Friday, January 18, 2013

What I've Read Lately

I have a small book case beside my bed. These are just the books stacked on top that are in my read-in-the-near-future pile.

If you visit here with any regularity, you know I am an avid reader. I need to write a post one of these days finishing up the reviews for the books I read in 2012 but for now I'm going to jump ahead because I'm excited to share what I've read since the beginning of the year.


Reached by Ally Condie
     You know me--I'm a sucker for good dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction. This is the final installment in Ally Condie's Matched Trilogy. If you aren't familiar with the series you can read my brief reviews of Matched and Crossed to get a little background information).
 I did enjoy reading the book over our Christmas break (it's a good popcorn read) but I found that for me when it comes to trilogies I'm seeing a trend that I usually enjoy the first volume the most. I thought it was a little quite a bit longer than it needed to be but I'm not complaining too much because I enjoy Condie's writing style and I like the characters in this series. Some of the plot resolutions were a little disappointing to me after the lead up in the first two novels and I kind of found the romance between Cassia and Ky a little cloying towards the end but I get it, I guess. The literary references that were so important in the first couple of books didn't come into play as much in this book either. There was more emphasis on personal creation of art and literature which is great, but those references were part of what I loved about the series to begin with (What's not to love about the poetry of Dylan Thomas and Emily Dickinson, right?) I'm not sorry I read it, but it's not one I'm dying to reread anytime soon either.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
     "Her name was Henrietta Lacks but scientists know her as HeLa" (from the book description). Henrietta was a young woman with three children, expecting her fourth when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the early 1950s. Her doctor took a tissue sample from her (without her consent) and the cells grown from it became the first immortal cell line: HeLa.
HeLa cells have been used by scientists all over the world for research; HeLa cells have helped with scientific advances from space travel and the atomic bomb to the HPV vaccine, a cure for polio, mapping the human genome and cloning. But the story goes deeper. This book offers a remarkable look at the lives of Henrietta's family and how learning about their mother's "immortality" profoundly affected (and continues to affect) them.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, though scientific and occasionally clinical by virtue of the subject matter, is paradoxically intimate and moving, thought-provoking and even at times spiritual. Rebecca Skloot's research is comprehensive and she tells a compelling story that is at the same time scientifically accessible to the general public.
 I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down--more so than any of the works of fiction I have read recently. I also loved talking about it with my scientist husband and getting an insider scoop about certain scientific questions I had while reading and hearing his views on the debate about informed consent.
I highly recommend it.

Currently reading:
Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
This is our book club selection for the month. It is beautifully written and I'm really enjoying it so far. I'll give a more detailed review in the future.

Next up on my to read list:
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
I saw the movie and LOVED it so now I guess I need to read the book. I got it for my Kindle for free.

Demons in the Big Easy  by Jamie Marchant
This one is written by my friend and free today only for Kindle. Go get it!

I'm linking up to this party at Jones Design Company. I can't wait to see what other people are reading. I already have a few to add to my to-read list. I love books!

what i'm reading


jennie sizemore said...

Body for Life for Women is great...explains so much about how our bodies work with regard to nutrition. Joshua read the original Body for Life three years ago and has shed and kept off over one hundred pounds. The cookbook has some delicious recipes that we use frequently (Chicken Enchiladas, turkey meatloaf, sloppy joe). -Jennie

Tanya H said...

I've enjoyed Emily's book posts too and commented on the kid's book post. I really enjoy these posts- someday I'll read again! :)

Michele said...

Love your selections! Cry The Beloved Country was my favorite read aloud with Nick last year. Did you know that Paul Farmer's mom read it to him when he was young? He is my hero - and I'll be ready his life story to Nick very soon (Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracey Kidder).