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Posts Tagged ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’

Tuesdays are hard for me. We have faculty meetings on Tuesdays which keep me at work up to two hours late add that to my 30 minute commute and any errands I have to run and the mess that I-77 leading into Charlotte becomes in the afternoons, then you’ll understand why it’s all I can do to eat a dinner and then fall asleep with the fork still in my mouth. My TTT will most likely come more and more on Wednesdays and usually a week later than what they are doing over at The Broke and The Bookish. (*note, I started this post on Wednesday night and I came into my office to look up a menu for a local Greek restaurant and discovered that I had never finished the post (a impromtu tennis game pulled me away mid-post Wednesday night) and so now you’ll see just how late I can be…)

I have read 69 (I know, right, that number seems so small) since I started Bookjackets in January 2011. Picking out ten favorites was harder than I thought that it would be! I started by circling the ones I loved and then I had to compare them up against each other and give them ratings based on things like “characterization” “plot” “readability”, etc. to get it narrowed down to the following ten:

10. If You Want Me To Stay by Michael Parker, Read February 7-8 2012, 5/5 Stars
I read this book for a program I was involved in at the local public library. The program involved a group of us reading the same book about some aspect of North Carolina culture and then inviting in a guest lecturer to discuss the book and the themes and the history of NC with us. This was my favorite book from the series.

9. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, Read February-March 2011, 4/5 Stars
This was another book that we read for the same NC Culture series, but I had read this one about a year before the series actually started. When my dad gave me a nook color for my 26th birthday this was the first book I read on the e-reader. Read more about that adventure here.

8. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, Read April 2011, 4/5 Stars
I read this book over spring break my first year of working as a librarian in public schools. I was back in my favorite town, Greensboro, NC where I had gone to college and graduate school and where my boyfriend was still in college and I loved the feeling of being “home” and I associate that feeling with this book. I also loved the book, it is a good mystery and our sleuth, Flavia De Luce, is such a scamp I dare you not to love her instantly.

7. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games, Read November 2010, 5/5 Stars
Catching Fire, Read in April 2011, 5/5 Stars
Mockingjay, Read in May 2011, 4/5 Stars
Read about my love for this series here.

6. The Weight of Silence/These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
The Weight of Silence, Read in July 2011, 3/5 stars
These Things Hidden, Read in July 2011, 5/5 stars
I read these over the summer after my first year in public education. I had greatly disliked the first place I worked at and I was in the process of quitting and moving to a new place of employment. I was having a difficult time telling my uber-scary boss that I was splitting, but these books were such a good escape for me at the end of the day, I truly value them for helping me get through that rough time.

5. Bossypants by Tina Fey, Read in April 2012, 5/5 Stars
Just. So. Damn. Funny. And honest. I love Tina Fey. She is my celebrity crush. She is so beautiful and funny and smart and nerdy and I want to be her. I loved this book because it was purely Tina Fey being open and honest about what it’s like being a woman working in a man’s world.

4. The Reeducation of Cherry Truong by Aimee Phan, Read in in late January/Early February 2012, 4/5 Stars
I received a ARC of this book from St. Martin’s Press and I wanted to do a good job of reviewing it, even if I disliked the book. This was the first time I had been asked to review a book for the blog, so I knew I couldn’t blow it. I ended up loving the book and I was pretty pleased with the review I put out. Read the review here.

3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, 5/5 Stars
I. Loved. This. Book. Read about how much I loved it here. I even voted it my #1 book of 2011!

2. A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash, Read in July 2012, 5/5 Stars
This is a more recent read. I had been hearing a little bit about it and I knew I wanted to read it because I love local authors and books set in my state. I was in love with this book from page one. Read my review here. Also, my book club has chosen to read this one in January 2013 and I’m hoping to get Cash to Skype with us, he tweeted me that he would!! Read the review here.

1. Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis, Read in February 2011 , 5/5 Stars
Again, I am super partial to local authors and Jenn Pharr Davis is one of my favorites! This is the story of a gal who sets out to thru-hike the entire AT by herself and she accomplishes her goal and tells us about all of the incidents she survives in this awesome book. This is a fun read and an encouraging read. I recently saw that there is a new book out by her husband, Brew Davis, that chronicles the hike that landed her the world-record of the fastest thru-hike of the AT which she did in an amazing 46 days!

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The newspapers says, says, say it’s true it’s true… and we can break through, though torn in two, we can be one -U2

Welcome to 2012! To start off the year, I had considered doing a post on my pick for my 2011 book of the year which I selected as The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I am not going to do another post on this book as I have done one previously and I direct you to it here. I should mention that I do realize that this book was technically published in early 2010 and so it technically should have been my 2010 pick for best book, but it was my pick for the best book that I READ in 2011. I just spent a good 15 minutes browsing the books that were published in 2011 and I honestly only have read one on the list (The Night Strangers) and I am not about to name it my book of 2011. Instead, I will let you know which book of 2011 I am most excited to read: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. This book was on every “best of 2011” list I browsed! I want to read more by her! I have only so far read The Bel Canto for a class in college and I loved it. Why the hell haven’t I read more of her? Alas! A 2012 resolution!

As noted in my last post, my reading challenge for 2011 was to read 61 books. As it turns out, I read 63! Huzzah! This year I have set my goal at only 26 books. Why such a low number? I want to discover new authors this year and I want to read the books that aren’t just the ones on the bestsellers list. There are 26 letters in the alphabet and so I want to go down the alphabet and select a book by an author whos first or last name begins with the letter I’m on. For instance, “A” is the first letter of the alphabet and so my first book in the reading challenge will be something like Oryx And Crake by Margaret Atwood or State of Wonder by Ann Patchett! I haven’t started either one yet because last weekend I started Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander Book 2). If you have been reading my blog along, you’ll know that I read Outlander this past summer and enjoyed it. The books are super long (Dragonfly… is 752 pages!) so it does take some time and patience to read the books. I have 365 days to read 26 books so I belive that I am safe! I will try to update for each letter and let you know of any great new authors I discover.

To end this post, I want to share some good and exciting news with you. This past week I started the application process to return to school to obtain my second Master’s Degree. I previously received a MLIS in Library and Information Science and now I am hoping to work towards a Master’s of Art in English Literature. I am super excited about this. I can’t wait to get back into a college classroom where we’re all discussing books and ideas and authors and meaning and simile and metaphors and history!! I am practically giddy with the anticipation. If you’re out there reading this, send me some good vibes so I’ll be accepted to the program! I can’t wait to share what we read and discuss in class with you all!

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 Some things are melting now, well what’s it gonna take till my baby’s alright? -Tori Amos

On GoodReads I challenged myself to read sixty-one books this year. Tonight, December 20, 2011 at 8:45 PM I reached my goal. My (possible) last book of 2011 was The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. (side note, I highly recommend you watch that interview with Bohjalian that can be found by following that link. It was great to hear how he came up with the idea for the book and how he himself had moved into a creepy house much like the Linton’s do in his novel.) I have given this book three stars on GoodReads which means I liked it. I did. I liked it. Right up until the epilogue. I sat for a moment thinking about what kind of post I wanted to do tonight. Perhaps one expressing my ire at poor epilogues. How can one futuristic look at the lives of beloved characters ruin an entire story? I’m not sure how, but I know that it sure can.

I came into the office and recorded my book on GoodReads as read. I was then greeted with a congratulatory box stating that I had reached my goal. I then decided to look at all of the books that I have read over this past year. Looking at the covers brings back a specific memory of exactly where I was at (physically) and where I was (emotionally) when I was reading that book. The first book I read in 2011 was To The Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf. This brings back memories of last Christmas at my parent’s house. It was a horrific holiday. I was snowed in and missed two trains that were to take me to see my boyfriend who I was in a very long-distance relationship with at the time. I spent too much time cooped up with my parents and as a result we fought. Big time. I retreated into my bedroom (slamming the door and screaming as if I were right back in high school again despite the fact that I am a 26 year old adult) with the Ramsay’s. I didn’t care for this book at all. In fact it is still sitting in a basket in my old bedroom at my parent’s house. I gave it two stars. As I look back at the reviews of it on GoodReads I have to wonder if it was truly the book that I didn’t care for, or was it the prisoner-like way I was being held against my will and being treated?

I read the entire Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larrson (read my post on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo here) this year. I remember reading all of them in my second-story bedroom in coastal, NC. The first I read as a borrowed copy from G’s mom. I started it on the road back from Raleigh where we spent New Year’s Eve. I remember reading it in G’s jeep as we crossed the entire state. I read the second two as borrowed copies from the library. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest was read in late spring, mostly on the beach.

I read the last two books of the Hunger Games trilogy this year. Both on my Nook that I got for my birthday in March (read about that adventure here).

I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in May. It took me five days to read it. I read it in the midst of an emotional crisis. I remember finishing it on the beach on a breezy, cool day by myself. I remember people walking by, but I don’t remember anything specific about those people because I was so engrossed in the book. I was alone as I read it. I went to the end of the island and turned off my phone and I faced my towel towards the horizon and I devoured the atrocity that was the medical field.

This year, I am selecting The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks as my book of the year. I am selecting it for many reasons and before I do an entire post on it I feel the need to collect and focus my thoughts on the book a little bit more. However soon, look for my 2011 book-of-the-year post. Until then, revisit last year’s post on The Help which I selected as my 2010 book of the year.

Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Christmas, Have a blessed new year. Until Next Time…

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