The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr Weigel: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis- So typhus is gross and terrible. 2 different doctors worked on a vaccine. One saved as many Jews as he could by employing them and using them as (humane) guinea pigs for the developing vaccine. The other doctor was Jewish, imprisoned in a concentration camp and forced to try to recreate the vaccine under those deplorable and terrifying conditions.
Vampires in the Grove - Another great story collection from Karen Russell. I liked that none of these stories were set in her usual "Swamplandia" type setting. I like that setting but variety is good! My favorite stories were the very first one and the horse presidents!
Under Major Domo Minor - I was intrigued by the summary, weird happenings in an old castle. Yes. In. And the story was fine, not extraordinary but not bad. And then surprise orgy. Which didn't necessarily improve the book, which I think says something about it.
Hiroshima Maidens - After the atomic bombings of Japan in WWII, several young women who were severely disfigured came to the United States for treatment. It was really interesting to hear about how incredibly different the cultures were even in the 50s. Like, how running water and electricity in Japan were kind of rare unless you were in a big city.
The Violinists Thumb - Oh glory, this is a great book. Maybe Sean Kean is just incredibly special and makes all kinds of science easily understood and easily digestible. Here's a fun fact: Rachmaninoff had HUMUNGOUS hands that stretched to an octave and a half. That's freakish. And probably makes his stuff incredibly hard to play.