So much ground is covered (both deep and wide) in the emotional landscape of the protagonist. The author's attempt to withhold the true identity of FeSo much ground is covered (both deep and wide) in the emotional landscape of the protagonist. The author's attempt to withhold the true identity of Fern until the end of the first third of the novel was diminished by the imagery on the cover (my version was red) along with the spoiler text on the back cover.
Interesting and informative, this book quickly navigated unrelated topics and ideas as Rosemary's journey involving Fern was revealed in actuality and from her mind's memory. This book touches upon how fleeting experiences can truly stay with us, and even be in the forefront of our minds for life.
My favorite quote of the book: “We need a sort of reverse mirror test. Some way to identify those species smart enough to see themselves when they look at someone else. Bonus points for how far out the chain you can go. Double bonus for those who get all the way to the insects.
I was also pleased to be introduced to some new words- like psychomanteum, umwelt, and refulgent! Perfect timing, now I can end my review with the praise that this book is refulgent- surely just as the author hoped!
I had the pleasure of meeting the author Lew Bryson at a special event held by Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh.
While reading his book prior to the event,I had the pleasure of meeting the author Lew Bryson at a special event held by Wigle Whiskey in Pittsburgh.
While reading his book prior to the event, I reveled in each page. This book is packed with perfectly presented information, clever personal stories that invite you into the world of whiskey, along with info-graphics, details, and photos.
In the introduction he writes about how anticipation and curiosity play into the tasting experience. It enriches your experience when you understand how the whiskey is made, and know the background and passion behind who is making it.
At the event he mentioned that you could just drink whiskey, but why would you want to? He explained that It only takes a little more effort to enjoy it! After reading this book, a tasting will never be the same- your appreciation of the process and everything that comes together to make the finished product will be heightened.
Reading this book makes me very respectful of the alchemy that creates the character of a particular whiskey. I am in awe actually! So much variability between batches made of the same recipe- seriously, if you don’t believe me refer to page 49 to see how even the location of the barrel within the warehouse can affect the character of the whiskey!
He also addressed aging versus maturation, (not in regards to the male species where aging is a constant and maturation is sometimes non-existent) but in Whiskey where 50% of the flavor comes from the barrel. Obviously, the proportion of surface area of the wood to the whiskey volume is of great importance, but through testing a variety of barrel sizes in attempts to speed up maturation it has been found that an increase in surface area doesn’t mean that whiskey can mature faster. Maturity must be earned over time.
Chapter 5 is all about tasting. Taking notes forces your mind to focus on finding the best descriptor for the flavors and sensations you are perceiving. I find that detailed notes can also bring you back to the experience later in the same way old photographs can bring you back to your childhood. Lew recommends taking a sniff of the crook of your elbow between whiskey types- if you want to know why you will just have to read the chapter.
The most bizarre part of the book is where Lew touches upon something the cemented whiskey’s place in the world. You will never guess...it’s and aphid that hitchhiked over to France on American grape vines and caused major destruction of Europe’s native grape vines. For more on this wicked bug, refer to a book by Amy Stewart aptly titled ‘Wicked Bugs’.
During the event Lew shared some stories from the book such as 'The Wall' and the three week long Whiskey-a-Day Program to essentially down regulate the pain receptors on your taste buds so that you can finally taste the nuances of the whiskey instead of the hot fiery burning feeling that Lew equated with being kicked in the face by a mule.
These stories are told best in Lew's own words, so I will leave you to seek out this book to discover the pleasures of it for yourself- and be sure to have a nip of whiskey in hand when you do! ...more
My husband looked over and saw me reading this book, and said “No!” while shaking his head. I looked up, I knew why he was having this reaction. I canMy husband looked over and saw me reading this book, and said “No!” while shaking his head. I looked up, I knew why he was having this reaction. I can be a little obsessive over germs, but I assured him that it was ok. I had made it past the worst part of the book where the author coyly points out on page 3 that a virus might even impregnate a piece of paper, spreading disease with the touch of a finger. Who wouldn’t look at the book in their hand with a small amount of horror after reading that tidbit of information? Yet, I am so loyal to the printed book and the library system not even the threat of viruses impregnated into a book page could send me running to an e-reader! With the knowledge that these inconceivably small and incredibly tough viruses are all around us, I could let go of any efforts to control the situation and I immediately felt at peace.
Have you ever played the carnival game where you have to try to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar? Using the same premise, think of a two-liter bottle full of sea water. How many viruses could be inside? I’ll give you a hint to help you out- viruses are much smaller than bacteria, a thousand viruses could be lined up along the side of one grain of salt. Now take a guess and click to reveal the answer.
We all know that viruses can play a negative role by being a nuisance (like the virus that causes the common cold) and because some viruses (Ahem, Ebola and even the flu) are deadly- each year roughly 36,000 people die of flu in the United States. This book brings to light the many positives to a world with viruses?
Below is a list of my favorite six positives of viruses:
1. Viruses move DNA between species to provide new genetic material for evolution.
2. Viruses regulate vast populations of organisms.
3. Viruses help control the planet’s temperature.
4. Viruses are instrumental in the production of some of the oxygen that we breathe. Proteins from viruses carrying out light harvesting have been found by Scientists when they examine the DNA of an abundant species of ocean bacteria Synechococcus. Free-floating viruses with photosynthesis genes searching for a new host to infect have also been found. The author relays that by one rough calculation, 10 percent of all the photosynthesis on earth is carried out with virus genes.
5. Viruses help our immune system. Scientists are optimistic that they will be capable of developing a cure for the common cold, but should they? Can the common cold can be beneficial? Evidence has been gathered showing that children exposed to relatively harmless viruses and bacteria may be gaining protection from immune disorders when they age. Human Rhinoviruses (common cold) may help to train our immune system not to overreact to minor triggers, so that out immune system can instead direct assaults at true threats. With a new understanding the cold virus can be viewed as a wise old tutor instead of a nuisance to be eradicated.
6. And last but not least, if you are reading this you can thank a virus for making your life possible. Some cells from a fetus develop into the an organ that draws in nutrients from the mother’s tissues called the placenta. A human endogenous retrovirus gene plays a crucial role in the fusion of the cells in the outer layer of the placenta. These cells use the above mentioned human endogenous retrovirus gene to produce a protein on their surface, which latches them to neighboring cells. Without the endogenous retrovirus, the placenta would not be able to form properly, and without a placenta to draw nutrients from the mother’s tissues for the fetus- reproductive abilities of mammals would be at a stand still.
This book explains that we need to move beyond the idea of ‘humans as a species’ versus virus. Because there is a continual gradual blending and shifting mix of DNA, Virologists should extensively study both the positive and negative ways viruses and other organisms interact.
The book urges us to consider the contradicting meaning of the word virus inherited from the Roman Empire, which originally signified either a life-giving substance (seamen) or a deadly substance (venom of a snake). Knowledge that viruses can be deadly abounds, but taking a deeper look brings the understanding that they have also contributed to the world and humans as a species in many positive ways. Viruses are a duality of creation and destruction to be understood and respected.
Public Service Announcement: Antibiotics are USELESS against viruses- they only work against bacteria. Please do humanity a favor by not rushing to your doctor to demand antibiotics if you suspect that you have a common cold or the flu or even Ebola which are all viruses. The unnecessary and ineffective use of antibiotics is at our own peril as humans, because the overuse increases antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Excellent book, full of interesting content that makes you think about the world differently! Bonus: Page 10 dispels that popular myth that going outside into the cold can give you a cold! (Sorry Mom, the cold comes from a virus- not cold weather!)...more
And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability.
In those days, we imagined ourselves as being kept in some kind of holding pen, waiting to be released into our lives. And when that moment came, our lives- and time itself- would speed up. How were we to know that our lives had in any case begun, that some advantage had already been gained, some damage already inflicted? Also, that our release would only be into a larger holding pen, whose boundaries would at be at first indiscernible.
...we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of us.
Later on in life, you expect a bit of rest, don’t you? You think you deserve it. I did, anyway. But then you begin to understand that the reward of merit is not life’s business. Also, when you are young, you think you can predict the likely pains and bleakness that age might bring. You imagine yourself being lonely, divorced, widowed; children growing away from you, friends dying. You imagine the loss of status, the loss of desire- and desirability. You may go further and consider your own approaching death, which, despite what company you might muster, can only be faced alone. But all this is looking ahead. What you fail to do is look ahead, and then imagine yourself looking back from that future point. Learning the new emotions that time brings. Discovering, for example, that as the witnesses to your life diminish, there is less corroboration, and therefore less certainty, as to what you are or have been. Even if you have assiduously kept records- in words, sound, pictures- you may find that you have attended the wrong kind of record-keeping.
Or perhaps it’s that same paradox again: the history that happens underneath our noses ought to be the clearest, and yet it’s the most deliquescent. We live in time, it bounds us and defines us, and time is supposed to measure history, isn’t it? But if we can’t understand time, can’t grasp its mysteries of pace and progress, what chance do we have with history- even our own small, personal, largely undocumented piece of it.
We live with such easy assumptions, don’t we. For instance, that memory equals events plus time. But it’s all much odder that this.Who was it said that memory is what we thought we’d forgotten. And it ought to be obvious to us that time doesn’t act as a fixative, rather as a solvent. But it’s not convenient- it’s not useful- to believe this; it doesn’t help us to get on with out lives; so we ignore it.
You get to the end of life- no, not life itself, but of something else: the end of any likelihood of change in that life... I thought of what I couldn’t know or understand now, of all that couldn’t ever be known or understood.
There is accumulation. There is responsibility. And beyond these, there is unrest. There is great unrest.
“History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.” Quote by Patrick Lagrange included in the text of the book
I forgot to add a review of this book to my Goodreads account, but the recent movie trailers spurred me into action.
This book willI forgot to add a review of this book to my Goodreads account, but the recent movie trailers spurred me into action.
This book will induce paranoia about your domestic partner, regardless of how perfect you think or know things are going with them.
Only read this book if you have ample time to finish it in the immediate future, otherwise you are just torturing yourself.
I could not stop reading, my mind was pleasantly exhausted while trying to discern the various characters' intentions. As the evidence mounted and the plot took more twists and turns than a metal clothes hanger my speculation gave rise to a theory. When I thought that I had pieced it together I became even more engrossed and read at an even more feverish pace.
I won't spoil the ending, but I will tell you that before snapping the book closed to hear the satisfying clap of the hardback against the weight of all of the pages that I had just hungrily consumed, I took a moment to gaze at the author's photo and found myself trying to peer deeply into Gillian's eyes. I realized that I was equally terrified and in awe of the mind that wrote this book!