Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads

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#StevesLibrary: Secrets of the Human Body

Something that has always fascinated me is the human body, how it works and how we figured out how so. Therfore in my mind, Secrets of the Human Body was going to be a fantastic read. I think I’m right in saying that this is the first book I’ve reviewed focussed around human anatomy on my blog, although I really need to try to increase that figure. The book itself is based on a three-part TV series that aired on the BBC called The Human Body: Secrets of Your Life Revealed. I hadn’t seen it before, so I started to watch it whilst also reading the book and this was a mistake.

The TV series has three main episodes, which are echoed in the book. These focus on three parts of our biology which make us uniquely human titled ‘Learn’, ‘Survive’ and ‘Grow’. I feel there is an rabbit hole that it is easy to fall down when writing a book based on a TV series, which is a lack of differentiation between the two. After watching The Human Body: Secrets of Your Life Revealed it felt like I had wasted my time reading Secrets of the Human Body as pretty much everything that is shown in the TV series is mirrored word-for-word in the accompanying book. I’m aware that this is entirely my fault, my curiosity got the better of me. Therefore, I recommend that you do not attempt to read the book and watch the series around the same time.

Secrets of the Human Body does have some interesting facts and insight, which of course the TV series doesn’t contain with it being for a much more general audience. It does a good job going into the science behind the discoveries mentioned, which I really liked. You’re also limited into how much you can squeeze into a documentary series, before people turn off the channel because you’ve overloaded them with information. Whilst the series exists, I think it should be ignored unless you want to refresh your mind about what is mentioned/discussed in Secrets of the Human Body. It’s very well written and the Van Tulleken brothers make it both a fun and exciting read, however it also feels like that they’ve taken the script from their series which the book is based and just strung the prose together. Be sure you read the book first to save yourself from any spoilers!

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