In college, there are books that I'm assigned that I don't read (yes, yes, I'm ashamed), and books that I'm assigned that I do read. Bee Season, I reaIn college, there are books that I'm assigned that I don't read (yes, yes, I'm ashamed), and books that I'm assigned that I do read. Bee Season, I read.
Myla Goldberg took me back to the world of my Jewish childhood with the character of Eliza, a spunky elementary schooler with a newly-discovered aptitude for spelling. I read this book as part of a class on Jewish literature and previously, all the books had dour, elderly men, usually Holocaust survivors, as protagonists. Finally, I got to read about somebody who was like myself, and I loved it.
Beautifully written and filled with painfully realistic characters, this was quite an enjoyable endeavor. I'm glad I was assigned this book, because otherwise I may not have had a chance to discover it....more
I was very, very leery of reading the Hunger Games trilogy, but that's not the fault of the books or the author. It was marketing's fault, treating itI was very, very leery of reading the Hunger Games trilogy, but that's not the fault of the books or the author. It was marketing's fault, treating it as being akin to Twilight. But when a friend whose opinions I generally trust told me that I needed to check out the books, I buckled down and read.
And then I didn't stop. In Katniss I found an intelligent, courageous heroine, motivated not by flighty thoughts of romance but by a deep love of her family and friends. It was easy to put myself in her shoes, and hard to put the book down. Catching Fire was the first book I read on my brand shiny new Kindle, and I chose it for a reason. I wanted my first experience with it to be something I would enjoy.
While I could pick up on several key plot elements before they happened, it wasn't because I was beaten over the head with foreshadowing, and I liked that fact. Just like The Hunger Games before it, it brought on, as I like to say, "the feels," and left me tearing up at several points. What began as The Lottery meets Battle Royale has taken on a whole new life in this sequel, and I polished it off within days and immediately bought Mockingjay thereafter. I had to know what happened next....more
My mother's mother died when I was very young, no older than three, and I don't have much to remember her by. Just a few hazy memories, a picture in mMy mother's mother died when I was very young, no older than three, and I don't have much to remember her by. Just a few hazy memories, a picture in my parents' house (I look a lot like her), and an unfortunate legacy of type 2 diabetes. However, she did leave something else behind for me. She left me her mitochondrial DNA, passed on through my mother.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed on only through the mother, and can be traced in an unbroken line through mothers and daughters. By now many people have heard of "Mitochondrial Eve," the one woman to whom every living human being can trace his or her lineage. In this book, Bryan Sykes details his research that lead to the seven main mitochondrial DNA lines to which everybody living in Europe, and arguably everybody of European descent, belongs.
Managing to be scholarly without being dry, this book is a perfect companion to anybody studying basic archeology or anthropology, as I am this semester. I found myself touching on familiar concepts from my classes throughout the book. The first part describes the research that went into the project, while the last few chapters detail the hypothetical lives of the seven clan mothers. The most interesting part of the research, I felt, was the fact that our genetic lineage is much older than most people believed. Europeans can trace their ancestry back to the hunting and gathering peoples of the Ice Age, rather than the more recent farmers.
The biggest criticism I have of this book is the fact that the research only touched on the seven European lines. In the second to last chapter Sykes does speak briefly of the other clans that exist throughout the world and their possible origins, but I would like to read more about them. The book was published a full ten years ago and perhaps a follow up has been written; I haven't checked. If there is one, I would definitely read it.
I have to wonder which clan I belong to. My mother's mother was from Spain, but considering the spread of these seven clans, it's all but impossible to say which group is mine without a DNA test. Someday I hope to find out which of the seven daughters of Eve was the matriarch of my line, a line that I might someday pass on to children of my own....more