On Immunity (Paperback)

An Inoculation

By Eula Biss

Graywolf Press, 9781555977207, 224pp.

Publication Date: September 15, 2015

List Price: 16.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


The hugely acclaimed New York Times Best Seller, now available in paperback

*A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist*

The New York Times Book Review (Top 10), Entertainment Weekly (Top 10), New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune (Top 10), Publishers Weekly (Top 10), Time Out New York (Top 10), Los Angeles Times, Kirkus, Booklist, NPR's Science Friday, Newsday, Slate, Refinery 29, and many more...

In this bold, fascinating book, Eula Biss addresses our fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what may be in our children's air, food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Reflecting on her own experience as a new mother, she suggests that we cannot immunize our children, or ourselves, against the world. As she explores the metaphors surrounding immunity, Biss extends her conversations with other mothers to meditations on the myth of Achilles, Voltaire's Candide, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, Susan Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, and beyond. On Immunity is an inoculation against our fear and a moving account of how we are all interconnected-our bodies and our fates.

About the Author

Eula Biss is the author of The Balloonists and Notes from No Man's Land, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism and which Salon deemed "the most accomplished book of essays anyone has written or published so far in the twenty-first century." Her work has appeared in The Believer, Harper's Magazine, and The New York Times. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Howard Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in the Chicago area and teaches at Northwestern University.

Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. On Immunity is dedicated to “other mothers,” and Biss refers to her conversations with “other mothers” throughout the book. Is On Immunity a book specifically for mothers? For all parents? For everyone?generic viagra price canada
  2. In the beginning of On Immunity, Eula Biss is uncertain about whether or not to fully vaccinate her child, and some of the other mothers she consults in the book choose not to vaccinate their children. By the book’s end, Biss is decidedly pro-vaccination. How did she arrive at this position?generic viagra price canada
  3. Why do you think Biss expresses empathy towards “anti-vaxxers”?generic viagra price canada
  4. Biss states, “Those of us who draw on collective immunity owe our health to our neighbors” and “The health of our bodies always depends on choices other people are making.” Beyond vaccination, what choices do other people make that your health depends on?generic viagra price canada
  5. As Biss writes, the people who choose not to vaccinate their children are “more likely to be white, to have an older married mother with a college education, and to live in a household with an income of $75,000 or more.” How is vaccination a class issue?generic viagra price canada
  6. Have your opinions on vaccinations changed or shifted since reading the book? Why or why not?generic viagra price canada
  7. How do the myths of Achilles and Narcissus help inform questions of individual responsibility vs. community responsibility?generic viagra price canada
  8. Why do you think Biss chose to begin the book with the myth of Achilles and end it with the myth of Narcissus?generic viagra price canada
  9. Biss examines ways in which language relieves or reinforces our medical anxieties. Are there certain words or metaphors that have influenced how you approach your health care decisions?generic viagra price canada
  10. Biss notes a historic association between vampires and vaccinations. She quotes author Eric Nuzum, who says: “If you want to understand any moment in time, or any cultural moment, just look at their vampires.” What do today’s portrayals of vampires say about our moment in time?generic viagra price canada