Nic ~ The Twisted Heart

11 01 2010

The Twisted Heart ~ Rebecca Gowers

As you can probably read on the picture of the cover, this book has an interesting little premise that beckoned me to read it.

Kit, a work obsessed literary student, is obsessed with death.  Not all death, just that of prostitutes in the 1900s.  I says pardon?  Kit has spent her time becoming an expert on Dickens, and is searching for clues as to how a real life murder coinciding with the writing of Olive Twist may have been tied to it.  Pouring over documentation in her single room flat, or at the local library leaves little time for a love life.  But when she forces herself to engage in the outdoor world via a dancing class, she finds herself being chased by danger as well…the danger of love (bazinga!).  As her relationship with Joe, as well as both their families and friend further, Joe brings new insight into her hunt for finding out how a real life crime affected not only the writing, but the life, and ultimate demise of one of the worlds greatest literary voices.

As a side note, supposedly the information about Dickens and the murder mystery cases entanglement are in fact, actually new details, that are providing new insight to scholars as to how Dickens concocted his tales.

I was more interested in finding out the details of Dickens and the gruesome real life murder than the romance myself, but an interesting read for a true literary lady.  At times, I found it to be a little bit sluggish in pace, but still, not bad in the end.





KimN ~ The Glass Castle

13 10 2009

The Glass Castle ~ Jeannette Walls

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I’ve had a few people recommend this book to me and I don’t think I have EVER read a memoir before… the first 15 pages (which I read last night) were very intriguing…

Now I’m going to make a mug of steaming apple cider (its the first day of October but it already feels like winter and its freezing!!) and hunker down with this book for the evening.

~~~

Oct 13 – I finished this book on Thursday and absolutely loved it!  As I said, it was probably the first memoir I’ve ever read.  I don’t even know how to start writing out my thoughts on this book… I have so many!  The novel opens with a successful, grow-up Jeannette spotting her homeless mother rifling through a garbage bin.  Then Walls switches gears and takes you back to her childhood, starting at the age of 3.  It is hard to imagine growing up in the Walls household, with a father who spends his money on booze and parts for his elaborate inventions, and a mother who would rather focus on her artistic career (if you could call it that…) than use her teaching certificate to work and provide for her family.  Although their parent’s priorities were all wrong, the Walls children found ways to get by and made life an adventure as they moved throughout the country, living wherever they could find room.  It is interesting to read Jeannette’s take on how each of her siblings adjusted to life.

I really enjoyed how Walls chose to format the novel – it is a series of short stories or excerpts.  This makes it really easy to pick up and read, and it was interesting how the excerpts all tied together even though Walls didn’t use many transitions at the beginning or endings of the excerpts.

I would highly recommend this tale of the resilience of the Walls children in the face of a number of odds.  The success of this novel alone is a true testament to the drive and determination of Jeannette Walls to overcome the experiences and living arrangments of their childhood.





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.