All posts by Ti

Review: Lab Girl

Lab Girl

Lab Girl
By Hope Jahren
Knopf Publishing Group, 9781101874936, April 2016, 304pp.

The Short of It:

What I especially liked about Lab Girl is that it read more like a novel than a memoir, plus it’s filled with fascinating facts about dirt, trees, and plants of all kinds.

The Rest of It:

I’m not sure what I expected when I pitched this to my book club. We don’t read much non-fiction and science tends to be pretty interesting as long as it’s not too heavy on math or complicated formulas so I took a chance and pitched it and it was selected. However, I wasn’t able to  make the meeting that night due to my daughter’s volleyball banquet.  Sigh.

That said, I read it on my own and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Most of the book focuses on Jahren’s quest to run and maintain her own lab. She does this through various faculty appointments and mostly through grants. She touches on this a few times in the book because funding for science labs that do not produce an actual product, tend to be limited.

What does she study? Jahren is a geobiologist.

Geobiology is a field of scientific research that explores the interactions between the physical Earth and the biosphere.

It’s a relatively young field. Jahren’s lab partner steals the show, so to speak. Bill is not your typical scientist or maybe he is. Not sure. He’s entertaining but in a very gruff, humorous way. It’s apparent while reading that Bill is much more than a lab partner but never once did it “go there”. Bill is like a brother to her and that’s made pretty clear as she tells her story.

The book is split into three sections:

  • Roots & Leaves
  • Woods & Knots
  • Flowers & Fruit

Each section includes a bit of science but Jahren also manages to work in bits of life here and there. For example, Roots & Leaves details her early life and how she came to love science. She had a brief stint working in a hospital pharmacy and this part was especially interesting as she outlined the sterile procedure for preparing the medicated saline bags for patients. I’m telling you, fascinating stuff.

The only thing that I felt was missing was the struggle. Hope Jahren is an optimist and living up to her name.  Her story is told in a very hopeful, uplifting way. Bill brings a lot of humor to the more dire situations for sure but I felt like maybe some of the more difficult challenges were left out.

In any case, I enjoyed the book and if you like to learn while reading Lab Girl is a good one to pick up.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.


Sunday Matters: Time

Sunday Matters

The other day, a work meeting was cancelled and the email that went out said to consider it a gift of time. Amen. I can’t tell you how happy that made me feel. It made me realize that I am not alone in thinking that time is a valuable thing.

Right Now:

I am just sitting here watching the news and will be heading out soon to begin my day. My daughter is loving avocado toast these days so maybe she will share some with me. Maybe not.

This Week:

Not much going on this week outside of my norm which is good. We do have a parent/player meeting for club volleyball but I know her coaches are finishing out their semester at college so I’m not sure who will be representing her team.

My son took an additional job on top of the seasonal retail job he picked up so he will be a Toy Soldier on stilts at Six Flags as well as working retail. I am not sure how the stilt thing will work. Dancing…on stilts with no experience. He leaves for Disney in January so I hope he’s careful.  This additional job makes it difficult to plan our holiday traditions. I am almost positive he will be working Thanksgiving day which absolutely blows. No one should have to work on Thanksgiving day.


I’ve been a tiny bit distracted so my reading took a hit this week but I am just starting Keep Her Safe by Sophie Hannah.


I watched the first episode of Stranger Things, Season 2 and I thought it was a little slow.

American Horror Story is plugging along but it’s nearly over and I don’t feel as if there’s been much of a story.

The Walking Dead is staggering all over the place trying to keep their audience but the writing hasn’t been good this season.

For mindless TV, I watch Chrisley Knows Best. It’s scripted but Todd’s mother is hilarious and needs her own show.


I made baked chicken and rice, tacos, and there will be pizza and gluten-free corn dogs at some point. Corn dogs!! Totally not good for you but easy and no one complains. I wish they would sell corn dogs like the ones at Hot Dog on a Stick… the ones with cheese in them. Why don’t they?

Grateful for:

My smart little Otter Pup. She got into my tinted lip balm and I was worried because it was shredded all to heck and I was so worried about the plastic she consumed. However, after some searching we found all the pieces AND she did not get one speck of that colored balm on the carpet.

The Otter Pup

She was mad because we went to IN N OUT and she did not get a treat.

Since the holidays are upon us, what is the one book you would love to get as a gift? I would love a copy of A Little Life. I’ve read it and loved it but I want my own copy. I would also like an entire set of Murakami books but I am waiting for some cool covers because the cover art always changes.