Good Reads – May 2013

ReadingBench

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall.  The first lines, “For days, I’d been searching Mexico’s Sierra Madre for the phantom known as Caballo Blanco – the White Horse.  I’d finally arrived at the end of the trail, int he last place I expected to find him – not deep in the wilderness he was said to haunt, but in the dim lobby of an old hotel on the edge of a dusty desert town.”  I loved, loved, loved this book!  I downloaded it as an audiobook and literally couldn’t put it down!  Summary from Goodreads: “Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.  Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.”  (5/5 Stars)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.  The first lines, “Thank you for buying this book.  Or, if my publisher’s research analytics are correct, thank you, Aunts of America, for buying this for your niece you don’t know that well but really want to connect with more.  There are many teenage vampire books you could have purchased instead.  I’m grateful you made this choice.”  A lot of friends have enjoyed this book, and since I wanted to get into a lil’ bit more of the non-fiction world, I thought I would give it a try.  I thought it was just…ok.  Although I found only a few really good laugh out loud funny parts, overall, I enjoyed the point of view from this celebrity autobiography.  Summary from Goodreads: “In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door-not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.”  (3/5 Stars)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.  The first lines, “There’s a photo on my wall of a woman I’ve never met, its left corner torn and patched together with tape.  She looks straight into the camera and smiles, hands on hops, dress suit neatly pressed, lips painted deep red.  It’s the late 1940s and she hasn’t yet reached the age of thirty.  Her light brown skin is smooth, her eyes still young and playful, oblivious to the tumor growing inside her – a tumor that would leave her five children motherless and change the future of medicine.  Beneath the photo, a caption says her name is ‘Henrietta Lacks, Helen Lane, or Helen Larson.'”  This was such a unique story, or rather two stories – one of the infamous HeLa cells that have contributed so much to medicine and science, the other is of Henrietta Lacks and her ancestors, who were never told that part of her lived on.  I also felt that the author did her best to make sure that her readers, lacking a medical degree, were able to understand most of what she was talking about in the scientific realm.  And she does a great job of making you feel like you are really sitting there with Henrietta and the rest of her family.  Summary from Goodreads: “Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa.  She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.  Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.” (4/5 Stars)

BooksMay2013

What has been your favorite read of 2013 so far?  Any recommendations for me? xoxoJen

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One thought on “Good Reads – May 2013

  1. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Born to Run and your review is no different. As I get more and more into running, I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one. : ) Thanks!

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