Book two. Read Divergent first.
I give up trying to review the middle book in any trilogy. I read Insurgent, I am still hooked, need book three as fast as Veronica Roth can write it.
In a magical version of Renaissance Italy, the daughter of a sculptor/mage finds herself embroiled in a deadly political dispute as she struggles to free her father’s soul, which a wicked lord wants to imprison in a magic ring.
Lois McMaster Bujold crafts a suspenseful tale of intrigue, sorcery, and politics that really satisfied me. The Spirit Ring is grounded in the kinds of real squabblings that mark territorial disputes, and the magic serves that story, rather than being the sole purpose of the story. It’s also a love story, and quite an unconventionally romantic one. I definitely prefer McMaster’s fantasy to her scifi, and this is now one of my favorites of hers.
One family’s attempt to eat locally for a calendar year.
I am a bit late to the game in reviewing Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’d read so much about the book that I couldn’t really imagine how it could be more than just “eat local food in season, it’s better for you and better for the planet.” Color me apologetic for my arrogance–the book (and website) are packed with so much useful information that even a city girl like me felt empowered to eat much more local food. I’m not saying I’ll give up bananas, but I’m finally going to try canning this year. I’ve always wanted to give it a go, so this year I’m going to buy a slew of tomatoes and see what I can do with them. I’m also embarking on year two of my garden, starting with some organic, heirloom seeds for herbs, cucumbers, and peppers, all of which did really well on my balcony last year. And I’m going to try making cheese! I love to cook and I love projects, and I think making mozzarella will be a fun activity for my older daughter’s homeschool preschool coop.
The audiobook is read by Kingsolver herself, who has a lovely speaking voice. She’s especially charming when talking about her younger daughter’s passion for raising chickens. She’s joined by her husband and her older daughter. It was a really great listen.
Dead for 11 minutes after crashing through an icy lake, Delaney now finds herself inexplicably drawn to people who are dying–with frightening results.
Fracture has the kind of premise that makes me nervous that I’m just going to end up skimming the thing because I can guess everything that’s about to happen. I’m not going to say that this was the most innovative plot I’ve ever encountered, but it had its share of surprises, not to mention some great sexual tension between Delaney and her best friend Decker. I enjoyed reading the book and will definitely be checking out more by the same author.
I’m a month late, but I’m thankful for 5 years running Reading is my Superpower. I’ve read 900 books in that time!
An examination of the challenges facing parents and educators of girls, from endocrine disruptors in our plastics to texting and the internet.
Just as he did in Why Gender Matters, Dr. Leonard Sax brings science and biology to bear on the unique challenges facing girls. His is not an approach that patly accepts culturally constructed notions of gender. Rather, in Girls on the Edge, he shows how the biological differences between girls and boys affect their participation in sports and the classroom, as well as how their psychological differences influence the ways in which they interact socially, both positively and negatively. A must read for moms of girls.
What drew you to set your story in medical school?
The readers of my Midwife books kept asking for a sequel. It seemed too farfetched to send her to medical school, but then I thought her son or daughter could go. But neither personality lent to that. Of course, I was a bit narrow-minded because the Midwife is based on my paternal grandmother and her children n my dad and aunt to some extent. My aunt became an opera singer, my dad a …. Well a gunrunner was one of his jobs! (Really an international businessman.) But I did research a woman in medical school at the time, and found it fascinating—like the rule about having only 4 women at Cornell because they had to dissect together and they would only allot one cadaver to females.
Is Rozy based on a real person? Could you describe a bit of your process for inventing your protagonists?
Rosalind is the name of my “Auntie Mame”—my mother’s best friend, who lived in NY and had a very glamorous life—and enabled me in many ways and cheered me on. But she was into PR and the art scene. So I had to go looking for women docs of the period and was able to interview many. If you look at my acknowledgements, you will see that many are deceased. I interviewed many in the last years of their lives. (This book took awhile for a long list of reasons.)
I love to cut and paste from my experiences as well as those of family members and friends. For instance, Rozy’s accident with acid in her eyes really did happen—to my husband, but not in a chem lab. It was a big trauma for us and very painful for him. He’s a cameraman so you can imagine our fears, but he’s fine.
Where did you find accounts of female medical students from the time period?
I read lots of books by women who were docs then and of course my interviews. I did some in nursing homes. One interesting item kept coming up—many of them contracted TB….and I decided that should be a theme.
Why did you choose to place Rozy’s journey against the backdrop of WWII?
I arrived at that time period looking at where the Midwife’s children might be and also because there were still docs around to interview through the American Women’s Medical Association. Also, I was interested to learn that when the men went to war that the women docs left behind ended up running the hospital departments-but lost their authority when the men returned. I was going to make more of this, but it seemed a bit strident and it was time for my characters to move on to private practice etc.
How did you discover Dr. Martin Couney? Why didn’t we get to see more of him? I would’ve loved watching Rozy learn from him.
He was a fortuitous accident. The timing was perfect for the World’s Fair and I researched it as a field trip for Rozy and friends—a place for romance to develop. Originally I had a bigger scene with Alex and Rozy, but I felt I was rushing things and to let Bernadette and Nick have the stage right then. So, checking out the pavilions I came across Dr. Couney. Blew me away. So I started researching him and the other preemie docs of the period. One was the doc of the Dionne quintuplets in Canada who built Quintland as an attraction around them. I wrote quite a bit more about Dr. Couney, but this book was huge and that section was a bit stilted and thick with research rather than a natural relationship. Plus, Dr. Couney was considered a carney and charlatan. I thought it better to go back to Dr. Budin and the other specialists and be more clinical for someone in Rozy’s position in a fine university hospital. Of course the experiment on the triplets was unethical—but whose to say that sort of thing did not happen?
Do you have any plans for books about any of Rozy’s friends? I’m dying to see more of Claire both in the convent and as a world traveling epidemiologist!
Gosh, I sort of sent Claire to the convent…I did not expect her to start traveling, but why not? I am very interested in tropical diseases. My best friend died of fulminating malaria after a week in Haiti with our son. And that son has spent the last 4 months living in a safari van in Kenya with his wife filming a documentary on hunger. So, if readers like this book, why not?
It would be interesting to show how much one person—and some inoculations
can do to change a society. But my next books are centered on a fictional look at my volunteer work as a Guardian ad Litem in the Florida courts.
Thank you so much for your time!
Thanks to all of you!
You don’t start a blog called Reading is my Superpower without have a strong geek contingent in your DNA strands. So I was delighted to see that my dear friend and geek goddess RPG editrix Amanda Valentine was one of the masterminds behind Speak Out With Your Geek Out, an internet confab to celebrate all things uncelebrated except by people who get why dragons make books better.
I hid my geek for a long time because I moved in a world where I didn’t know any. I couldn’t get book recommendations, much less have a conversation about them. So I slaked my desires for the supernatural, paranormal, fantastic, and epic by reading Stephen King over and over and over.
And then I made a friend who recommended Assassin’s Apprentice, and the abovementioned Amanda Valentine told me about a little book called Game of Thrones, and my brother discovered The Dark Tower. And I was off!
Now I fly my geek flag high and proudly. I happily read books my husband calls “vampires in space.” I’ve gotten to interview awesome fantasy authors like Peter V. Brett and Jeffrey Overstreet. My geek aspirations were fully realized when I was hired to contribute a section to the Smallville High School Yearbook.
I love books where I can get lost in another world–literally another world. I recently tried and gave up on Nicole Krauss’s celebrated The History of Love because it just never reeled me in. I appreciated her literary aspirations and command of language but I was left wondering, “Where is the plot?” I’m not against books that want to traffic in the everyday–and certainly The History of Love had a lot of poetry, magic, and history in it–but I need a story more than I need a beautiful experience. And nobody does story like geeks!
An EMT falls in love with a reckless patient, who then abandons him and their daughter, and he struggles with whether he should let her back in.
I blazed through Rescue, which doesn’t have the strongest of plots but offers an emotionally compelling story nonetheless. Though it takes a turn for the melodramatic near the end, I stayed with the characters because I found them to be so real. It didn’t offer any grand revelations, nor did it make my toes tingle, but it was a pleasant enough read.
A poor little rich girl heads to the NOLA after her daddy gets sent up the river for embezzling.
I was hoping for a trashy roman a clef and instead I got a poorly written snooze-fest. Not that I was expecting a whole lot by way of literary merit, but I was at least hoping for some insider-y gossip. Priceless just should’ve been a whole lot more fun.
Many thanks to Atria for the review copy.