Friday, August 30, 2013

That's Disgusting ; Rachel Hertz ~~~~ Trick or Treat; Lisa Morton

Now that I have your attention, I wanted to share a few newer books that crossed my path at work this week. I couldn't resist checking them out. Both sound fascinating to me so I thought I'd share them with you.

When I saw the cover art on That's Disgusting, I immediately thought of  "over-ripe bananas" UGH, but, I know I could make a lengthy list if I tried.  

How about you are you easily grossed-out by certain things?

Rachel Herz

“A lively look at all things revolting.”—New York Times

Why do we watch horror movies? What is the best way to persuade someone to quit smoking? Why are we more likely to buy a given item if an attractive person has just touched it? And what on earth is the appeal of competitive eating?

In this lively, colorful new book, Rachel Herz answers these questions and more, shedding light on an incredible range of human traits—from food preferences and sexual attraction to moral codes and political ideology—by examining them through the lens of a fascinating subject: disgust. One of the most complex human emotions, disgust is the product of both culture and instinct and so it allows us a unique perspective on the relationship between nature and nurture. A component of fear and prejudice, it also gives us powerful—sometimes disturbing—insights into the fabric of society.

Herz draws on the latest psychological studies and neurological research to offer surprising observations about human behavior and biology. For example, we learn that a man’s scent matters more than his looks or his income in determining whether or not a given woman will find him attractive, that lust and disgust activate the same area of the brain, and that watching a gory movie triggers your immune system as if you were facing an actual threat. We even learn that washing your hands after thinking about a past misdeed—à la Lady Macbeth—can help you feel less guilty.

What makes That’s Disgusting so remarkable is Herz’s ability to weave these curious findings and compelling facts into a narrative that tackles important questions. What matters more: our brain wiring or our upbringing? Is there such a thing as “normal”? And how might politicians and marketers use disgust to manipulate us?

Combining lucid scientific explanations and fascinating research with a healthy dose of humor, That’s Disgusting illuminates issues that are central to our lives: love, hate, fear, empathy, prejudice, humor, and happiness.

Trick or Treat provides a thorough history of this most misunderstood phenomenon. Offering a fascinating overview of how Halloween has spread around the globe, it asks how festivals as diverse as the Celtic Samhain, the British Guy Fawkes Day and the Catholic Holy Days of All Saints and All Souls could have blended to produce the modern Halloween. The holiday was reborn in the United States – where costuming and ‘trick or treat’ rituals became new customs – with parallels in the related, yet independent holidays of Central America, in particular Mexico’s Day of the Dead. The recent explosion in popularity of haunted attractions is discussed and we see also how Halloween’s popularity is rising in non-Western countries like Russia, Japan and China. Finally, Morton considers the impact of such events as 9/11 and the economic recession on the celebration as urban legends and costuming wax and wane.

Halloween’s influence on popular culture is examined via the literary works of Washington Irving and Ray Bradbury, films such as John Carpenter’s Halloween and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and television series including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Simpsons and True Blood. 

Examining Halloween in the context of its increasing worldwide popularity, and illustrated with over 40 images, Trick or Treat leads us on a journey from the spectacular to the macabre, making it a must for anyone looking beyond the mask to the deepest roots of this modern holiday.


  1. Wow, Trick or Treat sounds really interesting. Thanks for this post!

  2. That's Disgusting sounds really interesting to me. Excellent mini reviews, Diane!

  3. The cover of Trick or Treat is absolutely adorable. Halloween is my favorite holiday - I just might have to get that one.

  4. The Trick or Treat must be a fun read! My birthday is Nov. 1, which in some religions is All Saints Day. I always had fun birthday parties, inviting kids to come dressed in their costumes. Look back on Halloween pranks-- when my mother was a teen, you would put colored chalk in a sock and hit someone's front walk or steps if they didn't give candy. Look at how times have changed! That was in the 1940's.

    Re: That's thanks; I am easily grossed out and have a weak gag reflex. I shouldn't mention first thing that popped into my mind from that photo and it concerned something people deal with, having babies and puppies. Sorry to add that :)

  5. That's Discusting sure gets your attention, but so does treats!

  6. Haven't seen either of these yet but they do both sound interesting.

  7. Fun reviews from a couple of books I probably wouldn't normally pick up. Great cover on That's Disgusting.

  8. They both sounds like really fun reads.


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