Book jacket cover of Nine PintsWe’ve been getting a bunch of great biology/medical books lately and the latest to catch my eye is Nine Pints by Rose George. Booklist gave it a starred review, writing “Blood is feared and revered, and it is continually dying and renewing. Its power is mystical, emotional, and biological. Blood infuses our language: bloodthirsty, blood-chilling, blood brothers. George delivers an informative, elegant, and provocative exploration of the life-giving substance she describes as “”stardust and the sea”” for its iron content derived from the demise of supernovas and its water and salt from the oceans of our origin. In the stellar opening chapter, she fuses her personal experience donating blood with remarkable hematologic facts. Approximately five liters of the fluid (depending on your sex and size), containing 30 trillion red-blood cells, clotting factors, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate, travel 12,000 miles throughout your body daily at a speed of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Other chapters consider medicinal leeches (bloodsuckers that secrete their own anticoagulant and anesthetic compounds), hemorrhage, HIV, the history of blood transfusion and blood banks, menstruation, the feminine-hygiene industry (a typical woman in an industrialized nation uses an estimated 11,000-16,000 sanitary products during her lifetime), and future possibilities of synthetic blood. George also writes about plasma, possible contamination of the supply, and profit, noting that blood is the thirteenth most traded product globally. George’s wondrously well-written work makes for bloody good reading!”