Tag Archives: Science

Review: Future Home of the Living God

Future Home of the Living God

The Future Home of the Living God
By Louise Erdrich
Harper, 9780062694058, November 2017, 288pp.

The Short of It:

This book is the perfect example of why you sometimes need to give a book a little more than fifty pages to work its magic.

The Rest of It:

The story opens with the world going to hell in a handbasket but it’s ever so subtle. Parts of the world are okay but some parts have discovered a problem with how babies are developing in the womb. Although the markets still have food available and many seem to notice little in the way of change, there is an uncomfortable need to grab what you can and go.

Cedar, watching all of this unfold on the news is in a delicate situation. She’s pregnant and she’s beginning to realize that pregnant woman are being taken in for “examination” and it’s during this point in the story that I suddenly realized that some of the babies in question have reverted to their original state of primate. Erdrich never once comes out and says it but in between the lines, you know what’s going on.

The story revolves around Cedar, her birth mother and her adopted mother and how all three of them play a role in her survival. As the government closes in, they are forced to hide in order to protect the baby and in doing so, become part of a larger movement to save these women and their babies.

This was a suspenseful read with some interesting supporting characters. Once the story got going, I had a really hard time putting the book down. I HAD to know how it all turned out and anytime  someone steps in to control a woman’s body, you can bet that there’s plenty of content to discuss.

If you’ve read Erdrich before you’ll recognize her style right away but this book will also remind you of The Handmaid’s Tale and Brave New World.

This would make an excellent book club read.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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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.