Publishing a book in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on the topic of cleanliness and how we’re overdoing the clearing off of our skin microbiome, and too often, is… bold. The author, James Hamblin, addresses this in the introduction, as you’ll find no mention of COVID-19 in the pages of Clean (also available on Overdrive as an e-book and an e-audiobook), since this was written before the pandemic hit. Its message, however, makes for even queasier reflection once we start thinking about how much 2020 has seen an uptick in the use of hand sanitizer and soap – and a necessary one, of course! I’m not even suggesting for a moment that we should reconsider how much we’re washing our hands in the midst of a pandemic where washing our hands properly might literally save lives. But similar messages have been raised about how we’re destroying our skin microbiome on a much more frequent basis than might be healthy: Beyond Soap by Sandy Skotnicki, was published back in 2018, for example, along with Missing Microbes by Martin J. Blaser (2014), which talks about antibiotic overuse and how that is changing our relationship with the microbes around us.