Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Some quick reviews on the books I've read in August and September..


And the Mountains Echoed—Khaled Hosseini—BEAUTIFUL book.  Written in the most amazing, heart-breaking way.  I cried at many parts.  Explored struggles between social classes, race, poverty, role of a child vs adult, living in a different culture than your own, how a lifetime of sacrifice can result in happiness, (although it’s okay if you pursue your own path as well).  Money can’t keep shame and sorrow out of wealthy households!!  Normally I am bored with overly descriptive writing, but Hosseini paints wonderful pictures with his prose. 

Dear Girls Above Me--Charles McDowell—Laugh out loud funny!  Not really the most inspirational of books, but a quick beach read.

A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home--Sue Halpern—I am a sucker for a feel-good book involving dogs and old people!  This is a powerful story, but written in a humorous light. I’ve always believed in the animal’s power to heal human spirits.  This was an easy, but inspirational read.  “Our hearts should never be so wrapped up in our affairs and problems that they fail to hear the cry of the poor… Reaching out to others and opening our hearts to their needs can become an opportunity for salvation and blessedness”.

Best parts:  “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.  I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.  I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings.  I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.  I wish I’d let myself be happier."

“What are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?”  -Mary Oliver

10 Make or Break Career Moments--Casey Hawley—This book was filled with useful interview tips, networking ideas, and branching out into entrepreneurship.  More on this book when I review "Lean In", which is what I'm currently reading.

Bared to You--Sylvia Day--Which came first?  50 Shades or Sylvia Day?  Seemed like a bad 50 Shades knock off.  I found this book to be boring, but at least the relationship between Eva and Gideon seemed to be more realistic than Christian and Anastasia of 50 Shades.  I did not continue reading the 2nd or 3rd books of this series, as I did not find it necessary.

El Amor Como Forma de Vida--Gary Chapman--Voy a escribir mas de este tema y libro mañana.

The Art Forger--B.A. Shapiro--This book was so interesting!! I loved the characters, the honesty of Claire, her mission to connect the past with the present, and her struggle to be original, while working as a forger.  I learned a lot about art as well.  Never knew so many pieces of art were copied in the world!
            
Ordinary Thunderstorms--William Boyd--This book was really interesting as well.  What should you do if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Do you try to explain what happened, and risk losing your freedom and independence?  Or do you not take that chance, and live a life on the run?  Are you willing to give up everything to live penniless?  Since the e-book expired before I could finish…What happened to Adam?  Was he ever discovered that he wasn’t Primo Belem? Did he adopt Ly-on?  Was the connection between Kagan and killer of Wang ever discovered?  I'll have to wait to meet with my book club to find out!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks--Rebecca Skloot—FASCINATING story about a woman who forever changed the world of science in the late 20th century.  Little is known/taught about her in K-12 schooling.  The woman behind “HeLa cells” should be known with the same popularity as Jonas Salk or Alexander Fleming, but sadly, because she was a poor black woman, she changed the world without even knowing it, and her legacy has lived on in too small of a capacity.  Interesting how Dr. Gey was more worried about science progressing forward, he didn't think to patent his inventions like the drum machine, culture material or the HeLa cell line. Unlike doctors and scientists of today, he wasn't thinking about his stock options and profit sharing or accepting 500kUSD to buy a new yacht.   The money earned from tissue and cell samples should be reinvested back into research.  Dr. Gey and his wife lived comfortably-- they didn't starve, or go without medicine. But the Lacks family did!

As per this book, it seems certain companies should not be so greedy about their profits, they should be helping people first and increasing access to their screening tests; not making it impossible for people to save themselves.  That is the problem with commercializing everything in this generation; ethics goes out the window when people are clouded by greed for wealth and power.  We need to adopt a mentality of "what is good for the greater good of the group".

We see this same trend in other areas which Americans are suffering under debt. Sallie Mae rakes in big profits off college students eating ramen noodles, unable to find a job after graduating.  Education and health care should be NON-PROFIT industries!! When they are for-profit, integrity is compromised!  Shouldn't education and health care be considered basic human rights??

This also further irritates my dislike for research companies that raise billions of dollars EVERY year in the pursuit of eradicating cancer, lupus, autism, etc, and look to the "little guy" to raise money and fund the research when the patent pirates should be the ones donating the money, which again would be for the benefit of the greater good of the group!

Powerful quote: "Like a used tissue in the waste basket of a doctor's office, once a tissue or blood sample leaves your body, you have no control over it, nor the money the sample will generate".

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