cover image Ah-Choo!:The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold

Ah-Choo!:The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold

Jennifer Ackerman, Twelve, $22.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-446-54115-2

God bless you!—and this thoroughly delightful compendium of facts, fiction, and down-to-earth advice about the pesky viruses (200 and counting) that knock you down and drag you out two to four times a year. Ackerman (Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body) parses the variety and durability of the cold, its well-known miseries, paradoxes (a highly active immune system may actually make you sicker with a cold), and myriad mysteries (why do poorer people get more colds? what roles do stress and sleep play? is our clean obsession making us more susceptible to sickness?) with the thoroughness of a scientist, the doggedness of a journalist, and the verve of a thriller writer. Look for debunking of modern snake oils like echinacea and vitamin C and some rock-solid advice: wash your hands regularly, and keep them out of your eyes and mouth. And at the very least, Ackerman argues, enjoy the forced break a cold mandates. There's a nifty collection of comforting recipes as well, including a nonalcoholic hot toddy (and a delicious sounding boozy one, too), banana pudding, and yes, chicken soup. Gesundheit! (Sept. 2)