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1 verk 552 medlemmar 18 recensioner

Verk av Megan Rosenbloom


Allmänna fakta

medical librarian
Anna Sproul-Latimer



Fair warning, if you are disturbed by descriptions of murder, surgery, and/or autopsies, this is probably not the book for you.

After having this book on my TBR list for over a year, I finally had a chance to read it over the weekend. While the specified topic of anthropodermic bibliopegy is covered very well, I liked that Rosenbloom added a great deal of detail about the intersection of criminal justice, medical practice, and social issues (such as women and race). This is a pretty extreme rabbit hole adventure as the actual instances of verified anthropodermic bibliopegy is a very small set; however, the overlapping nonverified and blatantly fake instances mean that the hunt for information means constantly checking and rechecking information. The book explains the science being used to verify books that have been identified. But the inclusion of the history of how the criminals justice system suppled cadavers for study and how graverobbers supplied bodies and the odd instance of serial killers supplying bodies created a clear picture of the era in which these books came to be. The discussion of how the view of a dead human body in the 19th century was quite different from what most people think now.

All in all, this was another book that provided an excellent cross section of many topics within a historical context. It is also a book ttat may raise questions about one's personal beliefs on the subject without being preachy about how the author views the topic.
… (mer)
GrammaPollyReads | 17 andra recensioner | May 28, 2024 |
Dark Archives follows Megan Rosenbloom's investigations into anthropodermic bibliopegy, or the practice of binding books in human skin. Not only does it look at actual examples of the practice, but it also discusses the testing used to determine the real examples from the fakes, explains the stories of several real and fake examples, looks into historical medical ethics, how the practice was done, and current international laws on similar practices.

I found the book fascinating. There is so much that can be learned about the cultures of the people partaking in this by researching the practice. I don't agree with all of Rosenbloom's takes on the topic, but I was in particular agreement that these artifacts, both the real ones and the fakes, are actual parts of our human history and can be used to educate people on things like history, medical and legal ethics, culture, racism, and misogyny, and that these objects are inherently valuable because of this.

I think it would have been good for Rosenbloom to discuss in more detail the actual effects of racism and misogyny that this practice creates, as it seems like these were mostly glossed over in the book. A good first step in doing this would have been to be upfront with the results of the PMF testing before discussing the, sometimes alleged and sometimes real, stories of these books, as then the readers would know going into a story if it was an actual example or not. In not revealing the PMF results until the end of each book's story, it can make the reader confused as to which ones are real and which aren't, thereby lessening the impact on the reader of the racism and misogyny used to create the books.

The two biggest things this book could have done better are the aforementioned deeper discussions on how racism and misogyny impacted this practice, as well as including better transitions between chapters, as it occasionally felt a bit disjointed. That being said, there has been little research done on this practice, and this book is a good start into what could be an entire field of research. I would like to read more on this topic from a more intersectional lens, but I did thoroughly enjoy this book.
… (mer)
Griffin_Reads | 17 andra recensioner | Jan 31, 2024 |
I think about Rosenbloom's book at least once a week. This is, in my opinion, one of the most informative, most enthralling, most terrifying deep-dives into medical and bibliophilic history there is. I love this book. Highly recommend to everyone and anyone.
CaeK | 17 andra recensioner | Jan 27, 2024 |
When I was in grad school, a professor dedicated an entire day’s lecture to anthropodermic books. It was a fascinating talk that has always stuck in my mind, so—when I saw this book—I just had to pick up a copy. One should never judge a book by its cover, and—sadly—this book proves that old adage is true. Although the title would have you believe this book is about anthropodermic books, the topic actually gets scant attention at the hands of Megan Rosenbloom, who seems convinced that she is truly the star of the show. There is a lot of “I, I, I…me, me, me…my, my, my” going on in this book and, quite frankly, it’s boring as hell.

Dark Archives has three very distinct personalities. At first, it reads like an undergrad’s C+ term paper with lots of verbose prose that goes on for pages and pages, but actually says next to nothing.

Other times, it reads like an insecure teenager’s desperate plea for attention and validation. Rosenbloom spends so much time pointing out how freakishly disgusting her interests are, she sounds like a spinster aunt showing off for her six-year-old nephew’s cub scout troup, “I study books bound in human skin…isn’t that gross?...don’t I sound cool and edgy?…don’t I? don’t I?... Please, somebody think I’m cool and edgy!... Anybody?... Plleeeeaaase think I’m cool!”

Most of all, though, Dark Archives reads like the most longwinded job application imaginable. Rosenbloom is clearly of the opinion that her current job is not prestigious or high paying enough for someone of her caliber, so she uses this book to unabashedly troll for one that is. The reader is bombarded with a veritable résumé of Rosenbloom’s educational qualifications, job history, professional development, extracurricular activities, and leadership roles. She repeatedly clarifies how “my team” goes about identifying and verifying anthropodermic books around the country. (Are the other members of ‘her’ so-called team even aware that they are actually on a team led by Megan Rosenbloom? My guess is that most of them would say “No!” and laugh at the mere suggestion, but maybe I’m reading too much into Rosenbloom’s pretentious writing style.) In essence, Rosenbloom spends almost the entire book saying, “I wrote the book on anthropodermic books; I am just too glorious; Take note, influential institutions of the world, & hire me for the highfalutin position to which I feel entitled!” All I can say is, “Meh. Not impressed. I’d rather be reading about anthropodermic books.”

At the end of the day, this book is more about Megan Rosenbloom than it is about human bound books; and, unfortunately, she’s just not as interesting as she seems to think she is.
… (mer)
missterrienation | 17 andra recensioner | Sep 18, 2023 |


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