Tag Archives: science

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

Overview
206 Bones by Kathy Reichs - Penguin Books Australia

Title: 206 Bones
Author: Kathy Reichs
Series: Temperance Brennan #12
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Anthropology, Crime, Science, Strong women
Dates read: 10th July – 14th August 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Arrow
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: Perhaps that, too, was contributing to my newfound serenity.

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Synopsis

When Dr. Temperance Brennan is accused of mishandling the autopsy of a missing heiress, a routine case swiftly turns sinister. But before Tempe can get to the one man with the information she needs, he turns up dead.

In Montreal, three elderly women are found murdered, their bodies brutally discarded. Even though the clues don’t add up, Tempe is certain of a link between their deaths and that of the heiress.

Has Tempe made grave errors, or is she being sabotaged by an unseen enemy? What is frighteningly clear is that more than just Tempe’s career is at stake. Her life is also at risk.

Thoughts

This probably wasn’t my favourite Temperance Brennan novel thus far. I had to keep stopping and starting. And I really didn’t get swept away in trying to figure out the culprit from the very beginning like I usually do. Not to say that it wasn’t still a fantastic novel. It just wasn’t quite as amazing as some of the other books in this series. It felt a little like a connector story – at least that’s what I found.

Although I wasn’t immediately swept away by 206 Bones, I did like that this took a bit of a departure from the style of the other novels in the series. For starters, it begins with Tempe being trapped. And then proceeds to flash between two time frames. Not necessarily a format and tactic that I love all the time in a novel. But it did work really well for this story line. After all, instead of trying to figure out who the murderer was, you spend a lot of time wondering who attacked Tempe. It added an extra, unexpected layer of mystery to the storyline.

I did love the fact that you pretty much know part of the ending of the story before you actually know the beginning. That, partnered with the main crime was quite intriguing. After all, I haven’t yet read a series or crime novel that focuses on the murders of elderly women. Which I feel like there should probably be more – they’re a fairly vulnerable group of people.

Although I liked the murder story and the overall rebuilding (I think) of Ryan and Tempe’s relationship. I seriously love that all throughout, you know that someone is out to get Tempe and you are constantly wondering who it is. Why. And just what is going to send them over the edge and driving an individual to commit such a crime.

<- Devil BonesSpider Bones ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs

Overview
Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Devil Bones
Author: Kathy Reichs
Series: Temperance Brennan #11
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Anthropology, Crime, Science, Strong women
Dates read: 26th May – 2nd June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Arrow
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: “She is one proud young lady.”

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Synopsis

An underground chamber is exposed in a seedy, dilapidated house. In the dark cellar, a ritualistic display is revealed: a human skull rests on a cauldron, surrounded by slain chickens and bizarre figurines.

Called to the scene is forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan. She determines that the skull is that of a young, black female. But how and when did she die? Just as Tempe is closing in on answers, another body is discovered: a headless corpse carved with Satanic symbols.

As local vigilantes begin a witch-hunt, Tempe struggles to contain her emotions. But the eventual truth proves more shocking than even she could have imagined.

Thoughts

This is probably the least spine-tingling Temperance Brennan book that I’ve read in a while. Which isn’t a bad thing. It’s nice to have a change of pace and not finish one of these novels with goose bumps up my arms and the need to check in every nook and cranny for a predator… it’s refreshing and definitely something I somewhat appreciate. It was nice to finish a crime novel in which you had to find out who the culprit was, and had a few moments of heart-racing action, but not as much as the other stories.

One of the aspects of Reichs’ writing that I always enjoy is the way in which she is able to take an honest and open approach to a number of different belief systems and lifestyles. In the case of this story, it was one near and dear to my heart – that of Wicca and some other beliefs which aren’t really considered main stream. It was nice to read such an open view, one that neither encouraged nor discouraged the belief. It was informative and open, a great way to explain some belief systems which are often demonised.

My one big issue with this novel – there were SO many questions left unanswered. Not about the crime… that was all tied up neatly as they so often are. But there were so many unanswered questions about some of the personal aspects of Tempe’s life throughout the story. Mysteries that I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the answers too. Although, it maybe just be the fact that I didn’t notice the hints and such…. I’m going to just have to read the next book to see if I missed something, or the questions are answered then. And, annoyingly, since I don’t like giving away spoilers in reviews, I can’t bitch and moan anymore than that (my partner DID get an earful though).

Tempe’s alcoholic history really comes to life in this story too. Which I think may be a bit of the cause of this not being such a spine-tingling story – it is intense and great. But, most of the really heart-pumping action (for me) came from dealing with those emotional issues that are rife throughout. Not the criminal.

Normally I can see the villain coming in a crime novel like this. But I really didn’t pick up on who it was AT ALL. I love when I’m surprised. And I’d be interested to see if years down the track on a reread I can pick up the hints that I’m sure are peppered throughout or not…

<- Bones to Ashes206 Bones ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Crime & Criminology by Rob White, Fiona Haines & Nicole L. Asquith

Overview
Crime & Criminology, 6th edition by Rob White | 9780190307301 ...

Title: Crime & Criminology
Author: Rob White, Fiona Haines & Nicole L. Asquith
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Non-fiction, Psychology, Science
Dates read: 24th March – 26th May 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 1996
5th sentence, 74th page: In particular, society itself could be studied as if were external to the observer.

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Synopsis

Crime and Criminology provides a concise yet comprehensive introduction to the study of crime. This sixth edition explores the key theories that explain criminal behaviour in society, providing students with the opportunity to evaluate how criminologists employ these theories in analyses of criminological issues.

Written by an expert author team, this tewntieth anniversary edition has been thoroughly updated to inclued new examples and expand on new directions in crime and criminology.

The book includes learning features designed to engage students in criminology by demonstrating how criminological theory can be placed in both a historical and contemporary context, and how it both frames and draws from research. It provides learning pathways beyond specific theories, equipping students with the skills to understand their own theoretical perspectives, and the social context, history and concepts of each criminological theory.

Thoughts

This is one of those textbooks that you end up reading the whole thing throughout the entirety of a course. And I was honestly wondering whether or not to include it in my reviews and reading for the year. And then I realised that a) I did read it, so it should be included. And b) even if this isn’t a novel, it’s still a book that had authors put a lot of effort into it, and I should recognise that with a review.

This is a very easy and accessible textbook. It encompasses so many different psychological theories that help to explain crime. But it does so in a very open and accessible format. Particularly when considering how difficult I sometimes find wadding through theoretical information.

The division of each chapter was brilliantly done – it gave you a historical perspective that actually provided information and not a list of names. And it did so in a consistent manner throughout the text. There were also great contemporary examples and a number of case studies. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and couldn’t stop thinking about the many aspects of criminology that were bought to life.

<- More PsychologyMore Science ->

Image source: Booktopia

Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs

Overview
Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Bones to Ashes
Author: Kathy Reichs
Series: Temperance Brennan #10
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Anthropology, Crime, Science, Strong women
Dates read: 11th March – 6th April 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Arrow
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Contact with acid or some other caustic chemical?

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Synopsis

Dr Temperance Brennan takes on a case that uncovers horrors she could never have predicted.

It is the skeleton of a young girl, no more than fourteen years old – and forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is struggling to control her emotions.

The coroner is being evasive, insisting the bones are ancient and of no interest. But this doesn’t feel right, and Tempe is convinced that someone is hiding something.

Working on instinct, Tempe takes matters into her own hands. But what started in the lab quickly becomes her most harrowing, and personal, case yet.

Thoughts

I haven’t picked up Reichs for a little while, and now I’m getting back into her writing. And… wow. There is just something so unforgettable about her works that makes you cringe, and continuously want more. And Bones to Ashes was no exception. Plus, you finally get to find out a little bit more about what happened to her little brother Kevin, and so many other parts of her past that you just didn’t know you needed!

One of my favourite things about Reichs’ writing is that it is so well researched and you always learn something new when you turn that final page. In the case of Bones to Ashes, it was learning about leprosy that really intrigued me and swept me away. A disease that I have heard bits and pieces about, but never really known any crucial details about. So, as Temperance researches and discovers, I got to learn alongside her. And I was completely fascinated!

As the story progresses, Ryan and Tempe’s relationship disintegrate… even though it’s kind of sad, you don’t really get punched in the heart as much as you would expect. Probably because there is still the hint of something between them and they continue to feature heavily in each other’s lives. Something that would normally really bother me as a plot line was dealt with so maturely and realistically that it felt like a part of life, after all, relationships do disintegrate. There is not always a happily ever after. And it sucks. Completely.

This is a fantastic read. Not as fast-paced as the last few Temperance Brennan books, but, somehow far more intense because of the slow-build. Plus, it deals with the sex trade, which is something that always makes me incredibly uncomfortable and squeamish. Combine that with childhood memories and a relationship on its way out… this is definitely one of my favourite Temperance Brennan books thus far.

<- Break No BonesDevil Bones ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs

Overview
Image result for book cover break no bones

Title: Break No Bones
Author: Kathy Reichs
Series: Temperance Brennan #9
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Anthropology, Crime, Science, Strong women
Dates read: 31st January – 6th March 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Arrow
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: In one fragment, I was sitting in a circle at an AA meeting.

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Synopsis

Dr Temperance Brennan and her students are working on a site of prehistoric graves on an island near Charleston, South Carolina, when a decomposing body is uncovered in a shallow grave off a lonely beach.

The bones are fresh and the remains are still topped by wisps of hair – it’s a recent burial, and a case Tempe must take.

She determines that the deceased is a middle-aged white male – but who was he? And why was he buried in a clandestine grave?

Before long, another body is discovered – and Tempe finds herself drawn deeper into a shocking investigation which will challenge her entire view of humanity.

Thoughts

It’s been a while since I picked up a Temperance Brennan book. And I had honestly forgotten how damn amazing the writing in these are. Not just the great science behind the criminal investigation (which, lets face it, that alone would have me intrigued). But also the touching storyline, the intriguing mystery and the intense reveal at the end. There is a reason that I started reading crime novels after I picked up my first Kathy Reichs novel.

One thing that always makes me laugh a little at the Temperance Brennan stories is that Tempe ALWAYS manages to get herself into some kind of trouble. There is always a moment that she is in danger because she just can’t let the mystery lie. She has to discover the truth. Alright, laugh may not be the right word… I’ve jumped out of my skin a few times when she’s attacked, I did in this story! But it’s an intriguing story tactic – one that not only ups the stakes, but, since you suspect something bad is going to happen to her at some point, you also spend most of the story with your heart in your throat…

This Temperance Brennan story deals a little more with Tempe’s relationship to ex-husband (or estranged, whatever), Pete. Although he’s made many appearances in past novels, he is actually present throughout the majority of this one. Which is quite interesting. That dynamic between two people who have ended their relationship, but still have close ties to one another. And it goes beyond the fact that they share a child together. I loved this insight into not only Brennan’s relationships, but also a relationship dynamic that I have never experienced or witnessed up close. Yet more insight into a world that I am not intimately familiar with.

The culprit, the motive and the activities of the “bad guy” in this story were seriously creepy. Somehow, the reasons behind the killers’ killing were enough to bring up goosebumps, even after I had guessed it before the great reveal. There was just something spine-tingling about it, probably because it is a more likely motive than just the run of the mill serial killer…

<- Cross BonesBones to Ashes ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

A Field Guide to Insects of Australia by Paul Zborowski & Ross Storey

Overview
Image result for book cover a field guide to insects of australia

Title: A Field Guide to Insects in Australia: Third Edition
Author: Paul Zborowski & Ross Storey
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Insects, Non-fiction, Science
Dates read: 2nd November – 28th December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: New Holland Publishers
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Nymph of the snake mantis, Kongobatha diamentata, Mantidae (15 mm long)

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Synopsis

Whether you’re an amateur insect enthusiast, a student or an entomologist, this completely revised new edition of A Field Guide to Insects in Australia will help you to identify insects from all the major groups.

With more photographs, species and up-to-date information, A Field Guide to Insects in Australia will enable you to differentiate between a dragonfly and a damselfly or a cricket and a grasshopper. You’ll find cockroaches, termites, praying mantis, beetles, cicadas, moths, butterflies, ants and bees. More than 300 colour photographs show the insects in their natural habitat, while many line drawings clearly illustrate subtle differences where identification is tricky.

Thoughts

I bought this book in my Undergrad, hoping that it would help me identify some of the bugs in my backyard down to species level. Back then I didn’t know how insanely difficult that was. But now? As an adult? I realise that this book isn’t quite for that. It can help you identify insects down to their orders. Beautifully so. I didn’t feel like I was reading a textbook while reading this. I actually found it incredibly fun and intriguing.

The images in this book are a great way to crystallise all of the information which was being provided to you throughout. As each order and suborder was provided, a number of gorgeous pictures were placed next to them. Many of which I either recognised, or vaguely recognised from similar species. I thought the pictures were completely beautiful. Although I am a total bug geek. So that might have something to do with my happy feelings about the pretty pictures.

Alongside the information about each order and suborder, this book provides information about where you are most likely to find each group. These extra pieces of information are so helpful with identifying a specimen down to order. And I’ll probably be using the Hymenoptera section heavily when it comes to identifying my specimens collected for my PhD.

Although my favourite part about this book was the breakdown of each order, I also loved that the start of this book talked about trapping, catching and preservation. I remember the vast majority of this from my Undergrad days, but it was nice to have a refresher. Again, accompanied by pictures to help you view what was being discussed.

 <- More insect reviewsMore non-fiction reviews ->

Image source: Goodreads

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh by Carl Zimmer

Overview
Image result for book cover she has her mother's laugh

Title: She Has Her Mother’s Laugh
Author: Carl Zimmer
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: BiologyNon-fiction, Science
Dates read: 1st – 13th December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text, Novel
Publisher: Picador
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: He wasn’t any fonder of that school either, considering it nothing but “a convenient way to keep the sons of rich Philadelphia Quakers out of mischief.”

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Synopsis

Carl Zimmer presents a history of our understanding of heredity in this sweeping, resonating overview of a force that shaped human society–a force set to shape our future even more radically.

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh presents a profoundly original perspective on what we pass along from generation to generation. Charles Darwin played a crucial part in turning heredity into a scientific question, and yet he failed spectacularly to answer it. The birth of genetics in the early 1900s seemed to do precisely that. Gradually, people translated their old notions about heredity into a language of genes. As the technology for studying genes became cheaper, millions of people ordered genetic tests to link themselves to missing parents, to distant ancestors, to ethnic identities. . . .

But, Zimmer writes, “Each of us carries an amalgam of fragments of DNA, stitched together from some of our many ancestors. Each piece has its own ancestry, traveling a different path back through human history. A particular fragment may sometimes be cause for worry, but most of our DNA influences who we are–our appearance, our height, our penchants–in inconceivably subtle ways.” Heredity isn’t just about genes that pass from parent to child. Heredity continues within our own bodies, as a single cell gives rise to trillions of cells that make up our bodies. We say we inherit genes from our ancestors–using a word that once referred to kingdoms and estates–but we inherit other things that matter as much or more to our lives, from microbes to technologies we use to make life more comfortable. We need a new definition of what heredity is and, through Carl Zimmer’s lucid exposition and storytelling, this resounding tour de force delivers it.

Weaving historical and current scientific research, his own experience with his two daughters, and the kind of original reporting expected of one of the world’s best science journalists, Zimmer ultimately unpacks urgent bioethical quandaries arising from new biomedical technologies, but also long-standing presumptions about who we really are and what we can pass on to future generations.

Thoughts

I remember studying genetics and heredity in my first year of Biology at University. It’s not the most engaging of subjects. Actually, it can be downright tedious at times. I was a little bit hesitant at reading this book. I really only got it to try and complete the Pick Your Poison reading challenge. Which meant I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this so much.

This is one of the best approaches to genetic and heredity explanations that I have ever come across. Instead of just reporting the facts (as most classes and textbooks have to do), it’s full of stories. Anecdotal tales of heredity across the ages which are then used to explain how genes are passed on from mother to daughter, father to son, so on and so forth. And it all starts with a personal story, pulling you into Zimmer’s journey from the beginning – because it actually affects him.

This is definitely a book that I’ll reread in the future. It’s one that has so much information in it that you can’t possibly absorb it all the first time. And, unlike some of the non-fiction books I’ve read, I’m actually looking forward to rereading this. After all, it relates directly to my own field of obsession (ecology), and, if I want children in the future… it will affect them too.

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh is not only a great read, it is also incredibly informative. The mix of personal and informative is perfectly balanced and seriously enjoyable. Not the kind of book that I’m likely to forget at any point in the future.

 <- More biology reviewsMore science reviews ->

Image source: Booktopia

A Guide to Native Bees of Australia by Terry Houston

Overview
Image result for book cover a guide to native bees of australia

Title: A Guide to Native Bees of Australia
Author: Terry Houston
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Insects, Non-fiction, Science
Dates read: 16th October – 29th November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: As the bee immatures reach maturity and pupae give rise to adults, the mite nymphs moult to become hypopi and mount their new bee hosts in preparation for being carried out of the brood cells to begin yet another cycle.

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Synopsis

Bees are often thought of as yellow and black striped insects that live in hives and produce honey. However, Australia’s abundant native bees are incredibly diverse in their appearance and habits. Some are yellow and black but others have blue stripes, are iridescent green or wasp-like. Some are social but most are solitary. Some do build nests with wax but others use silk or plant material, burrow in soil or use holes in wood and even gumnuts!

A Guide to Native Bees of Australia provides a detailed introduction to the estimated 2000 species of Australian bees. Illustrated with stunning photographs, it describes the form and function of bees, their life-cycle stages, nest architecture, sociality and relationships with plants. It also contains systematic accounts of the five families and 58 genera of Australian bees. Photomicrographs of morphological characters and identification keys allow identification of bees to genus level. Natural history enthusiasts, professional and amateur entomologists and beekeepers will find this an essential guide.

Thoughts

This book has been insanely helpful to my understanding and knowledge of native Australian bees. A lot of what I’ve witnessed in the field was supported and further expanded by this book. Yet, it was also filled with approachable language that even people who don’t pursue a PhD would be able to understand. Not something I often find in my science books.

The layout of this book is wonderfully logical. It starts with an overview of Australian bees, starts to go into the specifics of their biology and then, finally, ends with a breakdown of the specifics of each family found within Australia.

There’s not much more I can really write about a nonfictional text in an interesting manner. But, suffice it to say that I would be referring to this a lot as I march around the bush in search of pollinators and other interesting invertebrates.

 <- More insect reviewsMore science reviews ->

Image source: CSIRO Publishing

The Inventions, Researches, and Writings of Nikola Tesla by Nikola Tesla

Overview
Image result for book cover inventions, researches and writing of nikola tesla

Title: The Inventions, Researches, and Writings of Nikola Tesla
Author: Nikola Tesla
Series: Barnes & Noble Leatherbound
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, History, Non-fiction, Science
Dates read: 16th October – 15th November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Non-fictional text
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Leatherbound
Year: 1995
5th sentence, 74th page: Fig. 61 is a vertical cross-section of the motor.

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Synopsis

The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla is the definitive record of the pioneering work of one of the modern world’s most groundbreaking inventors. During the early twentieth century, Nikola Tesla blazed the trail that electrical technology would follow for decades afterward. Although he pioneered inventions like alternating current (AC), radio, wireless transmission, and X-rays, and worked with innovators like George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison, the once celebrated Tesla was later largely forgotten by history. With illustrations and diagrams of many of Tesla’s early patents and inventions, as well as dozens of thought-provoking lectures and articles, this volume offers a rare glimpse of a true genius at work.

The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla is one of Barnes & Noble’s Collectible Editions classics. Each volume features authoritative texts by the world’s greatest authors in an exquisitely designed bonded-leather binding, with distinctive gilt edging and an attractive silk-ribbon bookmark. Decorative, durable, and collectible, these books offer hours of pleasure to readers young and old and are an indispensible cornerstone for every home library.

Thoughts

This was an interesting, fun and open read. I mostly bought it because I needed it to complete a reading challenge, and well, the cover was really, really pretty. What I didn’t expect was that I would enjoy this adventure so much… after all, it’s been quite a while since I picked up anything physics-related.

Physics is an incredibly intense and fun subject – one that I’m kind of realising I miss a bit. This book explains that fact really well – not only is the use of electricity really intricate and intense, but this collection actually manages to explain it in a really fascinating way. And accessible… you don’t need a physics degree to understand what discoveries and creations Tesla came up with. The diagrams also go a long way to helping you understand exactly what engines, power sources and discoveries he made.

I did really enjoy the biographical aspects of Tesla’s life throughout this as well. Although it was very science-heavy, there was just enough of the personal to keep even the least scientifically-minded person engaged. So, not only did I learn a lot about what the actual discoveries, researches and inventions of Tesla were, I also learnt quite a bit about his personal journey and life in his obsession with electricity.

 <- Dracula and Other Horror Stories ReviewBeauty and the Beast and Other Classic Fairy Tales Review ->

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Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Overview
Image result for book cover lab girl

Title: Lab Girl: A Story of Trees, Science and Love
Author: Hope Jahren
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Memoirs, Nature, Science
Dates read: 21st – 27th October 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Fleet
Year: 2016
5th sentence, 74th page: I started to leave, but hesitated when Bill looked up at last.

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Synopsis

Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more.

Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.

Thoughts

This book is absolutely freaking amazing!!! Not just because it is written so well and about the natural sciences. But also because I connected completely to what Hope Jahren was saying. She recalls her years in her PhD, the weirdness that is her obsession and just life as an academic in general. I might just be starting out in that life… but there was so much that was relatable. And it made me feel better about all of my multiple freak-outs and insecurities…

Lab Girl has most certainly become my all-time favourite memoir. Partly because it is in an area that I am more intimately familiar with than almost any other. But also because it deals with a lot of hidden issues in life. Talks about mental health. Focuses on what it takes to become who you want to be. Yet weaves throughout botanical knowledge and scientific principles that almost feel like coming home.

There is no one in the world that doesn’t have to deal with self-doubt. That doesn’t feel like others are judging them and querying their every move. That make them think they are somehow less. Add to that a mental health issue and being a female in a traditionally male-dominated career… it’s a tough world out there. And Jahren faces up to the realities of this fearlessly. Yet, she does so with a healthy dose of humour and light that doesn’t feel bitter and contrived. That doesn’t make you angry at the system, just understanding of the challenges faced.

Hope’s relationship with Bill is amazing. All throughout, he is her voice of sanity and reason. The person who has her back and supports her no matter what she does. We all need someone like that in our lives. Whether it is a co-worker, a friend or a lover… it doesn’t matter the amazing power of their relationship made me so incredibly jealous. I don’t know that I’ve ever had someone totally appreciate my world in that way, and it is something that I would love to find in my professional life – someone who is obsessed with invertebrates just as much as I am.

This is one of those memoirs that I’m never, ever going to forget. It is intense, wonderful and intriguing. The perfect miss of personal anecdotes, science and the telling of reality merge together fantastically. I can understand why it was on a summer reading list, and I’m so glad I succumbed to the compulsion to buy it!!!

 <- The Last Black Unicorn ReviewWhen Breath Becomes Air Review ->

Image source: Wikipedia