The Golden Age of Quackery

This is an old book but a fun one.

It’s all about medical fakery, from patent medicines to miracle boxes with electrical currents that fixed what ailed you.


This book recounts all the charlatan and “Professors” who sold snake oil to a believing public from the turn of the (last) century onward. It ends with the founding of the Food and Drug act, which clamped down and saved lives.

Interesting old book if you can find it.

The Golden Age of Quackery

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

It’s a time you never want to repeat, an apocalyptic time that’s unimaginable now.

The Dust Bowl changed the Heartland seemingly in an instant and drove people away, creating despair in the middle of the Great Depression.


The heartbreaking story is told with compassion and humanity, and the stories will really touch you. The people who lost their sight from rubbing their eyes of the fine grit that covered everything. The electrical storms that accompanied the huge plumes of dust. The people who disappeared into the cloud, never seen again.

This is a cautionary tale of weather and what we do to it, but it’s not a climate change polemic. It’s a real, honest look at a difficult time in American history.

It is a tough read because of the sad stories, but it’s worthwhile. One of my recommended reads.

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy‚Äôs Golden Era

Comedy was king in Los Angeles in the ’70s. And the Comedy Store in Hollywood was one of the focal points of that movement. “I’m Dying Up Here” details the rise and fall of comedy in LA.

A free space was offered for comics to try out their stuff, called the Comedy Store. But the owner made money while the comedians struggled. A strike was called that forever split the comedians into two camps.


A lot of familiar faces are here, including David Letterman, Jay Leno, Elayne Boosler, Richard Lewis, Andy Kaufman, Robin Williams … imagine what it must’ve been like to see these talented people on their way up!

Greed and drugs destroy some of the comedians, and success and failure pretty much destroys the rest. All the while, the comedy keeps coming.

This was an amazing book to find for $2 at Half Price Books. That’s why I love the place. And this is one book I recommend to friends.

I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

From the rain cycle to the shape of raindrops to the smell of rain, Cynthia Barnett’s “Rain: A Natural and Culture History” hits all the most interesting stories about the life-giving rain we sometimes take for granted.

Barnett explores the Mackinaw, the rainiest places on Earth, and, of course, how rain is being affected by climate change.

But this isn’t a thinly veiled agenda book. It’s a well thought out exploration of how rain makes us human, and our response to the rainy days in our lives.

I received this book for free in exchange for a review.

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History