A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer

Now here's a good book about viruses for anybody who wants to know more than Wikipedia will tell them. Let me explain exactly why I liked it:

  • Content. The author picks out the most fascinating bits of virology and turns them into short, interesting chapters.
  • Style. Carl Zimmer writes like a journalist does: In short, understandable sentences. As if he were talking instead of writing. Perfect for this kind of book.
  • Just the right amount of explanation. If all you know about viruses is that they make people sick, you can read "A Planet of Viruses" and learn a lot. And if you've had university level virology lessons, you can still read this book as a refresher and enjoy the anecdotes professors usually leave out.

I read the first edition of this book, published in 2010 when Mimivirus was still the largest known virus in the world. The second edition from 2015 probably contains an update because three more giant viruses have shown up, even bigger than mimivirus.

You can find the updated edition of "A Planet of Viruses" by Carl Zimmer on Amazon and on the author's homepage.

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