19 May, 2015
Life of pee : the story of how urine got everywhere by Sally Magnusson
I am a sucker for these sorts of fascinating fact books, and yes, I learnt a lot, (and yes, I annoyed my family too). For example, did you know that they used to flavour beer with stale urine, (known as lant). WHAT!!! . . . and if your surname is Fuller, Tucker or Walker, there is a good chance that your ancestors used urine to process wool. A fuller had the lovely job of climbing into a knee-deep barrel of urine and jumping up and down on the cloth to clean it, (and if you lived near a fulling mill you could supplement your income by selling your families pee by the bucket load).
This book covers historical uses, but also delves into topics of current debate, such as should you pee on a jellyfish sting to ease the pain, (who remembers that episode of the TV show 'Friends'? ).
Written in a light humorous tone this book is very accessible. It is written alphabetically by heading, and you can read it from cover to cover or just open it at random, but you will learn an awful lot about the various uses urine has been put to through out the ages, and what a valuable commodity it was. (Even Southern Belles contributed their pee to the American civil War effort to help make saltpetre for gunpowder - who knew?). It makes you wonder a bit if all the urine we flush away today is a wasted resource.
Title: Life of pee : the story of how urine got everywhere
Author: Sally Magnusson
Recommended by Anita S, Blockhouse Bay Library
Anita S reads widely and eclectically, but most often random non-fiction fact books, good general and teen fiction, (often dystopian future types), fantasy and sci-fi if they cover a new angle on something, kids books and .. actually she'll take a look at most stuff. Books are great!
She also loves art and illustration.