Friday, June 29, 2012

The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean

Genre:  Non-Fiction

Published by:  Little, Brown and Company

Pages:  Soft Cover

Rating:  9 JAGS 

How does our DNA influence culture, art, and a person’s libido? The Violinist’s Thumb and other lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as written by our Genetic Code by Sam Kean is the perfect introduction into genetics. He explains the race to map the Human Genome with wit and humor while at the same time, break-down the history to why and how science exploration in unraveling our genetic code is gaining momentum.

I will admit I was daunted by reading about a topic I wasn’t really that familiar with. Other than TV crime drama and cable, DNA defined for me was something you didn’t want to leave at a crime scene, or a memory about that lamb they cloned in Europe. The Violinist’s Thumb opened up a whole new world of interest in the topic of DNA, RNA and what mapping our genetic code could do to our future. Sam Kean explained it perfectly with intelligence, humor and honest truth. My only quarm with this book was that it was only 389 pages long.

This is a definite purchase new for anyone interested in learning how our DNA has shaped our evolution through time and civilization, and the scientists racing to prove it. See it! Grab it! Buy it!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This Bright River by Patrick Somerville

Genre:  Fiction

Published by:  Little,Brown and Company

Pages:  Soft Cover

Rating:  4 JAGS


In Patrick Somerville’s new book, This Bright River, Ben Hanson is lost in life living aimlessly day to day- no carrier, no prospects, and no ambition. He is approached by his father to move back to the sleepy town of Ben’s youth, St. Helen’s, WI to take care of his recently deceased Uncle’s home. He accepts, and with that, memories of his childhood and the mysterious death of a cousin he left behind.

Lauren Sheehan, Ben Hanson’s formally estranged high school lab partner and formally Dr. Lauren Besco, has been divorced for four years from a man she thought she knew- and she too is lost in life living in St. Helen’s, WI.

As fate would have it, Ben and Lauren meet up again, and the self discovery begins. They drive from Madison to Milwaukee, and all over Wisconsin to learn the truth about Ben’s cousin, and in doing so, learn to unburden their lives and to look for a connection with honesty and trust. 

At exactly the 200th page, and I remember this because I glanced up to the top right, I silently asked myself; “Did I miss something?” I honestly imagined myself as a therapist as I read this story. Each time I opened this book, I felt like I was in an hour session with the main characters. Not to mention, they all had to have smoked a joint before coming to therapy.

 It felt like work. Something’s were funny and the story even made me feel nostalgic, but I felt better finishing This Bright River then I did starting it. The back drop of small town Wisconsin living was surprisingly accurate and comical. I would not purchase new, but wait for it on resale shelves…reduced resale shelves. Keep the gift receipt if you get it as a present.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

From The Corner Of His Eye by Dean Kootz

Genre:  Fiction

Published by:  BantamBooks

Pages:  Hard Cover

Rating:  8 JAGS

Imagine a tale of Faith, Love, Quantum Mechanics and a lengthy work of fiction woven into a tapestry of character development, and you would have Dean Koontz’s story, From The Corner Of His Eye.  Enoch Cain, otherwise known as Junior, is a methodical narcissistic killer with an obsessive compulsive disorder for self-help books and the death of Bartholomew. After the murder of his wife Namoi, Junior is haunted by the spirit of another one of his victims, Police Detective Tom Vanadium and the hunt to find a mysteries stranger. 

One of Koontz’s more dazzling works, he takes you on a wild ride of wonder through the streets of a quiet town in the woods of Oregon, to the rustle and bustle on the streets of San Francisco during the 60’s, where free love and expressionism are finding root and building a movement. From TheCorner of His Eye is a story in a story, keeping you engrossed in what could happen next, and surprising you when you least expect it.

A highly recommended read, From The Corner of His Eye is a definite purchase new or used. With a published date of 2000, chances are you will have better luck finding a copy on the shelves of your neighborhood resale bookstore, but if you happen to find a copy at one of the major bookstore chains, the $20.00 investment in a good read and will not leave you with buyer’s remorse.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Impact by Douglas Preston

Genre:  Fiction

Published by:  Forge

Pages:  Hard Cover

Rating:  8 JAGS 

Worlds apart, literally and figuratively, Douglas Preston’s Impact explores the devastation of global catastrophe originating from the Red Planet. What seems like a run of the mill meteor entering Earth’s orbit that crashes into the sleepy fishing village off of Maine has a devastating impact in the jungles of Cambodia. Wyman Ford, ex-CIA, is called in to find the mining camp deep in the jungle and the source of a new mineral found on Earth’s surface that has a radioactive nature not known to man. Little does Ford realize is, that the Rebels soldiers are the least of his worries. 

Back in Maine, Abbey and Jackie, two young women with dreams of fortune, set out to find the meteor and hopefully score a one way ticket out of a mundane life. What they didn’t expect was to be caught up in a game of espionage and murder as they team up with Ford to try to save the planet from global extinction and an ancient alien technology threatening an unimaginable war of worlds.

A definite purchase new! A great afternoon read that will leave you wanting more. The New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston explores the possibility that we are, and never were, alone in the universe.