K's Reviews > The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
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Sigh.

I really wanted to be intellectual enough for this book. I loved walking around with it, carrying it into my pediatrician's office -- see, doctor? I may be a lowly layperson, but I too can read doctor books! (He didn't notice.) And for the first 100 pages, I was excited. Yes! I can like this! It's interesting and engaging, and I'm learning a lot!

But at 150 pages, my attention started to flag, and so did my enjoyment. Thank God, I'm just not that curious about cancer. Not enough to slog through 500 pages about it. All that detail, much of which felt repetitive after a while -- yet another misunderstood scientist with some personality quirks, lots of failures and then discovery, recognized or maybe not recognized until after his death, names of chemicals, cellular action, whatever whatever. Basically, I had a stack of more appealing (and way shorter) books on my nightstand calling out to me, and my ego finally lost the war because life is too short.

I'm giving it three stars because I recognize its greatness, and it probably deserves more than three. I'm just not the right audience.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Lisa Vegan Oh dear. couldn't finish. This is one I own, not yet read. But, 3 stars and not 2 or 1??


message 2: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K I couldn't give it less than three -- it really is an impressive book from a research and writing perspective. I even felt guilty not rating it higher. It was just way too detailed for me, and I might have pushed myself through another 50 or even 100 pages, but I couldn't bear the thought of another 300.


Lisa Vegan I expect I'll love it when I'm in the right mood for it. I have a lifelong interest in cancer. I think I was 12 or 13 when I started reading books about cancer patients and some professional oncology books.

Good review, Khaya. Hope you're already enjoying a shorter and more engrossing book.


message 4: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K Thanks, Lisa. Happily, I'm really enjoying the book I'm reading now, An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug, Cocaine. And it's less than half the size! ;)

If you have a longstanding interest in cancer, you may really appreciate this book. Just allow a lot of reading time.


Mummy I only managed a 100 before it seemed more like a chore than a fascinating read. It remains on my shelf as the 'next book' to read, but every time I finish a book, another one that sounds really good presents itself. I'm glad I'm not the only one...


Lisa Vegan Petra X wrote: "I only managed a 100 before it seemed more like a chore than a fascinating read. It remains on my shelf as the 'next book' to read, but every time I finish a book, another one that sounds really g..."

Now, I'm more eager to start it, and also more afraid it will end up feeling like drudgery.


message 7: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K Petra, your feelings reflect mine exactly. But you might like it better, Lisa, if you come to the table with a preexisting interest in the topic. I don't, so I was hoping the book would engage me. It did at first, but then it lost me. I might need to have a vested interest in order to get through all those pages of detail.


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