Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Windows, Cells and Hemingway: Book Reviews

I realize you're probably just itching to hear my latest book reviews. Itch no more, friends.

Open Windows by Philip Yancey

I borrowed this book from my father-in-law months ago and figured he had either forgotten or was harboring resentment that I still had the book but I should finish it either way. This is a collection of essays written by Yancey from 1985. The main reason I borrowed it was an essay about Dr. Paul Brand titled "In Defense of Pain" for that alone I would read this book. Dr. Brand worked (or works?) with lepers and essentially discovered their injuries were largely due to the lack of sensation they have in nerve endings all over it. He states that pain is an essential part of our lives and God was merciful to give it to us. When addressing the issues of diseases such as cancer that cause out of control pain he says God was merciful to give us ways to make medicine to control that pain. As a health professional I found his perspective really stimulating. Other essays about the Holocaust, Bible translators and TV preachers were also great, but a little outdated (which is what happens when I book is almost 30 years old). I haven't read much else by Yancey bu now I'd like to.

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This book has been on my "to read" list for years. Literally. I first heard about it when I did research in Vancouver in 2009 and finally checked it out at the library. (I love libraries! free books!). Skloot tells the story of the HeLa cell line and the woman and family behind them. It's a really fascinating combination of science and the humans it has affected. The story of Henrietta's family was incredibly sad. Many of people she left behind when she died at a young age of invasive cancer were devastated by her death and even more so by the misunderstandings surrounding her cells. On the other hand the story of her cells is just astounding. The rate at which they proliferate and have impacted science is incredible! The health-nerd in me was totally geeking out while reading it. I would mostly recommend it if the book sounds interesting to you, if not, don't bother.

The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain

From Amazon "Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald." This book is excellent. A really interesting story and the writing is great.

1 comment:

Amanda Liston said...

I love your book posts. Do you ever use the website/app Goodreads? I love it, it's a lot of fun for bibliophiles! :)