Anatomical Oddities

The Otherworldly Realms Hidden within Our Bodies

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Pub Date 07 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 06 Nov 2023

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From acclaimed science writer, presenter, and illustrator Alice Roberts, a visual and linguistic adventure through the strange, astonishing worlds within our anatomy.

Every part of the human body has a name—and story. But how familiar are you with your arachnoid mater or your Haversian canals?

Anatomical Oddities
explores the less-familiar realms of the body, unveiling the mysteries etched into the most outlandish landscapes hidden inside all of us: our crypts and caverns, gorges, islets, and mountains. Along the way, it dips into the history of our relationship with our physical form and the discoveries that paved the way for modern anatomy and medicine.

Quirky, bizarre, and beautiful, these pages feature original artworks by Alice Roberts. The stunning, full-color illustrations lay bare the intricate details of the human body, the stories of people who unearthed its secrets, and the meanings of the words we use to describe it.

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ISBN 9781891011139
PRICE $18.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 13 members

Featured Reviews

I have to say, this book was a lot of fun. I work in the medical field and I had to take a lot of A&P. Some of these odd places were familiar and some were new! The illustrations were on point and made the whole reading experience a lot more enjoyable. This is definitely a must read for anyone in the medical field and I hope there will be more anatomical oddities coming to us in the future!

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Dr. Alice Roberts brings her artistic talents and her deep knowledge of science and medicine to her illustrated book Anatomical Anomalies.

I found this volume to be interesting both because of my interest in human anatomy—I have worked in healthcare in a variety of roles—and my desire for continued learning.

This book presented me with new ways to remember information about the body structures described as well as intriguing facts about each featured-and perhaps less well known-anatomical part.

If you have an interest in medicine or the human anatomy, this is a book for you!

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As a biology major I truly enjoyed this deep dive into the meaning behind obscure anatomical parts. The amount of research that went into this is amazing, as it not only covered the latinized meaning of the systems, organs, etc. it also included any history change to the term as scientific discovered more behind the hidden world of the human body.

The illustrations were beautiful and clever, including imagery that related to the entomology of the anatomical name. This book was innovative, educational, and a super fun read for me.

I give it 4.5 stars but rounding up to 5

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Interesting book with amazing illustrations that explain how the body parts got their names. I learned a ton and was fascinated by the drawings. Will be interested to see how it translates into the different applications for ebooks….may not be suitable for small devices.

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I absolutely loved reading this book. I was completely drawn into the topic and could not stop reading it.

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I adore books like this.

As someone who loved taking Anatomy and Physiology in college, I found it helpful to understand the origin of the various anatomical and physiological terminology. The etymology of the terms—the study of the origin of words—was incredibly useful because it helped me understand and, most importantly for any exams, remember those words.

Of course, as someone who loves medical history, any book that delves into the discussion of the various nooks and crannies of the human body is right up my alley. In the book, each term is illuminated by the author’s own illustrations with a complete discussion of the term’s etymology and history of discovery.

For the most part, the book is a sober look at anatomical terms and history but, occasionally, the author sneaks in a bit of snark, such as the following:

“I have an impression of early anatomists, almost exclusively men, poring over the intricate structures of the human body and becoming quite excited when they found anything that reminded them of a bit of female anatomy. It’s extraordinary how many parts of the body, apart from the breasts themselves, are named after breasts and nipples.” This quote, which made me laugh out loud, was in reference to the mammillary bodies that are situated in the brain—far away from what we think of as female accoutrements.

I would recommend Anatomical Oddities: The Otherworldly Realms Hidden within Our Bodies to anyone taking a college level course in anatomy. It may not be a book that you’d want to read from cover to cover, although I did and enjoyed doing so, but, as you learn about each anatomical oddity, check out what this book has to offer and I’m sure you’ll appreciate it.

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Great crossover for fans of both linguistics and anatomy! I really appreciated that each topic stood alone, so that you can open it up whenever and read a few. It is written at a higher level than I expected though — it takes some prior anatomy knowledge to follow. Not really written as a starting point. That said, it would make a very cute and informative coffee table book if you have a science background! Very well-written and enjoyable overall.

Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC!

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Fascinating book!
I really enjoyed finding how names for various body parts came to be.
I read parts of this with a high school student and we agreed we were able to retain names after learning history and meaning far better than other methods.
Unique and fun illustrations, reminded me of an antique medical students sketchbook.
This would be a great book for anyone that loves language, origin of words, and anatomy.
Easy to read a page at a time and pick up where you left off.

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Anatomical Oddities by Alice Roberts is a fun read that is also very interesting.

I don't think I would have used the word "oddities" in the title, but I'm not sure what else would work. Many of the body parts are commonly known is why I would have preferred a different word. The key, however, is that this is an informative and visually engaging book. The pictures ranged from what seems to be fairly accurate (though uniquely colored) to almost abstract (I'm thinking of the illustration for the sella turcica). But Roberts makes sure we know where to look when the drawing is more creative, so it still works quite well.

The writing is very accessible, whether describing the body part and its function or the etymological origins of the name. Each entry is fairly short, a page, so the book can be read straight through or kept handy for when you want to dip in for a bit. Though smaller than what you normally think of as a coffee table book, it would serve that function beautifully. It is visually fun and with short self-contained entries, it can be skimmed or flipped through and start plenty of conversations when you have company.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

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Anatomical Oddities was a fascinating look at some of the history and names behind both obscure and well-known features found within the human body. The commentary and the art make for a unique tour through the anatomical landscape. As someone who taught Anatomy for over six years, the information was on point, and learning the meaning behind the words we use to describe the many features of our internal organs was one of the best aspects of this book.

Alice Roberts has a great writing voice and makes a subject that could easily fall into textbook territory engaging to read for both the casual enthusiast and someone who has studied this topic before. If only all of our anatomy educational materials could be as fun and interesting as this book!

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