and began to read. Happily, it's actually an informative book, explaining a lot about poo and why people encounter such a variety of poops. 95 small pages long, the book contains a ton of good, easily understandable info on poo.
After reading the book, I'm planning to make sure to eat a bit more fiber and drink a bit more water to be nice to my colon. If you see the book, pick it up, you won't regret it.Posted by michael at June 20, 2008 07:53 PM