Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Turn the Page... Tuesday

Hello Book Lovers!
I'm sorry I've been away these last few months.
But now, I'm back and have caught up on a lot of reading, so here are my reviews.

For those of you who don't know about Turn the Page... Tuesday, visit Adrienne's blog at Some of a Kind to learn more... then play along!

I've completed FOUR books since I last blogged about them back in February.

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
This is the 2nd in "The Millennium" Series - where we learn more about Lisbeth Salander's dysfunctional family and upbringing.  The story was far less interesting than the first book (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) in that the story dragged, you didn't really care about the characters, and you kept waiting for something to happen.  That something did finally happen (in the last 50 pages of the book), but it was a long time coming.  If I hadn't felt compelled to finish it before I watched the movie by the same name, I could have easily just put it back on the shelf without a need to go back.
I have The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest waiting for me, but I don't know if I'll make time to read that for a while, if ever.

 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
I have mixed feelings about this book.  My Book Cub read it for our May meeting and it seems many of my fellow members were conflicted about it as well.
The story starts in the 1940s/50s when Henrietta "donated" her cancer cells to science (without her consent or knowledge).  Ms. Skloot's investigation tracks the HeLa (Henrietta Lacks) cells and Henrietta's very poor, uneducated, and highly dysfunctional family for 50-years.
We learn of the numerous scientific breakthroughs attributable to the HeLa cells (vaccines, AIDS research, etc), but then have to weigh that against the ethical issue of taking Henrietta's cells without her consent.  Then, there's the question of money - how many scientists achieved money and prestige from these ill-gotten cells?  Should it matter, since the studies are helping so many around the world?
It's funny - for me, my struggle was not the bio-ethical issue raised by some, it was more of the story itself.  This should not have been a full-length book.  Instead, it could have easily been made into a journal article or paper.  Explain the science and mention the family - not create a long, drawn out drama.  I gave the book a 3.0.

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Sookie is BACK!
I finally bought last-year's Book 10 in the Southern Vampire Series.  What fun it was to get back to Sookie and her strange world.  "Big thinker" book this was not... but a nice, light, almost-summer read.  Plus... I was quite pleased that poor Sookie didn't get too bumped around this time.  In fact, she seemed to be a rather strong character in this episode.
Ha!  I just noticed that the title is really quite appropriate this time... lots of family stuff in Dead in the Family.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Ohhhhh, what a wonderful story!  You MUST read it!
Kate Morton puts the essence of The Forgotten Garden perfectly on her website -
... a lost child.
... a terrible secret.
... a mysterious inheritance.
This book follows the lives of three generations - all with their strengths and quirks... and more dysfunction.  But you fall in love with each of them (even the "bad" ones) and can't wait to turn the page to find out more.  In addition to the main story, the author includes "fairy tales" written by Eliza, the main character, that illuminate the feelings (or the truth) behind the story.
I have recommended this book as my Book Club's Summer Read - I'm excited to lead the discussion and hear what the ladies have to say about it.

I can't wait to see what others have read this month - I'm working on Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier now - which I KNOW one of the TTP...T participants read recently.  I'm a little less than half-way through, so I expect I'll be talking about it next month.

Thanks for visiting!  See you in July!


Adrienne said...

So glad you are back! I read the Girl triology - felt the same about #2 - #3 is much better. Take a break from Lisbeth and then pick it up again.

Read HeLa for book club too! Having gone to college in SW Va and doing 2 internships in very rural parts of the state, I'm sad to say that there are many who still live as Henrietta's family did over 50 yrs ago. Heartbreaking.

RC is on my list to read ... can't wait to hear what you think.

My reading is slowing down these days - schools out and it's pool time ... not such a bad thing ;-)

Paula said...

I LOVED The Forgotten Garden! Such a good book. I so agree on falling in love with all of the characters and I can't wait to read more Kate Morton one of these days!

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Argh....My daughter has to read "HeLa" for college and I figured it would be a good read too. Now, I'm not too sure. At least for me, it's optional. Not for her.

Debi said...

The Forgotten Garden sounds intriguing... I'm adding it to my list to read.