Author: Hope Jahren
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: This book succeeds as both an approachable primer on some cool science and as a relatable, moving memoir.
“Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.” (Source)
This book was like nothing else I’ve ever read and it was so wonderful. It matches my personal experience more than any other book I’ve read and I loved the connection I felt with the author. However, it was also new and different. I loved learning more about plants, especially with the delightful narrative structure, implicitly comparing phases of the author’s life to phases in a plant’s life by juxtaposing chapters about each. I also enjoyed the author’s thoughtfulness, humor, and passion for her work. It was fun to be a part of that.
Something else that was very different from my experiences was the discrimination the author faced as a woman in science. She also described a feeling I’ve never had of giving up the chance at a normal relationship by choosing to be a woman in science. I feel I owe the author a huge thank you for that. Because of women like her, who broke old stereotypes by becoming leaders of scientific research, I don’t have to face the same struggles that she did today. If you’re interested in learning about women in science; getting the most realistic perspective on science that I’ve read; or learning some amazing fun facts about plants, you should definitely pick this up. It was a delightful read in every way.
P.S. – If you liked learning about what doing science is like, the author’s lab has a twitter feed where you can get a sneak peek at what they do and how much caffeine they consume.
Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf
This sounds fantastic. I’m so glad to hear you didn’t face the same discrimination she did starting out in your career. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!
It was very good. I think you’d really enjoy it 🙂
Valorie Grace Hallinan
This does sound like such a great book, and so different. I do agree it’s important to recognize how difficult women still have it in science and academia in terms of discrimination and opportunity. Thanks for this terrific review.
It’s true. This isn’t a problem that I, personally, have faced, but I suspect that’s not true for everyone.
Wow, this book does sound very interesting. I love reading the stories of women scientists who broke down the biggest barriers in the generation before my own… fingers crossed for this giveaway, but I’m putting the title on my TBR either way. Thanks for doing this giveaway. 🙂
I really would like to read more books about science history, especially women in science. Reading Headstrong made me realize just how many amazing scientists I’m completely unaware of!
I love the books you recommend, Katie. Good luck to everyone entering! 🙂
Thanks, Priscilla 🙂
Jenny @ Reading the End
Oh great! Yay! I would love to read this! One of my favorite things is books that tell what it’s like to have a different job than I have, and it’s especially good when somebody I know who has that job reads the book and says “yep, it is exactly like this.” GOODY.
I really like books about professions other than my own too! It’s so fascinating to learn about all the different things people do.
Lory @ Emerald City Book Review
I love the sound of this! I would not strongly gravitate to it based on the title and cover, so I’m glad you told us more about it. I think I would learn so much from it, both about the natural world and the author’s life and work. Thank you for the giveaway!
I know I initially expected it to be fiction based on the cover! The title almost sounds like a silly superhero to me and the picture is simple enough to be almost cartoony. Having read the book, I feel as though the title and cover reflect the author’s love of her lab and of plants, but I’m not sure they’re the best representation of the book 🙂
This time it doesn’t matter that your contest is for US only – I have my own copy! And I am more excited than ever to read it. It would have fit nicely into the Women in Science month in March, except that it’s not historical.
I am so glad you loved it!
I’m so glad you have a copy! I hope you enjoy it too 🙂
TJ @ MyBookStrings
This one sounds fantastic. Thanks for telling me a little more about it; like Lory, I probably would have paid little attention to it based on the title alone.
I rather expected fiction based on the cover and title myself! I was excited it wasn’t though and I thought it was wonderful 🙂
I haven’t faced outright discrimination either, but from what I see it depends on two things: your research area and the country where you are researching.
Anyway, so glad you liked this book! I have seen it around but doubted whether I’d enjoy it. Your review makes it sound appealing. I’m a plant scientist though, so I don’t know if it’ll be a good choice after a long day in the lab 🙂
I’m glad you’ve had a good experience too. I’d generally especially recommend it to scientists, but it seems like a lot of it might be old news to you 🙂
I never faced discrimination as a young scientist, either!
I’m glad to hear it 🙂
So glad you liked this one! I have it on my radar to read this year!
Do it! 🙂
Ahh I want to read this a lot! Alas, I am outside the US, but I love reading books about women in STEM (being one myself), so this definitely goes on my TBR. Thanks for the review.
I hope you’re able to get a copy! It was very good.