Shortly after I moved to Ithaca, I fortuitously got lost near the Cornell Plantation, which is basically a small, free botanical garden. It was beautiful and of course the fact that it’s free means I can go take pictures whenever I want! Here’s a small selection of the pictures I’ve taken there so far and hopefully there will be more soon. Even more exciting, I went to a dairy open house and vineyard last week, so look for some adorable farm animals pictures next week 🙂
Title: The Engineer in the Garden
Author: Colin Tudge
Fun Fact: Some plants, including clover, naturally produce hemoglobin, the protein which transports oxygen through our blood.
Review Summary: A great introduction to the philosophical questions raised by genetic engineering, which includes complex language and ideas but which does a great job explaining the biology.
Genetic engineering is an incredible technology with many controversial applications. This book as a very approachable primer on those possible applications and the ethical issues they raise. While the science is handled very well and the author didn’t spend enough time on the basics to bore me, I do think the science is written simply enough that someone with no background could understand this book with a little effort. The author does an incredible job starting with the basics. Every biology term is defined. And this allows him to use biology terms and build up to more complicated concepts. For instance, instead of answering the question “what is genetic engineering” in a watered down way, he first explains basic molecular genetics and then the specific methods that people use to alter genomes. Unfortunately, the illustrations were bad enough to be basically useless, but the explanations were good enough that I don’t think the illustrations were needed any way.
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Today I don’t have much to say about the official Monday Musing, so I’m mostly just checking in. I’m currently slogging through a book on the ethical concerns of genetic engineering and it’s just too similar to the reading I do for work. So next week, we’ll be moving on to a new topic! No more biology for a while I think. Also, September is going to be cooking month, as I try out new recipes (mostly with my new slow cooker) and share them with you, so stay tuned for that. I hope everyone had a great Monday 🙂
This week, I’ve spent almost all my time on campus, starting very early in the morning, with class at 8:40 or 9 every day. Since in my ideal world, I get up at 9, I’ve had some trouble adjusting! Somehow just getting 8 hours of sleep isn’t enough to make up for getting it at the wrong time. Fortunately, classes are going well and campus isn’t such a bad place to be. This deer obviously doesn’t think so either, since it let me get quite close without seeming at all nervous. Next week, hopefully I’ll get some pictures in the many beautiful campus gardens. Have a nice weekend 🙂
Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Review Summary: Exciting fantasy novel with a gripping mystery, set in a vividly portrayed world, and with relatable characters.
Gemma Doyle is an independent young woman raised in India, struggling with mysteriously prophetic visions and her adjustment to Victorian era England. She is warned to suppress her visions by a strange but handsome young man who followed her from India, but she persists until she is eventually able to enter the world of her visions. This gorgeous world gifts Gemma and her friends with an intoxicating power, one which comes with both dangers and responsibilities. Read more »
This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: Have you ever reread a book and found that your opinion changed?
I haven’t ever had my opinion change dramatically or with one re-read, but I have outgrown books that were my favorites for a while. I used to love the Redwall books which were the very first long books I read when I was younger, but now they seem too young. I might re-read them again soon and see if I enjoy them again though. Another one-time favorite was Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s In The Forests of the Night. Again, I just outgrew it, but I still remember it fondly and may give it another try in the future.
Have you ever outgrown a book or had a re-read not live up to your expectations? On the other hand, has a re-read ever made you like a book better?
Today, I got the most wonderful package in the mail. My boyfriend sent me flowers! Daisies are my favorites and I love the cute little blue mason jar they came in too. I’ll have to find something clever and crafty to do with it later. Or just occasionally add new flowers 🙂
Title: A Feeling For the Organism
Author: Evelyn Fox Keller
Fun Fact: Barbara McClintock was the first woman president of the Genetics Society of America and only the third woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Review Summary: This was an interesting biography, similar to The Double Helix in its’ look at the human interactions behind scientific achievement, but much more technical and not something I would recommend for those without a science background.
Barbara McClintock was a brilliant female scientist, unwilling to settle for a “woman’s job” teaching when she was clearly cut out for research. Her intelligence and insight eventually put her discoveries so far ahead of the rest of her field that it took decades for her to receive the recognition she deserved. In this biography, we learn about both her struggles as a women in science and the details of her Nobel prize winning research. Read more »
Title: Assassin’s Apprentice
Author: Robin Hobb
Review Summary: The writing in the book was good, but not great, and the plot often failed to deliver on built up excitement.
Born illegitimately to a commoner and a prince, Fitz has both the ancient ability to talk to animals and the noble Skill of influencing other’s minds. At a very young age he’s chosen and trained to be the king’s assassin. This puts him in a position to defend the kingdom both from vicious Outislander raiders and from attacks closer to home. Read more »
This post is brought to you by Alison at The Cheap Reader and it’s also the first post I’ve re-blogged, so please bear with me if there are any kinks in the process. I like book lists so I thought this was a really fun question! I’ve read 33 books and/or completed the series. I’ve read at least one book in 6 of the series on the list. And I’d like to read pretty much all the rest 🙂 Thanks for the fun question Alison!