Tag Archives: © 2017 Book Chatter

Sunday Matters: I Could Really Use a Personal Assistant

Sunday Matters

It feels so wrong to be discussing Thanksgiving but somehow the week has arrived and I’ve done nothing. No shopping. No prepping. No anything. We went to Disneyland yesterday and today is filled with commitments so I won’t get anything done today either. I could really use a personal assistant right about now. Or, a magic wand.

Right Now:

I’m a little bleary-eyed. Seventeen hours at Disneyland will do that to you. However, after about two buckets of coffee, I will head to the park for breakfast with the ladies.

This Week:

I am off all this week and the following Monday. I hope to get most of my meal shopping done tomorrow and then pick-up all the produce the day before. Once again it will just be us for Thanksgiving. PJs welcome. However, my son has to work Thanksgiving evening so we will be eating earlier than we normally do.

By the way… the PJ thing started years ago when we decided to be comfortable on Thanksgiving day.  The kids are older now but hey, who doesn’t want to be comfortable?


Thankfully Reading Weekend is coming up. I’ve not participated before but I am really tempted to join in this time. What would I read? I have to finish the one book I have but I would love to read The Master and Margarita.


American Horror Story ended for the season and it ended in a pathetically, horribly way. I groaned. I complained to anyone who would listen. None of my grumbling made-up for the time I lost watching it.

We watched our first Christmas movie of the season, Deck the Halls with Matthew Broderick. It’s not a fave of mine but my family loves it.

I plan to watch Home for the Holidays sometime before Turkey Day.  It’s directed by Jodie Foster and stars Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning and Robert Downey Jr. If you enjoy dysfunctional families, you will love it.


This section makes me laugh. What will I NOT be making? I signed up to bring stuffing for a Thanksgiving serve opportunity but it just occurred to me that no one will be home to taste it before I bring it over and I can’t because of the gluten so I will be flying blind. Hope it tastes okay.

Grateful for:

So much. My family including The Otter Pup. My home. All of you who sent me a kind word on the anniversary of my mom’s death. My life group. My teen small group. Homeless outreach. My ever-growing faith. Our health even though it’s not perfect. My job. All of the friends I’ve made through this blog and in real life. Laughter. Kindness. Great books and the time to read them. Art. Holiday traditions. Time off and so much more.

Your Turn:

If you had the time this weekend to read one book, what would it be?


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.