An anatomy reference book for a layperson?
January 21, 2020 7:08 PM   Subscribe

I keep getting ailments in various parts of my body and then searching for anatomy drawings on the internet and getting frustrated by the results--things are paywalled or tiny or don't show the right angle. Are there any good books of detailed, labelled color drawings that cover human anatomy comprehensively and relatively authoritatively?

Basically a nice coffee-table atlas, but for the human body.* Explanations of of basic systems (e.g. how a pancreas regulates insulin) would be nice but I'm most interested just in good pictures: Where exactly is my spleen relative to everything else in there? Which cartilage does this tendon go between? Hopefully for non-textbook prices (<$50). Pdf/epub resources or really good websites recommendations would be helpful too, but a book would be best.

* Searching Amazon for "atlas of the human body" turns up plenty, so I guess I'm asking for specific recommendations that 1. look nice and 2. are most likely to help me understand a wide variety of health issues.

posted by ropeladder to Shopping (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You want Netter.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I like this series by DK Human Anatomy
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 7:46 PM on January 21, 2020

Best answer: Armando Anatomy Genius This guy is a fucking rock star at drawing and explaining anatomical processes. He's got a huge library you can select from. I watch this for days sometimes.

If you are interested in cellular microbiology, Dr. Lue at HarvardX on YouTube has some breathtaking animated explanations of cell physiology.
posted by effluvia at 9:04 PM on January 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Gray's Anatomy is over 150 years old but for the purposes of almost any question you're likely to have, that is recent enough for anatomy. It's beautifully illustrated, and because it's not covered by copyright it's not very expensive. If you're looking for a coffee table book you can even find attractive leather-bound editions for around $50.
posted by biogeo at 12:58 AM on January 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Gray's. It is quite beautiful in its own right. If you're super-concerned about tiny minutiae in nomenclature, they have continued to update it based on changing medical understanding.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:11 AM on January 22, 2020

It's not in color until you make it be in color, but The Anatomy Coloring Book is a common study aid for med students, and you may find that coloring the areas you're concerned with helps you build knowledge that's useful for your purposes.
posted by LizardBreath at 6:38 AM on January 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I spend most of my time teaching anatomy and my current favorite books are published by Thieme. They have a broad line of anatomy-related books that range from introductory (and well priced) to highly clinically specialized. Their books have various authors, but they generally share a lot of their illustrations between books, which works well because the artwork is very good—clear and detailed images with nearby annotations/information about the structures/systems. (I prefer Thieme's books and art over Netter, and Netter's work holds a special place in my heart.)

On the introductory end of Thieme's offerings is Gilroy's Anatomy: An Essential Textbook, which is good, but really just hits the basics. Something a little more comprehensive would be her Atlas of Anatomy. If you want deeper dives into individual body systems, Thieme has those in their catalogue as well.

If you really want a coffee table display item, Taschen publishes a large format book full of Bourgery's artwork: Atlas of Human Anatomy and Surgery. It is fun and historical and an impressive object, but not the most instructive resource for learning anatomy. (I recommend the older version that is no longer in publication that is larger and has more plates; it can probably be found on eBay.)

If you want photographs of beautifully dissected human bodies, Rohen's Color Atlas of Anatomy has you covered (CW: pictures of dead people).
posted by cyclopticgaze at 7:06 AM on January 22, 2020

Best answer: For muscles specifically, you can't beat Andrew Biel's Trail Guide to the Body, a common reference in massage schools.

For how muscles get used during movement, I really like Blaise Calais-Germain's Anatomy of Movement, a gem of a book.

For a larger overview of where stuff is relative to other stuff in the body, I'm a big fan of Thieme's Atlas of Anatomy, as linked by cyclopticgaze. You can find free online versions floating around sometimes.

Even with excellent resources, it can still be a challenge to find a book that has just the view/angle/level of detail you want.

For explanations of basic systems of the human body, my favorite is the incredibly informative YouTube channel Crash Course.
posted by danceswithlight at 4:37 PM on January 22, 2020

Response by poster: These all look like exactly what I'm looking for, thanks everyone for the great suggestions!
posted by ropeladder at 7:40 PM on January 22, 2020

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