Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen. The next big and murderous human pandemic, the one that kills us in millions, will be caused by a new disease--new to humans, anyway.
The bug that's responsible will be strange, unfamiliar, but it won't come from outer space. Odds are that the killer pathogen--most likely a virus--will spill over into humans from a nonhuman animal. Spillover is a work of science reporting, history, and travel, tracking this subject around the world. For five years, I shadowed scientists into the field--a rooftop in Bangladesh, a forest in the Congo, a Chinese rat farm, a suburban woodland in Duchess County, New York-and through their high-biosecurity laboratories. I interviewed survivors and gathered stories of the dead. From what innocent creature, in what remote landscape, will the Next Big One emerge? The subject raises urgent questions. Read David's OpEds: Isabel Allende. Nell Zink’s ‘Wallcreeper’ Photo Early in “The Wallcreeper,” Nell Zink’s heady and rambunctious debut novel, the narrator, Tiffany, tells her husband that she’s spending her leisure time “breeding and feeding.”
It’s an inside joke — Stephen, her husband, loves birding, and “breeding and feeding” is how he describes the avian lifestyle, “making them sound like sex-obsessed gluttons (that is, human beings).” Tiffany may be joking, but she’s not lying. She’s married Stephen, a “post-punk” pharmaceutical researcher, after a three-week courtship, and has followed him — or his paycheck — from Philadelphia to Switzerland, where she spends her time loafing around, shopping and canoodling with an assortment of ill-chosen paramours. She also occasionally accompanies Stephen on birding vacations. This accident is caused by a bird, a wallcreeper to be specific, and Stephen is over the moon about the sighting. And you have to pay attention. Zink is at her maddest and most hilarious on the subject of sex.
By Nell Zink 193 pp. Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies. Nobel prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died in Mexico aged 87, his family says.
Garcia Marquez was considered one of the greatest Spanish-language authors, best known for his masterpiece of magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude. The 1967 novel sold more than 30 million copies and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Garcia Marquez had been ill and had made few public appearances recently. He achieved fame for pioneering magical realism, a unique blending of the marvellous and the mundane in a way that made the extraordinary seem routine. With his books, he brought Latin America's charm and teaming contradictions to life in the minds of millions of people. 'Greatest Colombian' "Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died," a spokeswoman for the family, Fernanda Familiar, said on Twitter. "[His wife] Mercedes and her sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo, have authorised me to provide the information.
Image copyright AFP Poor health Controversy Image copyright AP. Nell Zink: There’s a clear distinction between taking your career seriously and taking your writing seriously. A first encounter with Nell Zink can leave you reeling.
It’s not simply that her life story features a brief stint in an Italian artists’ commune, starting up a post-punk fanzine in the 1990s and birdwatching with Jonathan Franzen, or that, age 50, she has written one of the most exciting debut novels that will be published this year. It’s not even that a week after her conversation with the Guardian, she emailed a nude photograph of herself, posing artistically by a German piano. No, it is that the world view of Zink is so startlingly unique, at once almost alienating in its oddness and dazzling in its rarity, that you leave the conversation feeling like your own life is frankly dull and one dimensional. Indeed, Franzen, widely considered to be one of the great American authors writing today, who can also be credited for discovering Zink, recently said her work “insistently raises the possibility that the world is larger and stranger than the world you think you know”.