Well. Another Jodi Picoult. My 5th this year, I just realized... And no surprises. I figured out the big twist ending a bit after the halfway point, t...moreWell. Another Jodi Picoult. My 5th this year, I just realized... And no surprises. I figured out the big twist ending a bit after the halfway point, the smaller twist I didn't. I had a hard time with this one, I'm not sure why since all her books are pretty dramatic & have a lot of trauma occurring to the characters. If you like Picoult, you'll like this book. I liked it well enough, it's basically like losing yourself in a familiar TV show or movie. Doesn't take a lot of thought, sometimes pulls at your heartstrings. (less)
I was not impressed by this one. I almost had a hard time getting through it because I felt annoyed.
I think there is some major back story missing, an...moreI was not impressed by this one. I almost had a hard time getting through it because I felt annoyed.
I think there is some major back story missing, and I'm not sure if it's building up to something in the third book, or just not there.
Through the first two books, we only get one TINY paragraph well into this book about why the Society came to be - "to prevent a future Warming and eliminate illness." That's just not enough. What happened before that? Was there a first Warming that wreaked havoc? How big is the Society? What exists outside of it?
They also talk about this war that's being fought in the outer provinces, but it never talks about WHAT the war is for - why and who is the Society fighting?
It just wore thin to me that there's this love story and that they are trying SO hard to get to the resistance that they're willing to put themselves in danger and to be separated, but I didn't have a clear sense of what they were fighting for or why they were choosing to fight. There was nothing compelling them.
Also, I had a hard time with Ky's "big" revelation about his parents aka the thing he had not allowed himself to remember. Anti-climactic.
In the end, I will probably read the third book in the series when it comes out just because I would like to find out how it ends and wrap it up. But I will speed read it and at this point, I don't expect too much.(less)
This book was not what I'd hoped. In the past, Michael Crichton was able to write about improbable things like cloning dinosaurs and time travel and s...moreThis book was not what I'd hoped. In the past, Michael Crichton was able to write about improbable things like cloning dinosaurs and time travel and somehow keep them from being ridiculous. This book is far from the suspense of Jurassic Park or the creepiness of the alien in Sphere. I don't know if he just got off the rails as time went on - I admit that State of Fear and Next seemed to be veering a bit off course - or if it's because he didn't finish this and it was completed by someone else. Perhaps if the story had stuck more to the microbots, it would have been a better book. As it stands, the whole idea of shrunken people was too ridiculous. It was just TOO over the top... it made it hard to relate to the story and the characters.
I adore Richard Preston, but I also wonder if the fact that he mostly writes non fiction is one of the reasons that the dialogue in this book was sub-par. It was more script-y and less fiction-y. The villain had zero redeemable qualities and it was hard to relate to his motivations in any way.
Michael Crichton is one of my favorite authors ever, and I just felt sad after this book. Hopefully this is the last. Now I'm going to go read Jurassic Park again to cleanse my palate...(less)
I don't read a lot of love stories, but this is the second time in the past five years that I've found myself absolutely loving one. I am always excit...moreI don't read a lot of love stories, but this is the second time in the past five years that I've found myself absolutely loving one. I am always excited to find a book with a unique format or a new way of telling a story - this one is told over the course of 20 years, the story of the same day each year in the course of a relationship between Dexter and Emma. I was not hooked right away, but as I continued to read I found the writing was striking me with the accurate and unique descriptions of life. It was also funny, and the story was touching. I found the ending unexpected.(less)
It took me a while to get into this one, but by the end I was wanting to immediately open the next book in the series to see what happened. I did it a...moreIt took me a while to get into this one, but by the end I was wanting to immediately open the next book in the series to see what happened. I did it a disservice by reading it immediately after Divergent, another YA dystopian book that was incredibly well written and which I found more compelling. In all, I'm glad I read this one and I will continue the series.
Updating - I just decreased this from 3 starts to 2. I liked it, but I just finished another book from the same genre, "Life As we Knew It." It made me realize that although I liked the concept of Uglies, I did not feel any attachment to any of the characters, so I didn't really care that much what happened to them. I also think the writing wasn't that great. Calling the city New Pretty Town etc. kind of got on my nerves.(less)
I wouldn't say "liked it" is a great description, most likely if you're reading this book you or someone close to you has just gotten diagnosed with b...moreI wouldn't say "liked it" is a great description, most likely if you're reading this book you or someone close to you has just gotten diagnosed with breast cancer. However, I did think that this book was a great, straightforward and SIMPLE guide for women who need to know what to look for in a doctor, what the different types of cancer are, and what to ask their doctor. It's short, so it's not overwhelming, and it's very straightforward.(less)
Autism has become a fairly hot topic in the past few years, and I've been interested in the subject for quite a while. I've read a couple of books pre...moreAutism has become a fairly hot topic in the past few years, and I've been interested in the subject for quite a while. I've read a couple of books previously about the subject, including Jenny McCarthy's book "Louder than Words." Despite McCarthy's 'mother's instinct' and conviction that vaccines caused her son's autism, and that she was able to cure him through diet and therapy, I finished the book believing neither. I ran across "The Panic Virus" by Seth Mnookin at the library when I was looking for a new audio book to read, and it sounded right up my alley.
It's hard to even know where to begin. This book is a wonderfully well executed look into the world of vaccines and the medical crisis of misinformation spread about the 'connection' between autism and the MMR vaccine. As a young married man planning to have children, Mnookin heard many stories about vaccines from his friends - a lot of them had concerns about the safety of vaccines for their children. He decided to explore the topic for himself and seek out the facts, and "The Panic Virus" was born.
Mnookin starts the book by speaking about vaccines in general, all the way back to the first inoculations created against Smallpox. Vaccines have always had some controversy surrounding them, from the first time someone decided to score their skin and rub infected pus on it to inoculate themselves to the first polio vaccines and bad batches that paralyzed children after they were administered. It's not a surprise that a controversy would come up regarding the MMR vaccine, mercury, the use of thimerosal and whether it's linked to autism.
Unfortunately, in this case, the medical crisis that follows the controversy is one of epic proportions. There are schools in California where 40-60% of the children are not being vaccinated. Dozens and dozens of children who could be hospitalized and even killed by diseases which are wholly preventable. This is absolutely a health crisis. The panic virus that Mnookin is referring to is misinformation itself, which spreads like wildfire with the help of the modern day media.
Andrew Wakefield is one of the most major players in this story. The doctor who first published a study claiming that autism and digestive problems were a direct result of receiving the MMR vaccine has since been stripped of his medical license. A formal retraction of the article has been issued by the journal in which it was published, and it's been revealed that Wakefield had a financial stake in proving the link. Before publishing his study, Wakefield filed a patent for an alternate measles vaccine, so if MMR stopped being used, he stood to make a good deal of money.
Wakefield was just the first in a long string of people spreading information with no basis in fact through the media. Having an autistic child is not easy. Some parents are dealing with children who are non-verbal, can never be toilet trained, are unable to show emotion, are violent or profoundly unable to take care of themselves. It is absolutely a difficult situation, and I can see how these parents would WANT to reach out and grab hold when someone is giving them an explanation for WHY this happened to their child. In my mind, that's what makes the behavior of those perpetuating this idea even more reprehensible and irresponsible. They are taking advantage of parents emotions and questions about a condition whose causes are still largely unknown, and they're doing it to make a name for themselves.
Mnookin discuses Wakefield in depth, as well as David Kirby, author of the book "Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic." Kirby added (and continues to add) a lot of fuel to the fire of parents who are blaming vaccines and the government's vaccine program for their children's autism. Despite the lack of evidence of any link, Wakefield, Kirby, and Jenny McCarthy all have huge followings in the autism community, and continue to attend events, give talks, and provide information to parents all over the world. To me, this is especially surprising the case of Wakefield, who has been exposed as an unethical doctor who basically fixed his research, was nonobjective and stood to gain financially from his own findings. His research showed contaminated samples, and how much of a surprise can that be from someone who took his control samples by drawing blood from the guests at his own child's birthday party? Yet he now lives in the United States, and continues to book speaking engagements and spread his ideas.
Though at least half of the book is devoted to looking at vaccines as they relate to autism, Mnookin also explores vaccines in general. He gives great background information about studies regarding mercury poisoning and mercury content in vaccines, as well as some history of other public health scares and people mistrusting the government (for example the debate over fluoridation of the water supply). Mnookin explores the reasons why people are able to believe in ideas that have no basis in fact, especially on emotionally charged issues, and how we decide how much proof is enough. On of the major points made here is that you cannot prove a negative, that those like David Kirby who ask for the government to prove all vaccines are 100% safe for every single person are asking for the impossible.
Study after study has failed to find any link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The British and American court systems have both conducted in depth, several year long investigations and found no causal relationship. The doctor who most heavily promoted the idea has been stripped of his license. Yet, people continue to insist that there must be a link that they "just know" that their child was made autistic after vaccination.
Within this book, you'll read several stories of sick children. Children who have been hospitalized in pediatric and infant ICUs because they caught preventable diseases from kids who were not vaccinated. Particularly distressing is the story of a six week old baby who couldn't fight off the pertussis (whooping cough) that she came down with before she was old enough to be vaccinated. Can you even imagine knowing that your child died from something so preventable?
It's absolutely true that Mnookin is using these stories to appeal to our emotions. However, there is also a point to be made. Other than in this book, where have you ever heard the other side of this story? I've heard accounts like Jenny McCarthy's in abundance - my child got the vaccine and s/he changed. But as one parent of a child who died of whooping cough points out, she contacted the Oprah show and other news outlets and none of them responded with any interest in her side of the debate. These parents deserve to be heard as well, and to be recognized for the hardship they've gone through.
The tragedy here is that children are being hurt. Millions of dollars have been spent fighting a battle with vaccines that has no basis, when that money could have been spent on the actual children - autism research and tools for the children that are affected by autism. Families whose budgets are stretched to the limits by trying to provide the best for their children are spending their money on 'miracle cures' and remedies based on the idea of autism as a bio-medical condition with a root cause in some vaccine or virus. Meanwhile, Hib, whooping cough, and measles outbreaks are threatening other children with serious illness and even death.
I went into this book already confident that vaccines do not cause autism. I came out of it appalled that the media is still perpetuating this myth, and that people are still believing it. If you've got doubts about your child's vaccines, this is a wonderful book to read that will give you straightforward, scientific facts about the lack of evidence that there is any link whatsoever between autism and vaccines. Beyond that, it will make you think about how you make decisions about what you believe and when to give up and admit that an idea just isn't so. It's well written, well paced, and held my interest every step of the way.
In the epilogue, Mnookin returns to his baby boy and the future he sees for him:
"As my son grows older, I hope that ... he will feel empowered to make his own decisions and will have the self-confidence to challenge traditional wisdom. I also hope that he learned the difference between critical thinking and getting swept up in a wave of self-righteous hysteria, and I hope he considers the effects of his actions on those around him. Finally, for his sake and for that of everyone else alive, I hope he grows up in a world where science is acknowledged not as an ideology but as the best tool we have for understanding the universe, and where striving for the truth is recognized as the most noble quest humankind will ever undertake."(less)
Jodi Piccoult is a great storyteller. I think "My Sister's Keeper" was the first book of hers that I read, and I loved it. I've read several others si...moreJodi Piccoult is a great storyteller. I think "My Sister's Keeper" was the first book of hers that I read, and I loved it. I've read several others since then and they have varied in how much I liked them. This one was pretty good. It was interesting to read about the Amish and to think about our way of life versus the life I sometimes think we should be leading. The Amish setting and the trial setting provide an interesting juxtaposition.(less)
Cara Muhlhahn is an awesome woman, a homebirth midwife who has been working in New York City for over 30 years. Her story is great, but her book was n...moreCara Muhlhahn is an awesome woman, a homebirth midwife who has been working in New York City for over 30 years. Her story is great, but her book was not as great. There were many facts and opinions about the medical community, how she had experienced it and statistics that just seemed to be repeated over and over. I really wanted more FEELING and less of the narrative, which got a little hard to get through at times because it seemed disconnected from the passion that drives her to do her work. I would have liked more stories of babies and mothers she has worked with. It was an interesting read because of the subject matter - something I am extremely interested in - but I have read other midwife memoirs that I would much more highly recommend.(less)
I read Divergent earlier this year, and it was one of my favorite reads of 2011. When I added Delirium to my reading lis...moreThis book just broke my heart.
I read Divergent earlier this year, and it was one of my favorite reads of 2011. When I added Delirium to my reading list, a friend said it was even better than Divergent, which made me excited to read it. For the first half, I wasn't seeing it. But then...
Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer. Her descriptions of love and pain and fear are so incredible that you'll find yourself feeling those things right along with the characters. The end of the book was not what I expected, and I can't wait to read the second book in this series when it comes out next February.
If you're a fan of dystopian sci-fi, I would highly recommend this one. I loved it. (less)
I picked this up after reading about how enthralling it was on one of the blogs I read. I went into it not knowing anything beyond what it says on the...moreI picked this up after reading about how enthralling it was on one of the blogs I read. I went into it not knowing anything beyond what it says on the book jacket, and I'm glad I did - that's the way to read this one. It's extremely rare that I have a physical reaction to a book - I can probably count the times on one hand, and this is among them. Quindlen is such an amazing storyteller, she certainly took my breath away with this one.(less)
Absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. The story of an amazing man that will move you to tears, and help you remember what life is really ab...moreAbsolutely one of the best books I've ever read. The story of an amazing man that will move you to tears, and help you remember what life is really about. A more in depth review will be forthcoming.(less)