Quammen's book Spillover is a book that those who enjoy reading nonfiction especially about science will really love. I liked this book. It was fascinQuammen's book Spillover is a book that those who enjoy reading nonfiction especially about science will really love. I liked this book. It was fascinating reading. I am sure washing my hands a lot more frequently now, but have not started wearing a mask.
Spillover reads almost like a collection of mystery stories. He discusses various diseases that have moved from animals to humans and explains the scientific detective work that went into to finding the method of transmission to humans. Among the diseases that he writes about are AIDS, Ebola, Hendra, and H5NI. Viruses that are spread through the air are those most easily passed between humans and what could become a pandemic. His book has inspired me to want to read about the Influenza epidemic that killed so many in 1918-1919. He also provides interesting cultural and background information about the countries were these diseases originate. I learned lots.
Quammen's prose is clear and his ability to make difficult scientific concepts comprehensible to readers without a scientific background is excellent. One of the things that I took away from reading this book that I am sure the author never thought about is what a great career science is for women. So many of the scientists that he interviewed or read researching this book were women. ...more
Really interesting book that provides lots of information about the current research in the field of Autism. Also a very readable explanation of how tReally interesting book that provides lots of information about the current research in the field of Autism. Also a very readable explanation of how the DSMs keep changing the definition of autism and what is included in it.
I learned that people perceive the workings of the world in different ways by seeing pictures in their minds, seeing patterns in things, and through the spoken and written word. While the author Temple Grandin see things in pictures and is very visual in her perceptions, she is not adept at spatial relationships. For example, when she is designing something, she imagines it and how it works and it plays like a movie in her head. However, she is not able to imagine say a piece of equipment and manipulate it spatially.
In her book, Grandin makes the point that there are many different types of autism. She gives lots of practical advice for the parents of autistic children. She talks about how to see strengths in a child's autism rather than dwell on the negative effects. She talks about careers for people with autism by listing professions that play to the strengths of their condition.
In you are interested in how the brain works or autism, you would enjoy this book. ...more
The Chocolate Money is sort of Catcher meets Gatsby. The main character Bettina is wise for her age but doesn't always act accordingly. Probably becauThe Chocolate Money is sort of Catcher meets Gatsby. The main character Bettina is wise for her age but doesn't always act accordingly. Probably because her mother Babs is all about herself. This novel depicts the best case outcome for a child raised with little attention and a very warped sense of parental love. This novel actually reads like it is targeted for the disaffected teenage crowd but too much description of meaningless sex for me to recommend it to my niece. The ending is pretty forced, flat, and convenient. All in all an enjoyable read....more
The Time of Our Singing is a wonderful novel full of heartbreak, joy, triumph, defeat, rage, injustice, and life. The novel spans the period from justThe Time of Our Singing is a wonderful novel full of heartbreak, joy, triumph, defeat, rage, injustice, and life. The novel spans the period from just before WWII until the late 1990's. Delia is the spoke in the wheel of the novel. She is a young African-American woman, gifted with a beautiful voice, who dreams of singing like Marian Anderson.
When she goes to Washington to hear Ms. Anderson sing on the Mall, she meets David Strom. He is white, Jewish, and refugee from Hitler's Germany. They fall in love drawn together by their love of music. David is a physicist. They have three children Jonah, Joseph, and Ruth.
The novel moves back and forth in time as their children grow up and as America begins to face it racist past and present. Music is a common thread in the novel, and all three children have musical gifts but all choose different paths.
The Time of Our Singing is a masterpiece that will stand the test of time and could be read again and again....more
This novel is the first in a 14 work fantasy series. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and will probably read the next volume because I am compulsive anThis novel is the first in a 14 work fantasy series. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and will probably read the next volume because I am compulsive and obsessive about stuff. I think I was somewhat disappointed because I was holding this up to a Game of Thrones standard. It is certainly not at that level of suspense, story telling, or character development.
A battle of good vs. evil. Four teenagers and a young woman all from the same small village all appear to have important roles in this saga. Rand, Matt, and Perrin are teenage boys each remarkable in their own way but only Rand and Perrin are likeable. Egwene and Nyeave are the young women. Egwene aspires to become a member of the Aes Sendai -- a group of women who can wield the one power. And the characters in the novel hold different opinions about whether the group is good or evil. Nyeave is a young woman who seeks to protect the group from the possible evil intent of the Aes Sendai.
Due to the boys special roles in the future of the world, they are being chased by the forces of evil. The Dark force hopes to convince the boys to serve it. Morainne, an Aes Sendai and her guardian Lan-a talented swordsman are trying to take the young people to safety in a city run by the Aes Sendai. However, time is running out and the dark forces are gathering more quickly than they originally thought. There is a battle to be fought.
Telling you anymore would ruin the story. O and btw, who is Rand's real father?...more
If you are someone who loves video games, the 1980's, and Science Fiction/Fantasy novels, you will enjoy this book.
Wade, the narrator, is someone youIf you are someone who loves video games, the 1980's, and Science Fiction/Fantasy novels, you will enjoy this book.
Wade, the narrator, is someone you like immediately and feel that you have something in common with. The story is a quest with little good guys versus big evil corporation bad guys. There is an element of on line romance.
Absent/dead parents make life hard and exciting in novels!
Ben Fountain is a wonderful writer. I didn't think I would enjoy this book because the subject matter did not really appeal to me. But I did enjoy it.Ben Fountain is a wonderful writer. I didn't think I would enjoy this book because the subject matter did not really appeal to me. But I did enjoy it. Billy Lynn is a war hero from a screwed up family. He and the members of his troop were caught on video doing a impressive job of killing the enemy.
They are honored by being sent on a whirlwind tour of the US to meet and greet an appreciative public. The book is set during the George W. Bush administration. Most of the action of the novel takes place on the day the Bravo Company is going to be honored at Texas Stadium. Billy's impressions of the very rich are priceless. Predictably, he falls for one of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders with unpredictable results. What red blooded American Boy could resist one of those prefect beauties?
The question pending is whether Billy return to Iraq with the Bravo group or go AWOL as his loving sister suggests.
Read this prize winning novel for yourself to learn the ending....more
The Sisters of the Sinai is a biography of two very remarkable twin sisters whose father died and left them lots of money. Agnes and Margret were fromThe Sisters of the Sinai is a biography of two very remarkable twin sisters whose father died and left them lots of money. Agnes and Margret were from Scotland and did not believe in spending money on frivolous things. Most of the action in the book takes place in the late 1800's. The sisters grew up in an era when women not encouraged or had access to an education beyond high school.
However, these two Presbyterian women had a love of learning. They both married only to have their husbands die within a few years of their marriages. Both married academics. They heard from a friend Ramel Harris a noted scholar about St. Catherine's monastery in the Sinai desert. In their 50's and early 60's, they made several trips to the monastery riding camels across the desert and traveling by boat and train from England. They slept in tents. They established a very good relationship with the monks who gave them access to their library and manuscripts.
The sisters schooled themselves in many languages Greek, Hebrew, and a language similar to Aramaic the language that Jesus spoke. Agnes discovered a pampliset of the gospels in this language at the monastery. She noticed that a Lives of the Women Saints had been written over an earlier text which was that of the gospels. This find was very important because it placed the first known written edition of the gospels within, I believe 200 years of Jesus' death.
These women continued to read, study, and contribute to scholarship in this area until their deaths. They founded Westminister College in Cambridge.
Set in Stalinist Russia just before the time of Khrushchev, Leo works for the State Security police. His job is to seek out traitors and those that doSet in Stalinist Russia just before the time of Khrushchev, Leo works for the State Security police. His job is to seek out traitors and those that do not support Communism.
This is a who done it/ catch a serial killer novel.
In a Communist Society, there is no crime because people are all equal and happy. If crime occurs, the blame must be placed on someone who is outside the system. For example, someone with a mental disorder. This condition makes it difficult to solve or even establish that the children's deaths are crimes.
Leo also has a secret which is revealed near the end of the novel. At the beginning of the novel, Leo is a highly regarded war hero. However, something happens to change his status, and he begins to rethink his life and his role in solving or rather not solving the murder of a young boy.
Leo changes through out the novel and he and his wife endure sacrifice and hardship.
I enjoyed reading this crime novel. It was a good change of pace from all the non-fiction I have been reading. ...more
All during the 800 gozillion literature classes I took, people always told me I needed to read Vanity Fair. They were right. If you are a fan of the 1All during the 800 gozillion literature classes I took, people always told me I needed to read Vanity Fair. They were right. If you are a fan of the 19th Century novel, you will enjoy Thackeray's masterpiece.
Becky Sharp's character traits are timeless. Her charm, wit,and manipulations keep you very intrigued and entertained. Dobbins is the friend or boyfriend you wish you had.
This is the story of a young women's will to power. As the story beings, Becky is an orphan who is finished with school and has to go and make her way in the world. Her kind friend "Emmy" takes her home, and Becky tries her hand at getting Becky's succesful older brother to fall in love with her. Becky charms many of Mayfair's residents but rather scares Joseph.
Becky obtains a position as a governess and begins her climb to fame and fortune and also begins to blacken her character and reputation.
The novel is a tale of love as well. And perhaps even an happy ending for some of the character. No spoilers from me.
Perhaps, The Phantom Tollboth and I have met at the wrong time in our lives. Although I have never been a fan of puns, the Marx Brother, or the ThreePerhaps, The Phantom Tollboth and I have met at the wrong time in our lives. Although I have never been a fan of puns, the Marx Brother, or the Three Stooges. This book seems almost too clever to me. I am surprised that children enjoy it.
While The Phantom Tollbooth is a catchy title, maybe Milo's Lesson would be more appropriate. Never swept up in the story, I contined reading because it was the book club choice of a poet in our group, and I hopeed to find some dazzling thrill. No such luck.
Well, not really my favorite type of book. A bit too black and white for me. Definitely brings across the mindset and attitudes of the criminal classWell, not really my favorite type of book. A bit too black and white for me. Definitely brings across the mindset and attitudes of the criminal class rationalizing their behavior. The "Laws" weren't much better shifting the facts this way and that.
Very flat characters. No really likeable characters except "The Little Solider." Poverty is hard to escape from especially if you don't like hard work.
Probably would never read anything by this author again.
But if you like Bank Robbers and Shootem up! this may be the book for you. Very short, I read it in one sitting.
As a huge fan of Let the Great World Spin, I looked forward to reading another book by McCann. Although this book was written well before Great World,As a huge fan of Let the Great World Spin, I looked forward to reading another book by McCann. Although this book was written well before Great World, it was just as compelling. McCann is the Scott Fitzgerald of our day. His prose is beautiful. His characters genuine and complete and his story telling ability marvelous.
This Side of Brightness is the story of a man Nathan Walker and his family over three generations. The structure of the book is such that the reader moves between present day and the past as he moves from chapter to chapter.
The novel begins with Nathan being the only African-American member of a 4 man digging crew tunneling underneath the Hudson River to pave the way for the subway. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I will just say that this is a novel that addresses issue that are relevant to our lives: race relations, poverty, addiction, mental illness, love, violence,loyalty,revenge, regret, and forgiveness.
One of the best books I have read recently. I highly recommend this book to all those you love a good story.
Can't wait for his new novel Transatlantic to be released!!!!...more