I did a lot of reading in December, partly due to some persistent insomnia. Rather than toss and turn and disturb my husband, I go to the couch and read until my eyes start to burn. Here's what I read this month:
**Second Glance by Jodi Picoult--This was published in 2003 and is different than Picoult's usual formula. She tackles ethical issues for sure, in the form of the Vermont Eugenics Project of the 1930's, but there is no courtroom battle and the whole book is told from the same point of view. It's also a ghost story. I enjoyed it very much, and it also sent me to the computer to read more about eugenics, which I knew very little about.
**Endangered by Ann Littlewood--I picked this up at the library because of the cover art. It's the third in a series of zoo mysteries, written by a former zoo keeper. Having once worked with exotic animals (in a veterinary office setting), I could appreciate the author's expertise and details. I also enjoyed her final note about adopting exotic pets, and I learned a lot I didn't know about animal smuggling. The mystery was good too, and I've added the first two books to my to-read list.
**The Bone Woman by Clea Koff--Koff is a forensic anthropologist, and she participated in UN efforts to exhume mass graves in Rwanda, Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia and charge those responsible for crimes against humanity. Much of the book is her talking about her emotions during such a grisly procedure, but I also appreciated her details on how bones can say so much about who we were and how we lived our lives. I liked it.
**Son by Lois Lowry--A couple of months ago, I picked up the first in the Giver series. This is the final book, published this year. A quick read, and a satisfying conclusion to the story.
**The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard--Based on the Internet Film by the same name, this book talks about making wise choices when it comes to buying, reusing and throwing away stuff. I agreed with so much of what she says. Most of our electronics are ten years old or more and it has long disturbed me that it's cheaper to buy a new TV or VCR or whatever than it is to fix one that is malfunctioning. However, I had a hard time getting through this book. She makes a lot of excellent points, but it was overall a depressing read.
**A Catered Murder by Isis Crawford--The first in a series I started a couple of months ago. It was good to have the background to how the sisters ended up catering and detecting. I'll continue to read the series.
**The Chardonnay Charade by Ellen Crosby--Number 3 in the Wine Country series. Not my favorite, but a fun read.
**Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry--Number 2 in the Giver series. At first I was disappointed that the characters from the first book are not in this book. But it all comes together if you read all 4 books. As a stand alone, I really liked this one about a society that shuns the weak and the damaged, and Kira, the girl with a twisted leg.
**The Bordeaux Betrayal by Ellen Crosby--Number 2 in the series. I found the history behind the mystery a little hard to follow. But I like the developing relationship between Lucie and her winemaker, Quinn. And I learned more about wine making!
**Titanic's Last Secrets by Brad Matsen--Shipwreck mysteries fascinate me. It's been 100 years since Titanic hit an iceberg and sunk, and what exactly happened is still up for debate. In this book, the wreck divers from Shadow Divers take a stab at the Titanic mystery. I tend to agree with their conclusions. My complaint with the book was the schematic of the ship was nearly impossible to understand. Tiny print with lots of lines everywhere, and it made it hard for me to understand exactly how the ship was built.
**Poseidon's Arrow by Clive Cussler--The latest in Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures. I enjoyed it, but it seems with each book the body count gets higher and the bad guys get crazier.
**Messenger by Lois Lowry--Number 3 in the series. I was happy to see Jonas return. I enjoyed it.
**The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot--Henrietta Lacks was a black woman from Baltimore who died from cervical cancer in 1951. Molecular biology was still in its infancy. From tissue samples from Henrietta's cervical tumors came the first line of immortal cells. From this line of cells came important life saving research on vaccines, cancer, etc. But her family didn't know that her tissue had been taken, and they never saw a cent from what became a huge commercial venture. An interesting read about bioethics, what happens to our tissues when they are taken from us, and a ton of historical information that I did not know. A fascinating and thought provoking read.
Have you read anything good recently?