A really well done presentation on the history of cancer - from the disease itself to its treatments, its diagnosis and the evolution of our understanA really well done presentation on the history of cancer - from the disease itself to its treatments, its diagnosis and the evolution of our understanding of both the biology and chemistry of the disease as well as the drugs to combat it. I particularly liked the way he put all of the above into perspective from the viewpoint of patients, treatment providers, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies. ...more
A really good read, part of which focuses on a shameful chapter of American History that few people know about. The only thing that kept it being a 5A really good read, part of which focuses on a shameful chapter of American History that few people know about. The only thing that kept it being a 5 star review was the pacing of the novel which was a bit uneven at the end. However, the story has encouraged me to read more about this topic....more
With Father's Day around the corner, and looking for something to read, I picked this book off my husband's shelf...it had been a Father's Day gift aWith Father's Day around the corner, and looking for something to read, I picked this book off my husband's shelf...it had been a Father's Day gift a few years ago. I was always a Tim Russert fan from his Meet the Press days and I vividly remember being sadly struck by his untimely, sudden death a few years ago.
This book doesn't disappoint. It is a great collection of letters and thoughts about fathers from readers of Russert's Book "Big Russ and Me." Broken down into thematic sections, the book has recollections of fathers from all walks of life and all stripes.
A great, laugh-out-loud read. I started reading this book before I went to Australia and finished it while there. It gives an amazingly vivid and (whaA great, laugh-out-loud read. I started reading this book before I went to Australia and finished it while there. It gives an amazingly vivid and (what I found to be) a true viewpoint about a wonderful country....more
I received this book as a gift from a friend who knows my interests in genealogy as a native Philadelphian. I am not sure it is a book I would have diI received this book as a gift from a friend who knows my interests in genealogy as a native Philadelphian. I am not sure it is a book I would have discovered on the shelf but I am really glad that it crossed my path. It was a great read.
This book is a work of historical fiction based around the real character of Mary Van Lew Bowser, who posed as a slave in the Gray House - the Richmond home of Confederate President, Jefferson Davis in order to spy for the Union and support the cause of abolition.
The end of the book recounts her service to the Union while the earlier portions attempts to recreate a plausible accounting of Mary's story leading up to the US Civil War. Born into slavery in the Van Lew household of Richmond, VA, the Van Lew's headstrong daughter, Bet, who favored the Union cause of abolition, buys Mary and her mother from the matriarch of the Van Lew family and frees them. However, Mary's father is not free, working in Richmond and his freedom from his work as a smithy cannot be bought. Since free slaves cannot remain in Virginia for more than a year, a decision is made to allow Bet to finance an education for Mary in Philadelphia. This education is both formal and cultural with Mary's life as a free Negro in 1850's Philadelphia shaping her in ways she didn't foresee and motivates her to return to Richmond to aid the Union in whatever way she can.
The story is presented in a very plausible way and the characters are well drawn. As a native Philadelphian, I am more familiar with the Quaker, Lucretia Mott, who was instrumental in the formation of Camp William Penn for the training of what were then known as the "US Colored Troops." This book focuses at a different level and paints more of an everyday picture of life in Philadelphia.
Set in late 18th Century England, this is the tale of Tom, a young stable boy who is entrusted with the care of two young elephants, when they are acqSet in late 18th Century England, this is the tale of Tom, a young stable boy who is entrusted with the care of two young elephants, when they are acquired by a wealthy sugar merchant for whom he works. The story actually begins a bit later after the elephants have been sold off and separated, with Tom accompanying the female, Jenny, to the estate of Lord Bidborough. Despite their wide class difference, the Lord is a bit of a kindred spirit to Tom in his love of and humanizing of animals. He encourages Tom to write the history of Jenny as well as his observations of elephant behavior. It is the creation of this narrative that takes up the first half of the book. As Tom struggles to capture the story, one gets an appreciation of the real differences between writing and telling a story. This first half of the book is extremely well written - it garners 4-5 stars.
However, the second half of the book takes a complete downturn. In some ways, the breakdown of the narrative parallels the lives of Tom and Jenny as their idyllic life with Lord Birdborough is upended and both eventually wind up working in a sorry London menagerie. While the interdependence of Tom and Jenny is inspiring at the beginning, it becomes increasingly dysfunctional and devolves for Tom, who eschews many aspects of life to obsessively tend to Jenny. Unfortunately, the book falters in this last half.
I thought the ending of the book was just terrible. The story is mostly told in present tense and the very end takes us farther into the future where someone is speculating on what happened to Tom and Jenny. That was a bit jarring in and of itself as it abruptly changed the pace of the narrative for the reader. We are given two possible scenarios - one is obviously a fantasy (but in no way is it carried off like the "alternate" ending in "The Life of Pi."). The second tries to spin another more "likely" tale and is one that I felt was also fairly implausible given the nature of the characters of Tom and Jenny.
Bottom line - it could have been a great book but the last half and the ending were a big let down for me personally and greatly affect my overall review.
I would try reading another one of this author's publications since the first half of this book showed such a great talent for narrative.
Loved the book. The only thing that reduced my review/stars was that I felt the author wrapped the book up too quickly at the end. Prior to that, theLoved the book. The only thing that reduced my review/stars was that I felt the author wrapped the book up too quickly at the end. Prior to that, the pace of the book was consistent throughout and I just felt like the wrap-up didn't do justice to the prior cadence of the book.
Overall, however, it was a really good read....more
I thought the premise of this book was really ripe for a good read. I did want to know the outcome, so I was compelled to finish it. While I debated oI thought the premise of this book was really ripe for a good read. I did want to know the outcome, so I was compelled to finish it. While I debated on giving it three stars, I settled for two for a couple reasons. One, I found the writing style to be choppy. At times, the prose was good and at times, I found wording to be contrived and annoying. (One example is the constant use of the word "police" in place of "police officer.") Two, some of the characters were not as fleshed out as I would have liked and some of the authorities (police, social workers, etc.) were characatures and stereotypes. The lead character (the girl who returns claiming to be the younger Bethany sister) was also, for lack of a better word, scattered - some of that belies a troubled soul but the character is written with a lot of confusing behavior and it isn't clear how much of that is to evoke empathy/doubt in the reader or merely to keep her identity a mystery until the end of the book. In the end, I didn't find her terribly redeeming.
My Kindle copy of the Author's notes was a bit corrupted but I did learn that this story was "inspired by" a true occurrance and unsolved cold case in the Baltimore area some years ago. ...more
I have admired Jane Goodall ever since seeing "Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees" on TV when I was quite young. This book didn't disappoint. It isI have admired Jane Goodall ever since seeing "Miss Goodall and the Wild Chimpanzees" on TV when I was quite young. This book didn't disappoint. It is primarily a chronicle of the first thirty years of the work observing chimpanzee behavior at the Gombe reserve on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. There is a shorter summary at the end which discusses the intervening years with updates on the inhabitants of the reserve. I have to agree with other reviews that I have read that say this book reads more like a novel as it, indeed, provides a window to the reader on a fascinating and complex society. A social hierarchy that demonstrates how similar we humans are to the chimpanzee with everything from nurture to jealousy to power, cooperation, striving for status within the community, finding the best mates, and, yes, brutal violence and genocide. Ms Goodall's writing style is quite approachable and those who are afraid this might read like a Ph.D. thesis have nothing to fear. Ms. Goodall takes us into this world as a keen observer and we come to know and care about the lives and welfare of these families of chimps while we cannot help but see how many of their traits - both good and bad - that we share....more