The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara

Milicent Patrick was one of the most remarkable women working in Hollywood. After being one of Disney’s earliest female animators, she moved her talents onscreen, working primarily as a background extra in many films. She should best be known as the designer of the titular monster in the movie Creature from the Black Lagoon. Yet her contributions have gone largely unknown, stripped from cinema history by a male colleague with an ego. Her life went so underreported that when filmmaker Mallory O’Meara set out to write a biography of Patrick, she wasn’t even sure that she was deceased.

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The Perfect Predator by Steffanie Strathdee & Thomas Patterson

When her husband Tom Patterson developed a stomach bug while in Egypt, epidemiologist Steffanie Strathdee wasn’t concerned. The pair had traveled the world and suffered far worse than vomiting. However, when Tom’s condition deteriorates further, he’s medavacked back to the United States. Soon, doctors pinpoint his sudden decline to an antibiotic-resistant bacteria— a superbug. As treatment options begin running low, Steffanie begins her own search for a next-to-impossible cure to save her husband.

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The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth by Thomas Morris

Medicine is an ever-evolving profession, and its history can be downright weird. Medical historian Thomas Morris has combed through countless vintage medical journals and historical documents showcasing the progress medicine has made in a relatively short time. His work goes beyond bizarre anecdotes, and instead softens the wonky view of health, breaking into sections ranging from Horrifying Operations to Mysterious Illnesses. Collected here are stories not just of fatal mistakes, but also triumphs and impossible medical breakthroughs.

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We Want Fish Sticks by Nicholas Hirshon

Title: We Want Fish Sticks
Author: Nicholas Hirshon
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publication Date: 12/01/2018
Classification: Nonfiction, Sports

The 1990s marked a period of change for the NHL, driven partially by a growing push for merchandising. This new revenue stream proved lucrative, and teams tripped over themselves attempting to push their wares. What’s more, they discovered something peculiar: people would actually buy merchandise outside their local market— it just had to be cool. The San Jose Sharks. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The Los Angeles Kings. Each of these teams tapped into the culture of the ‘90s, producing stylish and sleek designs by either completely rebranding or capitalizing on a Disney tie-in. For each, it proved a massive success.

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In My Mind’s Eye by Jan Morris

Title: In My Mind’s Eye
Author: Jan Morris
Publisher: Liveright
Publication Date: 01/01/2019
Classification: Nonfiction, Essays

Jan Morris has succeeded in most facets of her life. Soldier. Journalist. Travel writer. She has trekked across the globe for well over fifty years, writing with an uncanny ability to draw audiences into her personal world. Now, as a nonagenarian, she is embarking on a new chapter—staying at home in Wales, which she has chronicled in a series of essays over 188 days. She writes about anything that comes to mind. Sheep. Cars. Music. Whatever she thinks of that day.

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Queen of the World by Robert Hardman

Title: Queen of the World
Author: Robert Hardman
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: 01/01/2019
Classification: Nonfiction, History

While most works detailing Queen Elizabeth II focus on her role within the United Kingdom, she also serves as Head of the Commonwealth, a collective of fifty-three sovereign states ranging from Australia to Zambia. In this capacity, while having no direct authority over the states, she regularly flexes her diplomatic soft power. Traveling the world, hosting dinners, receiving guests, her appearance at opportune times alone is sometimes enough to spur negotiations or further an agenda. By visiting over 130 countries throughout her reign, Elizabeth II has become a true Queen of the World.

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Killer Style

Title: Killer Style: How Fashion Has Injured, Maimed, and Murdered Through History
Authors: Alison Matthews David, Serah-Marie McMahon
Illustrator: Gillian Wilson
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Publication Date: 04/15/2019
Classification: Nonfiction, History

Clothing serves many purposes. At its base form, it’s one protection from our environment. Yet it can also provide comfort, or even be used as an expression of our personalities. Unfortunately, sometimes fashion can also have a severely negative impact. Simply:

Fashion can kill.

Maybe this sounds extreme, but authors Alison Matthews David and Serah-Marie McMahon have combed through fashion history to find a sometimes amusing, mostly horrifying series of deadly fashion vignettes. Their work is broken up into sections based on the human body. It starts with an exploration of head-based fashion like hats and hair, tumbles down the trunk, and ends on some killer shoes, pants, and skirts. The result feels all-encompassing for a short volume while showcasing that all articles of clothing and embellishments can be dangerous.

Radium poisoning from watches. Flaming tutus. Near decapitation by scarf. It’s all here, and Matthews David and McMahon deserve high praise for their sensitivity to the subject. The stories are sensational, but the authors push past the obvious and overused vanity tropes. They successfully humanize these fashion victims by rightfully placing their injuries or deaths in context—most died without realizing the inherent dangers of their clothes. Or, in many cases, it’s death by socioeconomic status, with the cheaper, more readily available product proving unsafe. This is most effective when they examine recent deaths, particularly sandblasting jeans in underregulated factories.

Gillian Wilson’s illustrations are another highlight. The subject matter is morbid, but her amazing work keeps the packaging attractive. Her graphics are dark, but beautifully playful.

This is a wonderfully macabre look into fashion history, packed with solid research, a plethora of pictures, and, well, death.

Matthew David’s Twitter | McMahon’s Twitter | Wilson’s Website
Publisher’s PageGoodreads

Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.