This book was very interesting. It goes through the natural processes that occur to the body after death (before reading it, I didn't realize there we...moreThis book was very interesting. It goes through the natural processes that occur to the body after death (before reading it, I didn't realize there were different types of "mortis" ~ rigor, livor, algor, and pallor). While the book isn't exactly graphic, it does talk about death in clinical ways, mentioning forensic entomology (insects and how they grow on the body after death) and specific experiments scientists undertake to study the effects of decomposition on remains.
I found the prose easy to read and accessible, which is always good in books like these because you don't need a Ph.D. in biology to tackle it. The book read fast and was hard to put down.
If this sort of stuff interests you (and it does me), and if you don't have a queasy stomach (I read this mostly during lunch breaks), then definitely check this out. You'll learn a LOT of neat stuff about the body and the way we return to nature once our time here is done.(less)
Stephen King is my number one, all time, favorite author. Of course, every now and then he announces that he’s no longer writing, or no longer publish...moreStephen King is my number one, all time, favorite author. Of course, every now and then he announces that he’s no longer writing, or no longer publishing novels, and less than a year later, something else by him appears in print. I haven’t yet figured out if that’s a publicity stint or if he thinks he’s really serious each time he says it. How can a writer retire? It’s not like acting; you write for the same reason you get up in the morning, the same reason you breathe ~ because you have to. Whether or not you publish it is an entirely different beast.
That said, this book was released as one in an imprint of republished pulp mysteries intermingled with new books by contemporary authors (given pulp covers to blend in with the rest of the line). Stephen King doesn’t really do mystery, as you’ll find when you read the book ~ there is no solution to the death.
The story of the Colorado Kid ~ a man from Colorado (natch) found dead on the Maine coast one morning with no signs of foul play ~ is told to the reader as a story told from two grizzled newsmen to an intern. This “story within a story” device is a favorite of King’s ~ it distances the reader from the action of the plot while allowing characters not directly impacted by the tale postulate on it.
I’m not a fan of the device, but King can weave a good tale and I enjoyed this one, even if it left me hanging. The mystery is unsolved and, as the reader discovers, unsolvable ~ King doesn’t wrap it up in a tidy bow at the end of the book. But the story is more than a dead man on a beach; it’s about the intern from Ohio becoming inexplicably entwined in the rustic island life of Maine and perhaps choosing to stay there after the internship is over.
This is a very quick read ~ I got through it in a few hours.(less)
**spoiler alert** Read one book by this author already and enjoyed it so much I'd like to read another.
First, I did like this book a lot. I think it w...more**spoiler alert** Read one book by this author already and enjoyed it so much I'd like to read another.
First, I did like this book a lot. I think it was well-executed and well-written. I liked the way the author's life with her parents was fleshed out slowly, giving you just enough details to keep you reading until you couldn't put the book down. Much of the story was internalized by the narrator Helen, colored by her perceptions and past. At its heart, the story wasn't so much about the way some daughters relate to their mothers, as I originally thought, but rather how one deals with the devastating effects mental illness (of any kind) can impact a life and the lives of those around them.
My only real complaint was that the ending felt ... not rushed, per se, but not as richly drawn out as the rest of the story. When Helen decides on a whim to take her father's gun from Hamish, I felt for her, suicide was a cop-out. She kept saying she was weak, then doing things to prove herself wrong. The choice to kill herself was sudden and, I felt, out of character.
Still, not a bad story. It did keep me reading, that's for sure.(less)
Bought this as a gift for my sister-in-law and read it before I gave it to her. I enjoyed it ~ the characterization was unique (it's told from the POV...moreBought this as a gift for my sister-in-law and read it before I gave it to her. I enjoyed it ~ the characterization was unique (it's told from the POV of the girl killed in the opening chapters) and I'd be interested in reading another of the author's books.(less)
Interesting. The author claims that he knew a man who swore that the Bordens were killed not by their daughter Lizzie but by Mr. Borden's illegitimate...moreInteresting. The author claims that he knew a man who swore that the Bordens were killed not by their daughter Lizzie but by Mr. Borden's illegitimate son William. Lizzie agreed to take the blame but paid off the officials in Fall River so that she wouldn't go to jail for the crime but would be acquitted instead. She knew William had committed the murders, but because her father didn't claim William as his son, she didn't want the scandal to ruin their family (as if the murders hadn't, eh?).
Like I said, it was interesting. It makes sense, too, when so much of the story behind the murder and the trial does not.(less)
Fast paced and fun, fact-filled on the beef industry. Makes you want to think twice about eating take-out burgers. I like Robin Cook's style because h...moreFast paced and fun, fact-filled on the beef industry. Makes you want to think twice about eating take-out burgers. I like Robin Cook's style because he knows how to blend in the medical jargon without overdoing it. Tense and action-packed.(less)
Excellent book, well-told, and very informative. I knew very little about the history of Mormonism before reading this. Krakauer is easily one of my a...moreExcellent book, well-told, and very informative. I knew very little about the history of Mormonism before reading this. Krakauer is easily one of my all-time favorite authors, and he never disappoints!(less)
Being a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I really wanted to like this book. Told from the point of view of a young girl, it chronicles her strugg...moreBeing a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I really wanted to like this book. Told from the point of view of a young girl, it chronicles her struggle to create a "city" in which she and the other children can survive the dystopic future they find themselves in after all adults die.
While I understand the story was told from a young protagonist, I didn't like not knowing what had happened to kill the adults. A virus of some sort, I assume, but there was no mention of it nor of the children's concern for themselves as they grew older. Would they, too, succumb to the disease? Or was it a one-time thing that ran its course when the adults were dead? Why did it only attack older humans? What caused it? None of this is explored in the story, which left it a bit underdeveloped for my taste.
Also, there was no mention of the dead parents of the children who remained. I realize this may have been because the story was written several decades ago, but I find it hard to believe every single adult fled to the hospital to die while their children remained at home. There were no dead bodies rotting in bedrooms, nothing nasty decaying in the cellar, nobody left lingering on the lawns where they had fallen. The world the adults left behind was almost pristine, which made the premise of a post-apocalypse a little far-fetched to me.
I know the protagonist had to grow up quickly, but sometimes her thoughts seemed too old for a girl her age. I enjoyed the innovations she had ~ learning to drive a car, going to a farm and warehouse for supplies, moving the children into a fortified location. But the end felt rushed and too convenient. It left me with more questions than answers, and I felt the whole thing could have been written better.(less)
I'll admit I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. The title has the word "virus" in it, and that's good enough for me.
What I foun...moreI'll admit I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. The title has the word "virus" in it, and that's good enough for me.
What I found was a well-written, well-documented book on a retrovirus that lives in all of us, which is dubbed HHV-6 and could be responsible for cellular damage in a wide variety of diseases because it lies dormant in our bodies until our immune system is compromised.
While this is fascinating, particularly how HHV-6 has been observed in conjunction with multiple sclerosis and problems arising in patients receiving transplants, the most interesting part of the book is the detailed explanation it gives about medical schisms over HIV as the cause of AIDS. Growing up as I did in a time when AIDS literally began to explode on the scene, I always assumed the company line about the disease being caused by HIV was gospel truth. This book helps cast some doubts on that prognosis, indicating the prevalence of HHV-6 in AIDS patients that might explain how their symptoms progress so rapidly.
This isn't a book for the faint of heart ~ while written in layman's terms, the scientific concepts and terminology presented may scare off or bore the average reader. But if you're into medical studies like I am, you'll enjoy this.(less)
I never heard of the events detailed in this book, but it was well-written and a very fast read (I finished it in less than a day). The petty problems...moreI never heard of the events detailed in this book, but it was well-written and a very fast read (I finished it in less than a day). The petty problems inherent in small town politics is described to a T. Very good book.(less)
I bought this book because I had read another by the same author (STIFF), and enjoyed her style and voice. I expected a lot from this book, as a follo...moreI bought this book because I had read another by the same author (STIFF), and enjoyed her style and voice. I expected a lot from this book, as a follow-up read, and it didn't disappoint.
Mary Roach has a very dry humor and approachable writing style that makes even the oddest of topics ~ in this case, the question of whether or not there is life after death ~ accessible to the general public.
I enjoyed this book a lot, and learned quite a bit, as well. I liked how the author presents the information with humor but still allows the reader to come to his/her own conclusions.
Highly recommend to anyone interested in an afterlife.(less)
In short, I loved this book. I'm a bit of a macabre person, I'll admit ~ after college, I toyed with the idea of getting an Associate's Degree in Fune...moreIn short, I loved this book. I'm a bit of a macabre person, I'll admit ~ after college, I toyed with the idea of getting an Associate's Degree in Funerary Science ~ and this book fit in perfectly with my personality.
After reading it, I even looked into donating my body to science. I would like to give it to the Body Farm mentioned in the book, but unfortunately I have to die in Tennessee to do that. So I've donated it to the Virginia Department of Health's State Anatomical Program instead.(less)
I bought this book thinking it was a nonfiction accounting of the famous unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. The Black Dahlia. Instead, it's a...moreI bought this book thinking it was a nonfiction accounting of the famous unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. The Black Dahlia. Instead, it's a fictional police/crime drama set around the case.
Ellroy's writing is brief and succinct, and I can see how it wouldn't appeal to every reader. Given the period in which the story is set and the harsh conditions in which the characters work as police detectives in Los Angeles, the prose is peppered with slang that some readers may find offensive due to its racist and homophobic nature.
This story follows a cop (Bleichert) who just happens to be in the right place at the right time ~ namely, on the scene when the Dahlia's corpse is discovered. His partner Blanchard becomes obsessed with the case, and when he disappears, Bleichert finds his own obsession growing. The story kept me reading and had plenty of unforeseen twists and turns that had me flipping pages to find out what happened next.
Ellroy's story solves the crime, but I have to admit that once the murderer came to light, the story would've worked best if it had ended there. After Bleichert learns who killed Short, he's at odds about what to do with that information. Then, in an uncharacteristic and gratuitous scene, a lover of Bleichert's who was involved in covering up the crime comes clean to a stranger while Bleichert overhears her confession. In this scene, Bleichert learns the motive behind the murder and what happened to Blanchard when he disappeared.
I found this too convenient and wished the author wouldn't have been so heavy-handed or eager to tie up all loose ends so poorly. It read like Ellroy got tired of writing and summed everything up in one quick chapter to appease his readers, and I felt that cheated the characters.
However, I did like the friendship between Bleichert and Blanchard (even if their names were so similar that at times it was difficult telling them apart). Perhaps it was just me, but particularly at the beginning of the story, I read more into the relationship than the author had probably intended. Let me just say that I wouldn't be surprised if there were some Bleichert/Blanchard slash stories out there.
Overall, an interesting read. It provides a lot of accurate detail on the Dahlia case that should satisfy true/unsolved crime aficionados, and is perfect for readers who enjoy gritty crime fiction. Just be forewarned that the ending might be a bit of a letdown for some.(less)