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Showing posts from November, 2016

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (2010)

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot


                Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951. While on the operating table receiving treatment, the surgeon on duty took two samples from Henrietta without her knowledge. Those samples were then sent to another doctor where her cells were grown in a lab. The cells were labeled HeLa, from the first two letters of her first and last name. Her cells would continue to be grown and distributed to labs around the world. HeLa cells behaved unlike any other cells and would be flown into space, tested numerous times and would help in research against some of the most virulent and well known diseases. HeLa cells changed science. But Henrietta Lacks wouldn’t know about any of that. She would die in October 4, 1951. Her family wouldn’t learn about her “immortal” cells until two decades later. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a comprehensive look at Henrietta’s life, the affect the HeLa cells had on science, …

Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Christopher Dickey

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Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South by Christopher Dickey

When people look back on the history of America’s Civil War often the focus is solely on the effect this war had on the United States and its ability to own slaves. Rightfully so. The idea of a country splitting itself in two so half of that country can own human beings is extremely problematic and questions not only the morals of that country but where it will continue to stand in history. What makes Our Man in Charleston stand out from other Civil War historical books is that the focus is towards Britain and the man partly responsible for keeping Great Britain out of the war. That man was the British Consul in Charleston, South Carolina, Robert Bunch.                 I can honestly say that the majority of the information provided within these pages, is information I had never been privy to. It’s interesting and scary to imagine how different the outcome of the war may have been if a man like R…

Columbine by Dave Cullen (2009)

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Columbine by Dave Cullen

                On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed thirteen people at their high school before shooting themselves. The footage was shown on every news station for hours. Rumors began immediately about them being bullied, members of the Trench Coat Mafia, outcast, Goths. For a while the police weren’t sure if there were only two shooters, maybe there was a possible third. At the end of the day, 12 students and a teacher were murdered, many others were injured and the two young men who committed the crimes turned the gun on themselves and took their own lives. One young man escaped by pushing himself out of a window, even though he was horribly injured, into the arms of the Swat team. I learned later of the young girl who professed her faith before being killed. I remember the footage and I remember the horror and the fear that came from that day. I also remember the accusations and the focus on bullying. I even remember Marilyn Manson being…

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (2008)

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The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein


                Enzo isn’t afraid of what comes next. He knows that when he dies, he will leave his canine body behind, and become a human. He saw that on a documentary and believes it to be true so he isn’t afraid. He will miss Denny though. Denny chose him out of all the puppies at the farm. He took him home and loved him. Taught him everything there is to know about racing and then expanded the family to include his wife Eve and their daughter Zoe. But when Eve got sick things began to change. Their schedule became completely different. Denny was afraid to leave and race. Enzo saw everything and it’s their story that he is telling now. The story of his family, the love they shared and the life he lived with them.                 This is one of those books that make you think about every single relationship you have and how it affects everyone around you. The idea of having the dog narrate the story was brilliant. Enzo is an amazing charac…

Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers by Stephen Shames and Bobby Seale

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Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers by Stephen Shames and Bobby Seales



Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers is a collaborative effort between photographer Stephen Shames, Bobby Seale and other members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense to tell their story. Their efforts are extremely successful with the amazing photography and the gripping oral history within this book. The images speak for themselves. They are extremely powerful, reflecting the life of a member of the Black Panther Party in the sixties. The oral history provided by the many members gives the necessary context for the photos so one can truly understand the message they were trying to convey and their purpose. This book isn’t meant to be an in depth look at the entire history of the Black Panther Party. It does though provide a great introduction to leaders of the party, their goals, struggles, ideologies and their community outreach. An all-around great read with amazing visual…