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Monthly "READS" > April 2010 Reads

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JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Please post the books your read in April. It's always nice to read a little about them....


message 2: by RNOCEAN (new)

RNOCEAN | 93 comments I have all of mine on my list of books read, but I did just finish "Oprah: A Biography" by Kitty Kelley and read it in 2 days. I loved it as I do most of Kitty's books. I had my own take on Miz Oprah and the book only endorsed what I already believed and then some.


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Here is a link to RNOCEAN's list - I do not think GR makes it easy to find this

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...


message 4: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited May 01, 2010 05:35PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
I read seven books in April, all but one of them rated as 4 or 5 star, although they vary greatly in quality. I enjoyed each of those for different reasons. The most well-written was definitely Ron Rash's Burning Bright: Stories

It was a good reading month for me. Here are the books and "reviews"

http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...

By the way, I realized today that I have NOT read all of Mike Lawson's books. So now I have one to look forward to reading soon.


BTW, in April I reluctantly abandoned :
Seeing Stars: A Novel - I have loved her other books and it made me sad to give up on this one

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee - boring story, poor writing


message 5: by Connie (new)

Connie (Constants) | 49 comments April Reads

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction - David Sheff. In this memoir, Sheff goes through all the emotions associated with loving an addict, and the story is painful to read at times, but it's also so compelling that it was difficult to put down. There were times when Sheff wished he could just cleanse his mind of any thoughts of his son - like in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" - because the pain was just too intense. Then when he suffered a brain injury and couldn't even remember his son's phone number, he realized that he never wanted to lose one single memory of his "beautiful boy," even though it hurt so much. I had a teenage customer tell me she thought this book was boring. I told her to read it again when she's my age and maybe has children of her own, and see if she feels the same. A-

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot. I didn't love this book the way so many others have, but I did find it extremely interesting. When Henrietta Lacks was treated for cancer in the early 1950's, it was discovered that her tumor cells had the extraordinary power to replicate themselves in the laboratory, enabling them to be used for much of the medical research that has followed in the decades since. Skloot tells the story of the HeLa cells, the research, and also of the Lacks family - their past, and how they dealt with what they learned about their mother. B

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly - Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain is an interesting guy, and his stories about the things he's done and the people he's met in various capacities in many different restaurants were interesting too. But perhaps like some rich food he might prepare, a little bit of him goes a long way. He's funny and outrageous and bawdy and irreverent and smart, but about 3/4 of my way through the book, I wanted to push myself away from the table. B

The Pale Blue Eye - Louis Bayard. A literary thriller set at West Point in 1830, Two cadets are found dead, with their hearts removed from their bodies, and a retired New York city detective who lives in the area is brought in to investigate. At that time, Edgar Allen Poe really was a cadet at West Point and he gets involved with the detective working on the case. This was my only fiction read this month, and although it's not a genre I usually read, I enjoyed it. A-

Stitches - David Small. Another genre I don't usually read - the graphic novel. This is Small's memoir of growing up in an extremely dysfunctional family and how he perceived his relatives and the world around him, told from his point of view as a child. His family didn't talk, didn't share. And when a growth developed on young David's neck, they waited three years to take him to the doctor, by which time he had to be operated on for cancer, requiring a long scar and many stitches down his neck. It only takes about an hour to read Stitches, but its effect is profound. A

Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour - David Bianculli. Well-researched story of what went on in front of the camera and behind the scenes of the popular TV series that ran from 1967-1969. The times were changing, and the brothers, especially Tom, wanted their show to change too. CBS didn't. I have lots of memories from the old Comedy Hour, and there are a lot of clips of the show on YouTube which I do recommend, along with the book. B+


JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Connie wrote: "April Reads

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction - David Sheff. In this memoir, Sheff goes through all the emotions associated with loving an addict, .."


I brought this home from the library this week. I read Sheff's long story years ago in the NYT magazine, after which he got a book contract.

Was Henrietta Lacks treated at Hopkins? I think I saw a news story not long ago on a Baltimore station.....her family is very upset with what happened and would like some monetary compensation.


message 7: by Schmerguls (new)

Schmerguls | 257 comments What I Read in April 2010

234 The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith, by Bruce Marshall (read 2 Feb 1946) (Book of the Year) (re-read 8 Apr 2010) I greatly appreciated this novel of a good Catholic priest in Scotland when I first read it in 1946. I very seldom re-read a book, since there are so many books I have not yet read once, but decided to re-read this one. Father Smith is an inspirational priest and an edifying one, as are his compatriots. The book deserves the high position I gave it in 1946--I was a senior in high school--deeming it the best book I read that year, even though it seemed a bit too saccharine today. And I was pleased to note that I sort of remembered my reading from that time well over 60 years ago!

4690 Advise & Dissent Memoirs of South Dakota and the U.S. Senate, by James G. Abourezk (read 1 Apr 2010) This book came out in 1989, and tells of the author's life from his birth on 24 Feb 1931 in Wood, South Dakota. His account of his life is well-told and often very funny. He went to high school in Wood and my sister-in-law was one of the 20 or so people in the high school at the time. He ran for Congress in 1970 as a Democrat and was elected--the first Democrat to be elected from the South Dakota west river district since New Deal days. He ran for ths Senate and was elected and his account of his term in the Senate is full of interest. He was a real maverick, but actully quite effective. His parents were born in Lebanon and he was the only Arab-American in Congress, and has a lot to say about his dispute with the Israeli lobby. He did not seek re-elction to the Senate and today practices law in Sioux Falls. I found this book good reading indeed.

4691 Waiting for Godot tragicomedy in 2 acts, by Samuel Beckett Translated from the original French by the author (read 1 Apr 2010) I read this book on April Fools Day, and that was an appropriate day to read it. The play was first performed 5 Jan 1953 and ran for over 200 performances in Paris. It is truly absurd; it has five characters, and Godot is not one of them, since while he is waited for he never shows up. The play is short so the absurdity can be tolerated. It has been called "the most significant English language play of the 20th century" but merely reading it--instead of studying it--will not tell you why this is true, or at least did not tell me..

4692 Up the Down Staircase, by Bel Kaufman (read 4 Apr 2010) This is a 1964 "novel" by a German-born woman who came to the US at age 12 and now is 99. The book is put together unusually, being made up of letters and notes involving one Sylvia Barrett, who is an English teacher at a New York City high school. It is funny at times and I presume is based on the author's experiences as such a teacher. It is thrown together making kind of a disjointed book, and covers from September to Christmas in the school year. I found it funny and worth reading.

4693 Citizen-in-Chief The Second Lives of the American Presidents, by Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss (read 7 Apr 2010) This tells of the lives of ex-Presidents of the US. It is fairly interesting, telling of their finances, libraries, political activities, and philanthropic activity. In the early days they were poor--Jefferson died in debt and Monroe spent most of the time after he was president trying to get Congress to pay for expenses he had when he had been sent to France, long before he became President. Truman was so bereft that a pension was voted for ex-presidents and their widows. But in recent years ex-presidents have made much money. This is a good workmanlike book, but not overly exciting.

4694 Unfinished Desires a Novel, by Gail Godwin (read 11 Apr 2010) Last month I read a novel by this author and said I would not read another by her. But I read in America a review of this latest novel of hers, and decided I would read it. It is an absorbing novel of a Catholic girls high school in North Carolina run by a (fictional) order of sisters. It centers around "Mother Ravenal" who is the principal of the school and who was in the high school and joined the order when she graduated, and the events at the school in 1950 and 1951. It is an intricate story, and one has to work to keep the characters straight, but it holds one's interest very well--and one is appalled by the behavior of Cornelia, who induces her daughter Trilby to do a scene in a school play which ridicules Mother Ravenal. When one is done reading the book one wonders if it was worthwhile--but I found it riveting reading.

4695 Three Came Home, by Agnes Newton Keith (read 13 Apr 2010) This 1947 book tells of the author's internment during World War Ii by the Japanese in Borneo. Some of the account of the long and hardship-ridden imprisonment--her husband was in a nearby camp--is not overly fun to read but the account of the liberation is very well-done and extremely poignant--the long imprisonment account makes the liberation, which did not occur till Sep 11, 1945--very moving.

4696 In Search of Another Country Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution, by Joseph Crespino (read 15 Apr 2010) This is a 2007 study by a Emory University professor of Mississippi's reaction to Brown v. Board of Education, examining closely the phases thereof: massive resistance gradually turning into strategic accommodation to today's at least lip-service acceptance. Much of the book was not enjoyable reading since it concentrates mostly on what the resisters to integration did and effectually comes to an end at the dawn of the 1980's. There is a very able concluding chapter which details the sort of things which give one hope--how all the segregationists now profess to say that their attitudes in the old bad days were wrong. But the book shows how the conservatives managed to turn Mississippi into a Republican stronghold despite the fact that blacks now vote in large numbers. This is a thoughtful but not overly exciting book which at least in the earlier chapters I did not find too riveting.

4697 Point of No Return, by John P. Marquand (read 18 Apr 2010) I read a couple of Marquand novels in 1957--I remember reading one while waiting in the hospital for Sandy to be born. The Wall Street Journal recently said this Marquand novel was one of the five best books on finance in a time of trouble. It tells of Charley Grey, who grew up in Clyde, Mass (the fictional town may be modeled on Newburyport, Mass. where Marquand grew up) in a "lower-upper" family dominated by his father who acted like a big shot and when in 1928 he inherited money spent it foolishly and when the 1929 crash came killed himself. Charley meanwhile wooed the richest girl in Clyde to her father's intense disapproval. It makes for quite a story, though it is long (566 pages), but is neatly crafted, and funny at times, but Charley's striving for success is torture for him and his sensible wife (not the rich girl). Marquand is both satirical and respectful of the ways of the very rich, and on balance this book was absorbing reading.

4698 Black Mutiny The Revolt on the Schooner Amistad. by William A. Owens (read 20 Apr 2010) This 1953 book tells of the revolt on the slave ship by the blacks who were captured in Africa and brought to Cuba where they were sold and the buyers were taking them by ship when the they revolted and killed the captain. The U.S. Navy took over the ship and the mutineers were tried in Connecticut and eventually freed by the U.S. Supreme Court: 40 U.S. (Pet.) 518 (1841). The book is not documented but seems accurate. Much of it is good reading though the author did not do a good job explaining the rather abstruse legal proceedings The book does tell what the leader of the revolt did when he got back to Africa: apparently he became involved in the slave trade!

4699 History of South Dakota Fourth Edition, Revised, by Herbert S. Schell Revised and with a Preface and New Chapters by John. E. Miller (read 23 Apr 2010) This book starts 4 billion years ago and goes up to 2004. A lot of it is interesting, especially the years before statehood in 1889. In the 1910's and 1920's South Dakota had some pretty radical ideas--a state bank, state cement plant, etc, but after the 1930's the state was quite conservative, relieved only by a few good Democrats sch as George McGovern and Tom Daschle. It is good reading even though not real exciting.

4700 You Know These Lines! A Bibliography of the Most Quoted Verses in American Poetry, by Merle Johnson (read 24 Apr 2010) This is a unique book setting out famous lines from 100 poems: many of which poems I memorized years ago: "Annabel Lee"; "Antony and Cleopatra"; "The Tempest"; Barbara Frietchie"; The Chambered Nautilus"; "Concord Hymn"; "Curfew Must Not Ring tonight"; "I Have a Rendezvous with Death"; "Little Boy Blue"; O Captain! My Captain!"; "Old Ironsides"; "a Psalm of Life"; "The Raven"; "Rock Me to Sleep"; Sheridan's Ride"; "Somebody's Mother"; "To A Waterfowl"; "Trees"; and "The village Blacksmith" 19 of the 100. This is a good book to have.

4701 Bel Ria Dog of War, by Sheila Burnford (read 25 Apr 2010) Sheila Burnford wrote The Incredible Journey, my favorite animal story so when I saw this book I had to read it. It is about a little dog who did tricks and came into the possession of a British soldier as France was falling in 1940. He is a very exceptional dog and has much adventure--and has a memory for past times I have never seen in an animal. I found the concluding pages extremely poignant and moving and while this may not be a great book it grabbed me profoundly.

4702 The Shattered Dream Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression, by Gene Smith (read 27 Apr 2010) This is a 1970 book giving an account of the Depression during Hoover's time. I found it of high interest and timely--it seemed to me that the people who complained so of efforts to avoid a new depression in 2008 and 2009 would have done just as Hoover did in the early 1930's resulting in a fierce depression. We can be glad the tea party people were not in charge then and so a new depression was not invited to occur. This is not a profound book but was good reading and a good account of the times. Except tor the final chapters which seek to elicit sympathy for Hoover, I found this an excellent portrayal of the Hoover Depression including a detailed examination of the Bonus Army and how MacArthur and Hoover botched the handling of the poor veterans seeking payment of their bonus.


message 8: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 30, 2010 08:58PM) (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) My April Reads:


The Plague by Albert Camus
Rate 3/5
Fiction
This is a re-read for me. Very satisfying and provides much food for thought. I read the novel with Book Nook Cafe.

My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber
Rate 3/5
Non Fiction told with a wink.
Short story collection. A bit corny and old fashion, but enjoyable none the less.

Sterling Biographies: Marie Curie: Mother of Modern Physics by Janice Borzendowski
Rate: 4/5
Non fiction
YA book that was very good. Curie's life is fascinating and inspirational.

The Stranger by Albert Camus
Rated 4/5
Fiction
A re-read for me. One of the best classic opening lines of a novel, "Mother died today, Or, maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure." The novel was a good discussion book.

My Footprint: Saving the Planet One Pound at a Time by Jeff Garlin
Rated 3/5
Non fiction
Memoir with a focus on health and environment. I never heard of the author, he's a comic. I saw him on TV being interviewed by Joy Behar and decided to read his book.

Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley
Rated: 3/5
Fiction
Play read with GR Book Nook Cafe board. Interesting play and movie. The movie starred Meryl Streep.

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin by Kathy Griffin
Rated: 4/5
Non fiction
I've only seen Griffin being interviewed on TV. I've never seen her show Life on the D list , Suddenly Susan or her HBO specials. Yet I really enjoyed this funny and poignant memoir. I was very impressed that Griffin wrote the book herself. Language is a bit raw for those that are offended by that sort of thing.

Undiscovered Country: A Novel by Lin Enger
Rated 2/5
Fiction
Read for a Group Read with GR Book Nook Cafe. Boy is out hunting with father. The father is fatally wounded. Did the father kill himself or was he murdered?


message 9: by Connie (new)

Connie (Constants) | 49 comments Was Henrietta Lacks treated at Hopkins? I think I saw a news story not long ago on a Baltimore station.....her family is very upset with what happened and would like some monetary compensation

Yes, she was treated at Johns Hopkins. And although it's not the fault of the author or the book, I found myself getting so annoyed with the Lacks family that I honestly think it detracted from my appreciation of the book. I suppose that really was part of the story, so I should have been more patient with them, as Rebecca Skloot was, but I would have had a hard time dealing with them as well as she did.


message 10: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Connie, when I saw the Lacks family on TV, I decided that I did not want to read the book. They were pretty off-putting.....I do not like it when people feel entitled.

Informed consent was not even an issue in the early 50s when her cells were removed. I would venture to guess that the hospital was treating her for free, so as far as I am concerned, keeping her cells was a fair exchange.


message 11: by Alison (new)

Alison (AlisonCohen) | 32 comments Would it have made a difference if she had health insurance or paid out of pocket for her medical care? I suppose I might feel aggrieved if I discovered that my biopsy tissue had been co-opted (highjacked?) and commercialized by a slew of for-profit corporations who were making billions from them, especially if my family and heirs couldn't afford even the most basic of healthcare. One of Skloot's many points is that the same thing could happen to any one of us even now -- informed consent goes to the issue of whether they can take the sample or not. Once it's in their hands, you no longer have the right to consent or object to the uses to which it is put or to share in the financial rewards that may ensue. Would it seem different if you discovered that a hospital or nursing home was harvesting body parts from your deceased relative and then selling them to people who needed a new lung, a kidney, a skin graft without your knowledge or consent? I believe Robin Cook wrote quite ah medical thriller based on that premise.


message 12: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 211 comments x-posted at M/T Reading Friends

During the later part of the month I was finally able to start reading books on the page again. Had a really high quality month.

Top Reads

The Big Short Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
Michael Lewis
I found this book fascinating. Lewis did a great job of explaining the whole sub-prime meltdown by focusing on a few quirky investors who bet against the rest of the market. I listened to the audio version which was ably read by Jesse Boggs

Exile by Denise Mina
Exile
Denise Mina
The second book in the Maureen O'Donnell trilogy lives up to promise shown in the first Garnethill: A Novel of Crime. Gritty, dark, with realistic characters who are just barely hanging on in urban Glasgow.

The Hours Before Dawn (Paperback) by Celia Fremlin
The Hours Before Dawn
Celia Fremlin
This won the Edgar Award for best novel back in 1960 and features a mother trying to cope with a newborn who will not stop crying, two older girls, a typical English husband of the 1950s who shows his concern about the household by showing up unannounced for lunch and expecting a hot meal with meat, and new boarder in the attic.

Bad Traffic A Novel by Simon Lewis
Bad Traffic: A Novel
Simon Lewis
This will probably be on my year end top ten list. Very entertaining tale of a Chinese police inspector who travels to England after a distress call from his daughter who is studying there. Lots of action and violence. A real page turner.

Good Reads

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer
I did not enjoy this quite as much as I expected. A good listen but was not overwhelmed. I think part of the problem was that, while I usually love audios with multiple narrators, this was a bit overdone and overacted. Quite a few of the island characters came off as simpletons. I also found the whole tone of the book a bit too twee for my tastes. The audio was read by Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, and Juliet Mills

Mixed Blood A Thriller by Roger Smith
Mixed Blood: A Thriller
Roger Smith
Debut thriller set in South Africa. Parts of this were very well done. I found the descriptions of the poverty and hopelessness of characters who lived in the poorer Cape Flats area of Cape Town completely convincing. On the other hand, the bad guy was too over the top for me and the main character was a bland American who I could not care less about. I did like the ending though and will check out his second book Wake Up Dead: A Thriller.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan
The Lightning Thief
Rick Riordan
Good action and characters but perhaps a little too Young Adult for me. Now a major motion picture. Listened to the audio read by Jesse Bernstein.

Greenway by Jane Adams
The Greenway
Jane Adams
A young woman whose cousin disappeared twenty years ago comes back to the small English town to confront her demons. Nicely done tale of suspense with a touch of the supernatural.

Rituals of the Season (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #11) by Margaret Maron
Rituals of the Season
Margaret Maron
One of my favorite series. It is always nice to catch up with Judge Deborah Knott and her family and the mystery in this book was pretty good too. Audio narrated by C. J. Critt

Finders Keepers The Story of a Man who found $1 Million that fell off a Truck by Mark Bowden
Finders Keepers: The Story of a Man who found $1 Million that fell off a Truck
Mark Bowden
Another good read that can be taken as a cautionary tale about drug abuse and how meth can addle your judgement. The author did a reasonable job with the narration on the audio version. Bowden is becoming one of my must read authors no matter what the subject.

OK Read

The Skills to Pay the Bills The Story of the Beastie Boys by Alan Light
The Skills to Pay the Bills: The Story of the Beastie Boys
Alan Light
Not a complete waste of time since I can now differentiate one Beastie from another but pretty lightweight.


message 13: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 54 comments JoAnn/QuAppelle wrote: "I read six books in April, all of them 4 or 5 star, although they vary greatly in quality. I enjoyed each one for different reasons. The most well-written was definitely Ron Rash's [book:Burning Br..."

Joanne,

I read the Hot Flash Club last year. I enjoyed the book and it was a quick read. However I did find the plot a little unbelievable, did't you

Meredith


message 14: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Meredith wrote: "I read the Hot Flash Club last year. I enjoyed the book and it was a quick read. However I did find the plot a little unbelievable, didn't you ."

Oh, yes, it was quite a stretch, for sure.....but I am still going to read the sequels LOL

There was a bad error right near the beginning of the book....Alice pulled into the parking lot of the "recently converted mill building" and five lines later it says that she has lived in her condo there for 21 years! GRRRR

Have you read the Ladybug Farm books, about other ladies of "a certain age"? I thought the plot was a little more realistic.


message 15: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Alison wrote: "Would it have made a difference if she had health insurance or paid out of pocket for her medical care? I suppose I might feel aggrieved if I discovered that my biopsy tissue had been co-opted."

I don't really care what happens to my tissue. So what could Henrietta have done way back then, said "I want $25 for you to keep my tissue?" Her heirs STILL would not have health coverage, would they? And it's always the big bad corporations at fault. Where would we BE without them? Still using horses and buggies and leeches!

I have not read the book and was not referring to any of the author's points, I only saw the family on TV and coverage of the issue via Baltimore TV stations and newspapers.


message 16: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Sandi wrote: "x-posted at M/T Reading Friends

During the later part of the month I was finally able to start reading books on the page again. Had a really high quality month..."


Were you having an eye problem, Sandi?

I do not like audios with multiple narrators...they are always trying to out-act each other, IMO. I just want someone to read me the darn book!

I just listened to a book with one narrator using different accents. Every once in a while he would get them mixed up and an English person would speak a couple of words with a Polish accent. So annoying!


message 17: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 54 comments My April reads were

Murder Uncorked Michelle Scott
Hanging By a Thread Monica Ferris
Murder is Binding Lorna Barrett
Dyer Consequences Maggie Sefton



All of these would be classified as cozies. I liked all of them. They were perfect for the level of concentration, i could devote to reading in April. I am looking forward to reading more literary works in May.

Meredith


message 18: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandin954) | 211 comments >>Were you having an eye problem, Sandi?<<

Oh no, just busy at work (I am an accountant). I always get a bit worn down by the end of March and can't concentrate on reading.

>>I do not like audios with multiple narrators...they are always trying to out-act each other, IMO. I just want someone to read me the darn book!<<

I've had much better luck with multiple narrators. One of my all time favorite books English Passengers: A Novel was read by by a stellar cast who all did a great job (Ron Keith, Simon Prebble, Gerard Doyle, Gianfranco Negroponte, Patrick Tull, Jenny Sterlin, & Davina Porter). I've also really liked The Thirteenth Tale : A Novel (Bianca Amato & Jill Tanner) and Water for Elephants(David Ledoux & John Randolph Jones) and thought the dual narration greatly added to my enjoyment.


message 19: by Kriverbend (new)

Kriverbend | 78 comments "The play is short so the absurdity can be tolerated. It has been called "the most significant English language play of the 20th century" but merely reading it--instead of studying it--will not tell you why this is true, or at least did not tell me.."

Schmerguls, I also never understood the importance of this play....in fact, I didn't understand the play. However, some years ago on public TV there was a presentation of the play that made a huge difference. It all made sense and I was so mesmerized that when it was repeated the next night, I watched it again, and would again if it were shown. You're right, just reading it didn't make an impression, and perhaps studying it might have helped. But I think this is one of those plays that has to be experienced to really and fully "get it."


message 20: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Sandi wrote: "Water for Elephants(David Ledoux & John Randolph Jones) and thought the dual narration greatly added to my enjoyment. ."

I just saw that Gruen has a new book coming out in early September, Ape House. It sounds interesting.

http://www.amazon.com/Ape-House-Novel...


message 21: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 81 comments Re Ape House--I couldn't read Water For Elephants, but I might actually like this one. I'm interested in communication between apes and humans.


message 22: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments April was a good reading month for me, it appears.

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell I found this book informative and thought provoking. My own spending has been reevaluated as a consequence of reading the book.

The Plague and The Stranger by Albert Camus (But not one after the other) Interesting speculations of an ism to which i cannot subscribe but find intriguing. The first lingers in my mind, given the way it ended, asking us to consider how we incorporate tragedies into our lives.

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger These short stories were a mixed lot, typical of such collections, i suppose. While the ones with the Glass family, a fictional family for whom Salinger created a history & many pieces, filled in details i found ones not featuring them more to my liking.

The Disappearance by Philip Wylie Speculative fiction about a sudden separation of the sexes with all women in one world while all men are in a parallel world. Published in the early 50s some of the ideas are dated but the idea continues to fascinate. Thanks to JoAnn for mentioning she'd read this one in college.

Point Omega: A Novel by Don DeLillo Short, terse novel about a filmmaker who is trying to woo a professor into starring in a documentary about his involvement in the war in Iraq. Strong evocation of life in the desert.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg YA book about siblings who run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. In the process they "discover" a mystery & try to solve it.

Push by Sapphire I really liked this book, difficult though the topic was. I felt Sapphire allowed the written work of her character to progress in a likely way. Strong work, leaving me eager to see the film.

Lowboy by John Wray This author wrote about the subway system i've come to know. Moving beyond the mental issues of a young man, the novel was fast paced, leaving me wanting to know more about the detective & the guy's mom.

Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley Thought provoking play. I've seen the film but hope to catch a rendition on stage someday.

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin Because i'd read about the Edwards section soon after the book was published, i wasn't really surprised by much else. My appreciation for Hillary Clinton and President Obama increased. But my heart went out to McCain. It was interesting to "witness" the ups & downs of the personalities as their campaigns progressed.

Laughing Boy: A Navajo Love Story by Oliver La Farge Pulitzer winner for fiction in 1930, this story is about the love between a young man who was raised within his tribe & a young woman who was raised in away-schools after the age of 5. Nice story but dated. Today it would be yawned away, if not spurned for the author's several insertions contrasting "our" ways with the Navajos. Thanks to Shomeret for mentioning this novel, which led me back to Pulitzer Fiction winners.

The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker I liked this story about two sisters, one of whom believes she can help people with their lives by learning what songs they are drawn toward & what the lyrics mean to them. Partly coming-of-age, part love story, it was a good reading experience.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann Interesting true story of explorer Percy Fawcett, who set off on many expeditions in the Amazon area. This book is a bit of his biography, as well as subsequent actions by those who followed him, including the author. In the process i learned more about recent archaeological and anthropological findings about the area and pre-Columbian Americas.

Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley My pleasure in novels with footnotes was increased with this work by Buckley, whose earlier books i've enjoyed as well.

Ways of Seeing by John Berger Written in the '70s, this small book contains 7 essays (three are photos & art work only) about viewing art. I found myself arguing, agreeing and enjoying the process as i read the book. While i felt the one about women in art was dated, there were nuggets in it which intrigued me.

Undiscovered Country: A Novel by Lin Enger I could barely put down once i began it. While i wouldn't say it was great, it obviously kept my interest!

deborah


message 23: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments Schmerguls wrote: "What I Read in April 2010

4697 Point of No Return, by John P. Marquand (read 18 Apr 2010) I read a couple of Marquand novels in 1957--I remember reading one while waiting in the hospital for Sandy to be born. The Wall Street Journal recently said this Marquand novel was one of the five best books on finance in a time of trouble..."


I've been trying to locate Marquand's Pulitzer winning
The Late George Apley While it's in the catalog for the local library, they seem unable to find it. Anyone here read it?

deb


message 24: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments Connie wrote: "Yes, she was treated at Johns Hopkins. And although it's not the fault of the author or the book, I found myself getting so annoyed with the Lacks family that I honestly think it detracted from my appreciation of the book. I suppose that really was part of the story, so I should have been more patient with them, as Rebecca Skloot was, but I would have had a hard time dealing with them as well as she did...."

I'm sorry to read this about the book & the Lacks family. The book is on my TBR. The reviewer in my local paper wrote that the biggest problem for him was that researchers returned to the family for more research samples. Connie, do you recall if this was addressed in the book? Taking HL's cells was one thing but returning to her survivors somehow seems wrong-headed.

I'm glad you read & wrote about the book. It reminds me that i wanted to read it (lost my physical TBR list). Thanks.

deborah


message 25: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) A Thousand Splendid Suns
So Much for That This was a first reads win that is about a man who saved enough money to move to a small, inexpensive country in order to escape the rat race but then finds out his wife has a bad form of cancer.
Shutter Island
Live to Tell: A Detective D. D. Warren Novel Also a first reads win, this is a murder mystery thriller.


message 26: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (last edited May 02, 2010 01:37PM) (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "
So Much for That This was a first reads win that is about a man who saved enough money to move to a small, inexpensive country in order to escape the rat race..."


How did you like this book, Julie? I have seen it mentioned a couple of places.....and even had it in my hand the other day at the library, but put it back. I appreciated Shriver's book, We Need to Talk about Kevin....


message 27: by Alison (new)

Alison (AlisonCohen) | 32 comments madrano wrote: "Connie wrote: "Yes, she was treated at Johns Hopkins. And although it's not the fault of the author or the book, I found myself getting so annoyed with the Lacks family that I honestly think it det..."

They did indeed. In 1973, scientists at Yale University's precursor to the Human Genome Project wanted to figure out the genetic markers specific to Henrietta (Her cells were contaminating other research -- they needed to figure out which cells were hers.) To do that, they needed DNA samples from her husband and children. One of the doctors knew that they were still patients at Johns Hopkins and he had access to the medical records there. He gave the task to a researcher whose command of English wasn't great and when she contacted the husband -- who, mind you, only had a third grade education -- she spoke to him in very technical terms about HLA androgens and genetic marker profiles. What he understood of her call was that scientists had his wife, she was still alive, they had been doing experiments on her and now they wanted to come test his children to see if they had the same kind of cancer that killed her.


message 28: by Schmerguls (new)

Schmerguls | 257 comments Deb, that is the book (The Late George Apley) I was reading while in the hospital waiting for my daughter to be born. This was back in the days when fathers were not dragooned to be in the delivery room. I had no disire to be there and my wife would have forbidden me to be there.


message 29: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments Schmerguls wrote: "Deb, that is the book (The Late George Apley) I was reading while in the hospital waiting for my daughter to be born. This was back in the days when fathers were not dragooned to be in the deliver..."

I like when i can connect a book i've read to specific events. A birth, though--how neat!

deborah


message 30: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments Alison wrote: "she spoke to him in very technical terms about HLA androgens and genetic marker profiles. What he understood of her call was that scientists had his wife, she was still alive, they had been doing experiments on her and now they wanted to come test his children to see if they had the same kind of cancer that killed her...."

Oh my gosh! I cannot imagine the confusion and, i suppose, a sort of terror which must have gone through their minds before things were clearly explained. It illustrates how some of are able to see things clearly, thanks to our education & reading, while others, particularly those with no interest in the topic, could well be lost & confused with the terminology. Thanks for filling me in, Alison.

deborah


message 31: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) JoAnn,
So Much for That was alright. There were some things I liked about it and some things that could have been better. I think I gave it three stars. I did a review on it....not sure how to put the link here for it, but you can find it in my books. I have not read the other book you mentioned, so I can't compare the two.


message 32: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "JoAnn,
So Much for That was alright. There were some things I liked about it and some things that could have been better. I think I gave it three stars. I did a review on it......."


I found your review Julie and thanks......I think I will pass on this book....


message 33: by Alison (last edited May 02, 2010 07:36PM) (new)

Alison (AlisonCohen) | 32 comments madrano wrote: "...before things were clearly explained."

Nothing was clearly explained at that time and you need to keep in mind that Henrietta and her husband were raised in the deep South and the little education they had did not equip them to understand the kind of research that was being done. All they really comprehended was that doctors/scientists were using Henrietta's "body" as a cure (the good part) to make a fortune for themselves. The book really gives you an incredible lesson in cellular biology, bio-research, bio-ethics, law and American racial and medical history. The 'ends justify the means' attitudes behind the Tuskegee syphilis study and the injection of cancer cells into unwitting hospital patients isn't something of which medical research can be proud. Skloot also illuminates the ongoing larger medical ethics issues with which we need to grapple. It's a mistake to reduce the decision of whether to read this book or not to a simple question of whether you think the Lacks family is uppity or deserving of a piece of the multi-billion dollar pie created by the use and abuse (or at least misdiagnosis and excruciating medical treatment) of Henrietta.


message 34: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
I do believe that Henrietta was diagnosed correctly and quickly. Not misdiagnosed with "excruciating medical treatment".

At the time of Henrietta's death, the Lacks family had no idea of what had happened, so I doubt if they thought that anyone took the cells "to make a fortune for themselves". They did not even know that her cells had been taken for research until 25 years after her death

Unfortunately this is how the biomedical researchers thought about and did research in the 1950s. It was not at all uncommon for physicians to conduct research on patients without their knowledge or consent. No, this was not right, but it was regrettably common.

I was a "Polio Pioneer" in the 1950s, a human guinea pig.....should I be compensated now, since my participation allowed people to make fortunes? Am I entitled to share the wealth?


message 35: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments Alison wrote: "madrano wrote: "...before things were clearly explained."

Nothing was clearly explained at that time and you need to keep in mind that Henrietta and her husband were raised in the deep South and t..."


Alison, as i noted i have not yet read the book. My comment was about researchers who wanted more blood & samples from the family. Were things not even explained then? I understand the initial confusion but am unclear if you are stating that even later, after the initial, confusing contact, they did not understand? If not, i'm dismayed samples were taken from her heirs.

deborah


message 36: by madrano (new)

madrano | 444 comments madrano wrote: "April was a good reading month for me, it appears.

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell I found this book informative and thought provoking..."


Hey, i just happened to look again at my post from yesterday. I see that my links are gone with only the html remaining. Any idea what happened? Yesterday all was fine.

deborah


message 37: by Alison (new)

Alison (AlisonCohen) | 32 comments First, Lacks was not diagnosed quickly -- she had the same complaints and symptoms through three pregnancies and follow up visits -- nor was her cancer diagnosed correctly. And I didn't say that she was diagnosed through excruciating medical treatment, but had been subjected to that treatment after diagnosis. The description of what radiation did to her body and of her last days is horrifying. You can read all about it -- it's all in the book. And once again, I have not said that the family is entitled to "share in the wealth," merely that it is understandable how they might feel aggrieved about the way she and they were treated (did you know the browbeat her husband into agreeing to an autopsy whose purpose was to harvest more tissue samples for further research? And that the hospital released her medical records to a newspaper reporter?) They are not the only ones who have felt wronged that medical researchers can patent a person's cells and reap tremendous financial benefit from it. Judges have struggled with the issues involved and have not been of one accord in the decision-making. The book is not a polemic, but an unfolding of advances in medical knowledge and the difficulty of bio-ethics to keep pace told though the lens of one family's personal experience of it. I found it fascinating and recommend the book.


message 38: by madrano (last edited May 03, 2010 09:12AM) (new)

madrano | 444 comments Again, thank you, Alison for further information. You've explained fuller some of the questions we had. I appreciate your contributions to helping the board out.

My impression of the book from the review i read was more about the advances of medicine & the arising ethics. I'm glad to know it isn't only about the Lacks family but also research. I would be disturbed--worse, actually--if i learned that my "samples" were taken & ended up used (multi-generation or not) to make millions (even thousands!) for someone else. Naturally i'd like to think i would eventually chalk it up to the "greater good" of humans everywhere but i'm not always that wise a woman. ;-)

deborah


message 39: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
My mother had radiation and it WAS horrible. I do not think Lacks is the only person ever to have suffered that way.

Certainly John Moore in CA was much more deceived than Henrietta Lacks, yet the CA Supreme Court found in favor of the doctors and researchers who took his tissue, cells, etc.

I also found it interesting that when the state of Texas allowed parents to opt out of a blood-testing procedure for their infants, in which blood was collected and used for research (after being tested for birth defects), only 5% of the 200,000+ parents actually opted out.

Newsweek reported, in its book review: Shortly after Henrietta turned 30, she felt a knot in her lower stomach that she knew meant something was wrong. But with a husband and a house full of kids to take care of, Lacks could ill afford to worry for long; her family also had little money for a doctor's visit, and at the time, many hospitals offered African-American patients substandard treatment.

Months later, after the birth of her fifth child, the knot was still there, so Lacks finally asked her husband to drive her to Johns Hopkins hospital, the only medical facility nearby that saw "colored people" for free. There, the doctors diagnosed Lacks with stage I epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix, which would require her to have radiation treatments a few times a month.


I have read many articles about this woman before and since Connie mentioned this book last week, and had already seen several TV segments, including the one on CBS Sunday Morning. I have never seen/heard/read that she was misdiagnosed nor that her symptoms had occurred during three pregnancies. Hard to believe that this author was the only person privy to this information, and that none of the articles about HL mentioned this fact.

I have never heard of aggressive cervical cancer being untreated and the patient living that long. She must have been a medical miracle to have survived that kind of cancer for so many years.


message 40: by Alison (new)

Alison (AlisonCohen) | 32 comments "...the tumor was invasive, but not an epidermoid carcinoma as originally diagnosed. Rather...it was a 'very aggressive adenocarcinoma of the cervix' meaning it originated from glandular tissue in her cervix instead of epithelial tissue."

As for John Moore, his original lawsuit was dismissed. He appealed and won, the doctor appealed and the court ruled against Moore. Moore appealed again, but ultimately lost in the California Supreme Court who stated in its decision that a ruling in Moore's favor might "destroy the economic incentive to conduct important medical research"...as it would "hinder ...access to the necessary raw materials." Ted Slavin fared much better and was able to sell his serum to researchers for as much as $10 million a milliliter and ultimately started his own biomedical company. Moore couldn't do the same thing because his doctor held a patent on Moore's cells.


message 41: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Alison wrote: ""...the tumor was invasive, but not an epidermoid carcinoma as originally diagnosed. Rather...it was a 'very aggressive adenocarcinoma of the cervix' meaning it originated from glandular tissue in ..."

Guess those doctors should have had a crystal ball to see into the future. I often wished the same thing when my mother's cancer was found to respond to certain drugs...10 years after her death. Twenty years later, reexamination of the histopathology slides from Ms Lacks’ surgical biopsy and autopsy led to a revision of the initial diagnosis, with the finding that the patient had a very aggressive adenocarcinoma of the cervix

But where does it say that she had had it from two pregnancies prior to her last one? And that she had had symptoms long before she was diagnosed? I have not read that in any document nor seen it on any news-type segment.........


message 42: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Alison wrote: ""...the tumor was invasive, but not an epidermoid carcinoma as originally diagnosed. Rather...it was a 'very aggressive adenocarcinoma of the cervix' meaning it originated from glandular tissue in ..."

On page 172 of the book, it says that this misdiagnosis was not uncommon (according to researchers at Columbia Univ.) and the correct diagnosis would not have changed the way the cancer was treated. "By 1951, at least 12 studies had found that cervical adenocarcinomas and epidermoid carcinoma responded the same to radiation, which was the treatment of choice for both types."

As horrible as her treatment might sound to us today, it was standard for its time.

"This new diagnosis could help explain why it spread through her body so much faster than doctors expected." Henrietta's syphilis ...."could have been a factor as well - syphilis can suppress the immune system and allow cancer to spread faster than normal."


message 43: by Alison (new)

Alison (AlisonCohen) | 32 comments JoAnn - your visceral dislike of the Lacks family seems to doom you to misunderstand the point I was trying to make. I never suggested that no one else ever suffered from cancer treatment. I never said the Lacks family was entitled to a share in the vast sums of money made off the HeLa cell line. My point was only that the family's feelings were and are understandable. They lost a wife and mother who suffered terribly before her death, they saw her medical records released to a reporter for the world to read and they saw other people grow fabulously wealthy off her cells while they can't afford medical care. People have felt aggrieved over far less.


message 44: by JoAnn/QuAppelle (new)

JoAnn/QuAppelle | 1608 comments Mod
Alison wrote: "JoAnn - your visceral dislike of the Lacks family seems to doom you to misunderstand the point I was trying to make. ."

WRONG, Alison. And overly dramatic too! Poor doomed me. LOL

I think it would have been be nice if your point(s) had been made in a less biased way. And I asked you more than once to clarify/back up your statement that she had had this tumor for years (through three pregnancies) before being diagnosed. From everything I have read, that was not the case. This is the kind of bias you inserted into your "points", along with other implications and partial information. As an example, when you said she was misdiagnosed, you conveniently neglected to say that it made no difference in the treatment or the outcome.

Isn't Henrietta's story bad enough as it is?


message 45: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) I guess we will have to agree to disagree on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. :)

Alison, I was interested to see what other books you like. Since the Lacks book is non fiction and I am a big non fiction reader.

Unfortunately, you have your book list set to private. :( Do you think you could make it public? I find reading the GR book lists of posters is one of the best features of GR. If you find someone who has similar tastes in reading, it's a great way to find books that you may like that may be off your radar. Thanks !


message 46: by Alison (new)

Alison (AlisonCohen) | 32 comments Paint me basically clueless as I had no idea that my book list was private. I'll see if I can't figure out how to "open" it up. My reading tastes are pretty eclectic -- I've just downloaded Making Haste from Babylon by Nick Bunker, a history of the Pilgrims (I'm descended from Francis Cooke) and Parrot & Olivier in America a novel which is loosely based on deTocqueville.I find novels lead me to non-fiction and vice versa. I found The Children's Blizzard fascinating, as much for its history of the weather service as for the blizzard details. The first volume of Carl Sferazza Anthony's The First Ladies is a favorite. I loved it so much that I replaced the paperback edition with a hardcopy. King Leopold's Ghost is a heartbreaking look at the evil that lurks in men's souls -- and it sent me back to reread Heart of Darkness.


message 47: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 81 comments Alison, your profile is set to private. This means that only people who are your Goodreads friends can view your books.


message 48: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (AliasReader) I like your reading tastes. And I agree, one book often leads to another. That is why I have a TBR list a mile long !

I think this is how you set your book lists to public.
If I am wrong, maybe someone here can correct me.

Go to the top of the page where it says: Hi Alison.
you will get a drop down menu. Select Profile.
(Note you do not have to put your last name or any info that you don't want public. Just leave it blank or put something generic.)

Anyway, on the right hand side of the page it says:
Privacy: who can view your profile.
click the circle for Anyone.


message 49: by Alison (new)

Alison (AlisonCohen) | 32 comments Theoretically I fixed that -- but you'll need to let me know if it worked or not!


message 50: by Michael (new)

Michael (MichaelCanoeist) I found a book, through reviews mostly on GR, and probably Amazon too, for my teenager who is not a natural reader. (Although he likes Shakespeare; go figure. Maybe because he likes action?) So I found one that sounded like it had a vigorous story and was a kind of boy's-boy book: Boy's Life. My son complained about the first 50-60 pages, but then he took off. He liked it so much, I decided to read it. It's probably a YA title, but definitely written for grown-ups, too, who would appreciate many parts of it more than teens. Set in a small town in Alabama in the early '60s, and chock-full of the particulars of those days. Anyone who lived through those times would probably find it particularly evocative. I gave it 5 stars in my review; hated to put it down. And fun to share a book with my son.


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