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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Silent Spring in the 632’s

April 5, 2012 Nature, non-fiction, Science 3

There were two reasons I knew I had to read Silent Spring.  First, all of the environmentalist books I’ve been reading in the 630’s quote Silent Spring and a lot of them clearly aspire to be the next Silent Spring.  Second and more pragmatically, it was the only book my library had in the 632’s 🙂  Because all of the quotes I’ve read from Silent Spring have been emotional appeals, I was worried the book would be all poetic descriptions, poorly grounded in science.  Instead I found that, as the introduction claimed, Rachel Carson not only had a “lyrical, poetic voice” but also offered sound “scientific expertise” and an impressive “synthesis of wide-ranging material”. Read more »

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Monday Musings

April 3, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question is the following: Do you belong to any book clubs — face-to-face, or online? If so, how long have you been with the group(s)? If not, why?

March was actually my first month doing any group reads.  I really enjoyed reading Cinder with my YA goodreads group and there was a decent amount of discussion (a lot of which centered around how sad we all were when the book ended!).  I also liked the Reading Buddies discussion lead by Erin Reads for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  There was less interaction for this group, but I really like the book selections Erin has lined up for the next two months.  I’d also like to start participating in the book club run by The Cheap Reader, although so far they’ve been reading books I’ve already read.  Fortunately, she takes suggestions so I’ll have to come up with my a good book club book to suggest 🙂

Feel free to answer the Monday Musing question yourself, either here or on the blog of the memes host, Should Be Reading.  Are you in any book clubs?

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A Reading Buddies Bookends

April 1, 2012 Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction 6

This last month was my first time participating in the Reading Buddies discussion run by Erin Reads and I’m already looking forward to next month’s read!  The adult fiction books which seem to be popular in the discussions she leads are definitely outside my usual reading bubble and at least with this first book, I really enjoyed that.  The March read was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  When I first started carrying this book around to read I was worried someone would ask me what it was about because I wasn’t really sure how to sum it up nicely.  Then I looked up the genre for my genre-based reading challenges and discovered the wonderful German word, “Bildungsroman”, meaning a coming-of-age novel (or directly translated “formation novel”).  It makes me happy that there’s a word that so precisely describes what this book is about. Read more »

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Photography Friday

March 30, 2012 Photography Friday 4

Last weekend I had the best time going out with the other students in my year.  First, we spent most of the afternoon at Ledges State Park, where I took all of the pictures for this weeks’ photography Friday, and then we went to see The Hunger Games together, which I reviewed earlier this week (review spoiler – it was awesome!).  Unfortunately I was the only one who had read the book, so we weren’t able to discuss the finer nuances of bits that were changed or left out, but I think everyone enjoyed the movie – although perhaps not quite as much as I did!  Definitely a good weekend 🙂  What are your plans this weekend?  If you haven’t seen The Hunger Games yet, are you planning on it?

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Monday Musings

March 26, 2012 Monday Musings 0

This week the Monday Musings question, from our host Should Be Reading, is the following: Have you ever found a book out of the blue, read it, and then had it be surprisingly good — one that stuck with you for years? If so, what book was it?

I feel like I was just talking about this yesterday, at least the having a book be surprisingly good bit. I’ve been having that happen all the time since I’ve started visiting the library more often for this project and it’s wonderful – a vicious but wonderful cycle in which I go to the library just to return some books, then I’m just going to look around a bit, and before I know it I’m staggering back to the car with my weight in books 🙂  I’m not sure I’ve read any books in the past which have stuck with me for years, but I certainly think a lot of the stuff I’ve learned about how nasty pesticides can be (both from earlier books and my current read, Silent Spring) will be sticking with me for the rest of my life.

What about you?  Have you read any books which were so surprisingly good they stuck with you for years?

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Bookends and the Point of the Project

March 25, 2012 Uncategorized 1

Even ignoring all the awesome information I’m learning from reading so much non-fiction, I’ve been learning a lot from this project.  In particular, I’m learning to do things for the journey instead of the destination; to be patient with myself; to indulge my interests; and to see where life takes me.  I have zero self-control in the library, absolutely none.  Which is why I ended up with  All Creatures Great and Small, a book from a section I’d already read a book from!  I’m absolutely amazed at the number of books I can find to desperately want to read in even a small section of a small library in Ames, Iowa.  But I constantly remind myself that I’m not going to finish the project in a reasonable time frame anyway, and you know what?  It doesn’t matter. Because finishing is not the point.  The point is to read books I wouldn’t have read otherwise and become a more well-rounded person.  Plus to enjoy myself of course, which is usually enough all by itself to make me glad I picked a book up. Read more »

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