Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

PygmalionPygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though Professor Henry Higgins is a total jerk, I'd be into him in real life I bet. He's just so smart and witty. Funny even. It's my weakness. Great play.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As other readers have mentioned this book is more like two books. The popular science fiction portion of the book deals with the study of the HeLa cell lines named for the woman whom they were taken from, Henrietta Lacks. The other portion of the book is the story of Henrietta Lacks and her family which really highlights many of the injustices towards black Americans particularly in the realm of science and medicine. Both stories also lead into conversations about the evolving law regarding consent and control over one's genetic information and material.

The first story about the scientific research on HeLa is bazonkers (doesn't matter that bazonkers is not a word, something like that is needed for emphasis). I'm usually pretty up-to-date on what's going on in Science but I definitely missed some of the stranger HeLa cell research.

The second story about the family is touching, upsetting, and angering. Although at times this part feels a bit meandering with an examination of a large family. I was mostly interested in the story of her daughter Deborah probably because she's the person Skloot got to know the best.

The status of our rights regarding our genetic material is both frightening and frustrating.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Billy Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville

Billy Budd, SailorBilly Budd, Sailor by Herman Melville
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is actually pretty good because Melville is a deep soul. But I struggled with the beginning, and for such a short book it really took me a long time to force my way through it.

Here's my favorite quote from the book: "Is Envy then such a monster? Well, though many an arraigned mortal has in hopes of mitigated penalty pleaded guilty to horrible actions, did ever anybody seriously confess to envy? Something there is in it universally felt to be more shameful than even felonious crime. And not only does everybody disown it, but the better sort are inclined to incredulity when it is in earnest imputed to an intelligent man. But since its lodgement is in the heart not the brain, no degree of intellect supplies a guarantee against it." - Chapter 13

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of WarThe Art of War by Sun Tzu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm reading some of the commentaries now, but on its own, it doesn't make a huge impression on me. It has some good points. The focus on the compassion of the ruler and "the way" was particularly interesting. (Now I also want to read The I Ching / Book of Changes which discussed "the way." I read the Tao Te Ching.) Overall, though it doesn't give a lot of context inside the text, or have much that will make an impression in my memory.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2)The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one much better than the first. I liked the focus on the development of Arha as she learned more about the world around her. And the Tombs are magical.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

You Can't Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to ExplainYou Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was good. Funny and educational. She's an amazing wordsmith (and is in the very modern comedy family of Aziz Ansari) so it might be tough for older audiences (or foreign audiences) to follow her amazing turns of phrases and pop culture references. I basically didn't put the book down until I finished it, unless you count the 1 million times my daughter needed things today. At least she goes to school tomorrow.

And yes, that mostly true about Karens.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Based on a True Story by Norm Macdonald

Based on a True StoryBased on a True Story by Norm Macdonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this one up because I saw Norm MacDonald's Netflix standup special. The special got some mixed reviews, including from MacDonald. I've been going through a tough time because my mother is progressively getting worse from terminal kidney cancer and MacDonald's dark humor about life really struck a chord with me.

So this week, my mother switched to hospice care, and I turned to MacDonald's book to get away from all the heavy stuff I've been reading but also to get some dark laughs in. Gotta laugh or go crazy right?

My dad died from the same kind of cancer in 2010, which is what originally kicked off my reading extravaganza as I attempted to read all the books he left behind (still in progress).

Okay back to MacDonald's book. It's one of these comedian memoirs that are so popular now but MacDonald invents a new genre. It's like nonfiction-fiction comedy-noir autobiography. It's probably not everyone's taste but it helped me pass some time pleasantly in a bad time.

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