Friday, January 27: Nonfiction. Health and Science. James Hamblin, staff writer and senior copy editor at The Atlantic, and host of their original web series "If Our Bodies Could Talk," will read from his new book, named after the web series. 7pm.
Praise for If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Human Body:
“If you want to understand the strange workings of the human body, and the future of medicine, you must read this illuminating, engaging book.” —Siddhartha Mukherjee, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Gene and The Emperor of All Maladies
“This book answers all the questions you ever had about your health—plus a whole lot of questions that never occurred to you but should have. Even if you don’t care about your health you should read it, because Hamblin is such a delightfully amusing writer.”
—Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Innovators and Steve Jobs
“Fascinating… Challenging what one interviewee calls the ‘scientific misinformation and marketing-based ‘facts’' we are bombarded with daily, this book will be a useful tool for helping people get in touch with their own bodies.”
In 2014, James Hamblin launched a series of videos for The Atlantic called “If Our Bodies Could Talk.” With it, the doctor-turned-journalist established himself as a seriously entertaining authority in the field of health. Now, in illuminating and genuinely funny prose, Hamblin explores the human stories behind health questions that never seem to go away—and which tend to be mischaracterized and oversimplified by marketing and news media. He covers topics such as sleep, aging, diet, and much more:
• Can I “boost” my immune system?
• Does caffeine make me live longer?
• Do we still not know if cell phones cause cancer?
• How much sleep do I actually need?
• Is there any harm in taking a multivitamin?
• Is life long enough?
In considering these questions, Hamblin draws from his own medical training as well from hundreds of interviews with distinguished scientists and medical practitioners. He translates the (traditionally boring) textbook of human anatomy and physiology into accessible, engaging, socially contextualized, up-to-the-moment answers. They offer clarity, examine the limits of our certainty, and ultimately help readers worry less about things that don’t really matter.
If Our Bodies Could Talk is a comprehensive, illustrated guide that entertains and educates in equal doses.
James Hamblin is a writer and senior editor at The Atlantic magazine. He hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk, for which he was a finalist in the Webby awards for Best Web Personality. He is a past Yale University Poynter Fellow in journalism, and he has lectured at Harvard Medical School, Wharton Business School, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and SXSW, among others.
His writing and videos have been featured in/on The New York Times, Politico magazine, Bon Appétit, Comedy Central, NPR, BBC, MSNBC, New York, and The Awl, among others. Time named him among the 140 people to follow on Twitter, Greatist named him among the most influential people in health media, and BuzzFeed called him "the most delightful MD ever," though he is not as delightful as William Carlos Williams.
After medical school at Indiana University, he did three years of residency before joining The Atlantic to develop a health section and, at least for now, work entirely in media. More on that at Columbia Journalism Review, Journal of the American College of Radiology, and Capital New York. He's based in Brooklyn.