Bookends About The Uglies Quartet

April 22, 2012 Dystopian, Fiction, Young Adult 1

I’ve wanted to read the Uglies quartet for years, ever since they showed up on my little sister’s shelves.  The series takes place in a post-apocalyptic society where all of humanity is gathered into a few independent cities.  In every city, when citizens reach their 16th birthday they undergo a surgery to change them from “uglies” into super-model gorgeous “pretties”.  There is, of course, a catch.  Both the catch and most of the other plot points were quite predictable, although the motivations of those in charge surprised me;  I just don’t feel like they got enough out of it.  But the idea was novel and I appreciated that.  The world was also very well developed and the details of the procedure by which people became pretty were fleshed out enough to make it very believable. Read more »

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Photography Friday – Seattle Edition

April 20, 2012 Photography Friday 6

As promised, this week I have a picture of the Seattle skyline, taken from Kerry Park.  The other pictures are a selection of my favorite pictures taken doing touristy things after the conference was over.  Both of the nature pictures are taken while hiking in Discovery Park and the flowers are for sale at the Pike Place open-air market.  I hope everyone has a great weekend 🙂

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Cultivating an Ecological Conscience in the 630’s

April 20, 2012 Nature, non-fiction 0

Farmer-philosopher Frederick Kirschenmann’s Cultivating an Ecological Conscience is a collection of thoughtful essays about the “ethical and practical principles” of developing a sustainable agricultural system.  Drawing on his experiences as a theologian and a farmer, he delivers a series of measured arguments that a shift to more sustainable agriculture is a necessary change.  As I mentioned in my Monday Musing, this was a welcome break from the rhetoric some other authors depend on.  It is clear that the author is a product of a true liberal arts education, with a gift for elocution (I would love to hear him speak!) and a deep knowledge of the classics.  I was at times astounded by the variety of sources he drew on to support his economic and agricultural theories – everything from Adam Smith to Machiavelli.  I think the fact that he has read such different works and thought about their connection to agriculture is truly indicative of his passion for the topic. Read more »

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Monday Musings

April 16, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question is the following: What are you currently reading? And, is it better, as good as, or worse than your last read?

I’m currently reading Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher.  My previous read was the Uglies quartet, a YA dystopian series, and was much too different to compare to my current read.  But before that I was reading Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds which is much more comparable.  As you already know from my review of that book, I found it had a good message but the message got lost in a lot of rhetoric and emotion.  Fortunately, Cultivating an Ecological Conscience is the opposite.  Although the author, of course, still has an agenda, all of the essays are clear and measured arguments for the author’s point of view.  The message the author is trying to convey in each essay is always well-supported and the author’s passion doesn’t overwhelm his reason.  So far, I’m liking this one much better.

Feel free to answer the Monday Musing question yourself, either here or on the blog of the meme’s host, Should Be Reading.  What are you reading now and how does it compare to your previous read?

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Photography Friday

April 15, 2012 Photography Friday 0

This week’s Photography Friday is brought to you by the awesome (and all-expenses paid – thank you Microsoft and Google!) conference for women in computing I attended this weekend.  It was a lot of fun and extremely helpful.  We had gorgeous weather the entire trip and so flying back I got this beautiful view of Mount Ranier.  Next week I’ll hopefully have some pretty pictures of the Seattle skyline prettied up to share too!

If you get a chance, I suspect my poll last week didn’t work via e-mail, so if you have an opinion about what decade in the Dewey Decimal system you would most like to hear about, please click through to my poll and vote 🙂  I will probably start reading from whatever decade is winning at the beginning of next week.

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What’s Next?

April 14, 2012 Uncategorized 0

So first of all, don’t let anyone tell you academics don’t know how to party!  I’m currently in Seattle, Washington at a wonderful conference for women in computational sciences.  I’m also in a luxurious Hyatt Regency recovering from a long day of helpful talks, delicious food, and three hours of dancing and free drinks.  It was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had going dancing, everyone has been so nice, and the talks have been incredibly helpful so if you get a chance to go to a CRA-W conference, definitely do it

And now to the point 🙂  This past week, I went to the library to drop off some books and actually managed to leave without checking out any new ones, mostly because I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to read now that I have books read or chosen for all of the 630’s.  So, it’s time to pick a new section to read and I’ve decided to leave it up to you what I read next.  So, what section would you like to hear about next?

Finally, while you’re voting anyway, would you please hop over to goodreads and vote for Doing Dewey in the independent book bloggers awards, if you haven’t done so already?  Thanks so much and have a great weekend!

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Uncertain Peril in the 631’s

April 13, 2012 non-fiction, Science 1

2210231Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds is a manifesto strongly opposing our current use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  As someone pursuing a PhD in bioinformatics and generally comfortable with the idea of genetic engineering, I expected to be entirely unconvinced by the author’s arguments.  In fact, I almost didn’t pick this book up at all, because I wasn’t sure I could read it objectively enough.  However, I think avoiding reading books by author’s with viewpoints opposed to my own would seriously limit the amount I learn from this project.  Surprisingly, I ended up agreeing with a lot of the author’s points, even though I was sometimes shocked by her completely one-sided rhetoric. Read more »

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Monday Musings

April 9, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question is the following: What do you think are the top 5 books every woman should read? (And for the men who might be playing today: What do you think are the top 5 books every man should read?)

I’m having a rather difficult time answering this question, since I don’t think I read that many books that are specifically written for women, but here goes 🙂

  1. This first answer is borrowed from Colorimetery, who points out that any book with a strong heroine is a good for women to read and I think this goes doubly so for the young adult genre.  Books that come to mine are the Lioness quartet plus pretty much everything else by Tamora Pierce and of course The Hunger Games trilogy.
  2.  I would  also recommend my recent read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which, in addition to some other big picture ideas, talks a lot about what it means to be a woman.  I’d say it also gets points for a strong female protagonist 🙂
  3. A Spring Without Bees is a book I would actually recommend more specifically for parents then for women, but I think it’s important that everyone know how bad pesticides can be for you and how many of them can get dragged onto your carpet for kids to get covered in.
  4. I think every women should occasionally read the sort of book I like to describe as the book version of a chick flick.  Not so much a romance novel as a romantic comedy in book form, when I’m completely mentally exhausted, they’re a nice, feminine indulgence 🙂
  5. That’s all I’ve got but a book I think I might end up putting in this category, if it ever escapes my TBR pile, is The Buddha in the Attic which I added to my pile based on Whimpulsive’s review.
Finally, I also have a favor to ask 🙂  If you like my blog and have a minute, please pop over to goodreads to vote for Doing Dewey in the Independent Book Blogger Awards.  Thanks so much!

Feel free to answer the Monday Musing question yourself, either here or on the blog of the memes host, Should Be Reading.  Are there any books you would recommend specifically for people of your gender?

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Bookends About The Help

April 8, 2012 Uncategorized 2

I think I must be going soft in my old age, because The Help is the second book-to-movie adaptation I’ve seen recently and had no real complaints about.  Of course there were the small changes that always come with such adaptations, little things left out to make the story shorter and easier to follow.  But there were no major plot points that I felt should have been included and the feel of the book was preserved beautifully.

One major change I expected was the way in which the story was told, since in the book the story is mostly narrated by the characters.  Fortunately, there actually was a lot of narration by the characters much of which came straight from the book.  The dialogue was also very true to the original.  In both cases, I really appreciated the direct use of quotes because the narration and the dialogue in the book were just so good!

The casting was also done very well..  Getting to see everyone from the book at least very close to how I pictured them was great.  One of my favorites was actually Celia Foote, who’s personality came across clearly from our very first glimpse of her.  And while there were a few characters whose appearance didn’t exactly match my mental image, their acting was always spot on.  This is one case were the book was so good I was sure the movie wouldn’t live up to it, but they were actually very similar experiences.  I think you could probably read and watch in either order without taking away from either.  And I would definitely suggest doing both 🙂

See my review of the book here.

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Photography Friday

April 7, 2012 Photography Friday 0

Actually photography Saturday this week, but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it 🙂  This week, I’m sharing some of my favorite pictures from my Europe trip after senior year last summer.  I have more pictures than I know what to do with so I’m hoping to start getting caught up on sorting and editing them soon!  The biggest category of pictures I’m having trouble with are the ones which aren’t awesome pictures but which have too much sentimental value to get rid of.  I’m pretty sure I’ll end up just keeping everything for now, but I might revisit that decision in a few years.  Do you take a lot of vacation pictures?  And if so, how do you deal with storing and sorting them?  Do you ever get rid of any?

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