Nic ~ How to Build A Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever

21 08 2009

How To Build A Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever ~ Jack Horner and James Gorman

I have been reading this book for a while, and originally was not going to blog about it, but decided I may as well, no need to discriminate and only write about my fictional endeavors.  I read this book off and on, as I find that it is almost more like a textbook for me, jammed full of facts and information, and I want to take time to process everything my mind is sopping up.

Growing up I had a cousin that was just OBSESSED with dinosaurs (to Adam: you are the coolest for this), and I from this took an interest in them too.  As I have grown and actually looked at it from a intellectual point of view, I have become more and more interested in them.  I find the research and information about the prehistoric beasts very interesting, and jump at all chances to watch programs and informational movies about them.  I pour over books and take a large interest in reading up on the various breeds and findings that have been made in the last years.  My interest was peaked immediately when months ago I first heard about Jack Horner’s new project.  Jack Horner is an American paleontologist who found the Maiasaura; providing the first real evidence in the field that some dinosaurs cared for their young.  He was also the paleontologist on all the Jurassic Park movies, providing insight and information into the accuracy of the movies.

Jack Horner has now moved into working in a very interesting, and dangerous field: Genetic Research.  Jack Horner has been working with geneticists to figure out how to make the first genetically engineered dinosaur.  And it isn’t by using mosquitoes stuck in embers, that’s for sure.  Using the closest living relative to the dinosaur; the chicken, they have begun work on altering the genetic coding in the DNA to produce a dinosaur.  They have managed to figure out how to produce individual body parts: a claw here, a tail there.  But no whole dinosaur has been produced as of yet (or at least as far as we the public know…don’t get me started).

This book follows Jack and the geneticists journey, as well as involves much other information and theories brought forth from other paleontologists that Horner has been working with.  Although I may not agree with some peoples motives and experiments (which I do not, let me tell you; I find all this playing God to be terrifying), my brain cannot help but want to know everything about it.  The details of the procedures and thought processes behind these decisions are incredibly interesting, and I cannot help but delve into learning about them.

This book is ridiculously interesting, albeit a very slow read for me, as the details at times are indeed beyond my normal scope of thinking, and I need to often stop and dissect what i have just read.  I am looking forward to finishing it, and interested in what will come from it in the field of paleontology as time moves on and startling new discoveries and advances are made.


KimN ~ Northanger Abbey

20 08 2009

Northanger Abbey ~ Jane Austen

naIts beyond time for a classic piece of literature… this was the only one not still buried in a moving box!

~~~ Finished this book last night.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I am just in a Popular Fiction mode right now… I felt like this book took me FOREVER to read!  And, it was under 200 pages, haha.  So, lets look at it from the point of view that it is an Austen novel, and her first one published to boot.  Pretty good!

You get a sense that this novel acurately reflects the times and especially the naivety of young ladies just entering society.  Charlotte, the central character, is very sweet, kind-hearted, and super naive.  You kind of feel like smacking her back to reality as she flits along beside John Thorpe, a guy who obviously thinks he is courting her for marriage but she is NOT interested in.

There are a few times that Austen slips in to what feels like a lecture or a rant about society at the time, these are some of the most enjoyable parts of the novel.  You feel like you are truly hearing from Austen.

Well, thats all I can think of to say about this novel right now! Hope those of you who have read it enjoy it too!

Nic ~ Sheer Mischief

8 08 2009

Sheer Mischief ~ Jill Mansell

After reading Of Mice and Men, I decided it was time again for a nice fluffy easy read.  I really like Mansell’s work.  She writes breezy stories that wrap up layers and layers of characters to provide a easy, comical, endearing read.

This book focuses on a pair of sisters, one a fun loving man eater, and one a stay at home, hardworking woman who cannot remember the last time she threw caution to the wind.  So far it’s been light hearted and cominal.  I’m almost done, and looking forward to see what sort of hilarious hijinks will cap the book off.

OK. Done like dinner.  A while ago too, but truth be told, I am just awful the last little while at updating as soon as I am finished.  So this book was exactly what I expected.  In fact, it had a few more details and quasi serious plot twists than I was expecting.  But I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.  It in all was a fun, jaunty little read.  The author never expects anything other than a good time and I sincerely appreciate that.  I know where to go when I want a fluff and stuff book, and Mansell continues to deliver with just the right amount of British comedy and hi jinks.

KimN ~ The Last Oracle

8 08 2009

The Last Oracle ~ James Rollins

tloI picked up the next book in James Rollins’ ‘Sigma’ series (sort of a series, but each book can be read on its own) for $5 from Chapters and brought it along for a long weekend away at my Uncle’s cabin.  Perfect choice!  This book was a great follow-up to The Judas Strain and I really enjoyed it.  I’m excited to read further in the series – I need to go back to the couple of books that go before The Judas Strain

I really like the way that Rollins weaves together a story that is based on historical events and religious myths, and makes it play out in the present day – the plots that he is able to imagine growing out of these myths are amazing and horrifying.  Good thing we have the trusty hero from Sigma- Gray Pierce – and the other Sigma members… including the surprise, tearful return of an old friend (just a teaser that you will only understand if you’ve read the previous).

I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy a book that teaches me about something, and Rollins doesn’t disappoint.  From learning about Oracles in the days of the Greek, to the history of Romanian Gypsies, to the existence of autistics that have incredible ‘savant’ talents, Rollins takes you on a quick educational spin around the world.  I especially appreciate how Rollins includes a little ‘Fact or Fiction’ section at the end of his novels.  This section informs you of what was actually true in his novels, and what was elaborated on as part of the story.  Interestingly, Rollins very much stays true to the facts and builds his story around those facts by creating the characters and plot around them.

This is an excellent action/adventure/thriller novel and I highly recommend it.

KimN ~ In Her Shoes

8 08 2009

In Her Shoes ~ Jennifer Weiner

In Her ShoesI finished this book a little while ago, but things have been so busy because we went away for the weekend and then moved in to our new house this week!  So, in light of all of these recent events, and the fact that I read another book that I haven’t posted about yet either, I’m going to keep this short.

This was the first Weiner book I’ve read and I thought it was great.  It was a fun and well written piece of chick-lit and I’ll definitely pick up another Weiner book in the future.  I saw the movie version of this book, probably 3 yrs ago, and although the characters in the movie stayed very true to the characters in the book I seem to remember a few significant differences in the story-line.  I’ll have to watch the movie again to compare.

I really enjoyed the rich, detailed descriptions of the characters of Rose and Maggie – Weiner did a great job of developing their characters throughout the novel, as their priorities and relationships significantly change.  Overall, this was a great read and I would recommend it for a day at the beach!