2016 Book List

Time for the annual book list. Reading pace slowed down quite a bit on account of a little side endeavor (school). Hopefully I’ll find my new study groove in the new year and pick up the reading pace again.

  • (F) The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, 4 stars
  • (F) The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, 4 stars
  • (F) The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, 3 stars
    • Got kind of tired of the storyline and just wanted to hear the resolution
  • (NF) In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, 5 stars
    • Wildly hilarious travelogue
  • (F) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, 5 stars
  • (F) The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, 5 stars
  • (F) Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams, 5 stars
  • (F) So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams, 4 stars
  • (F) Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams, 4 stars
  • (F) Jurassic Park: A Novel by Michael Crichton, 5 stars
    • Y’all have you read this?? Lexie recommended the book so I picked it up. LOVED it and loved Crichton’s references to the scientific/research world
  • (F) The Lost World: A Novel (Jurassic Park Book 2) by Michael Crichton, 5 stars
  • (F) Sphere by Michael Crichton, 3 stars
    • Liked the premise of the book, but became a “meh” read later in the book
  • (F) The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton, 5 stars
    • LOVED this book. It’s a classic robbery story set with interesting characters with tons of trickery
  • (F) The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton, 4 stars
    • Classic scific. It’s even easier to envision a situation like this given our capabilities in biological manipulation. Don’t even get me started on CRISPR tech…
  • (F) Timeline by Michael Crichton, 3 stars
  • (NF) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, 5 stars
    • Heartbreaking book addressing life and death. Read it first as a library book but am going to purchase a copy for my own bookshelf.
  • (F) Cat’s Paws and Catapults by Steven Vogel, 4 stars
    • Great insights on how man-made and nature-made things are similar/different
  • (F) The Martian by Andy Weir, 5 stars
    • Recommended by Lexie. Even if you’ve seen the movie, the book is out-of-this-world good
  • (NF) How We Die by Sherwin Nuland, 4 stars
  • (F) LOTR Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, 5 stars
    • Obsessed with Tolkien!!
  • (F) My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, 3 stars
    • I had pretty high expectations for this book because of all the press it received but was disappointed. An average story about two girls growing up and their love/hate relationship
  • (F) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, 4 stars
    • Loved this fantasy tale about 3 Londons, wizards, and magic. An all around fun story and an escape from med school
  • (F) A Gathering of Shadows (ADSOM Book 2) by V.E. Schwab, 4 stars
    • The fantasy continues with the second book in the trilogy! Schwab keeps you turning the pages !! But the book ends with a GIANT CLIFFHANGER and the third (and last) book doesn’t come out until February :/
  • (F) A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, 4 stars
    • Sad yet beautiful tale

How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter

Hi Friends. I’ve been bouncing around between Jacksonville and Atlanta these past several weeks looking at condos, attending Michelle’s graduation, and shopping for a cello. So big news: Michelle graduated from law school and is now a lawyer! She has to take and pass the bar exam before she can be called an attorney. Other big news: we bought a condo in the Virginia Highland neighborhood of Atlanta. It’s a little over 3 miles from Emory. Importantly, it’s close to Piedmont Park and the Beltline thereby fulfilling my one essential requirement of nearby running trails. I’m really looking forward to only having to move once for the next 4 years.

I just finished reading How We Die by Sherwin Nuland. There were heaps of nuggets of gold in the book. Biggest take home: ars moriendi, the art of dying aka the “Good Death” or death with dignity, is not always possible. Often, biomedical science and medicine hinders one from it. But “Ars moriendi is ars vivendi: The art of dying is the art of living. The honesty and grace of the years of life that are ending is the real measure of how we die. It is not in the last weeks or days that we compose the message that will be remembered, but in all the decades that preceded them. Who has lived in dignity, dies in dignity” (268). These were some other passages that struck a chord.

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Cats’ Paws and Catapults

Nothing super exciting on the home front. I’ve been practicing cello like a maniac (trying to catch up on a 2.5 month loss) and reading lots of books. My “to read” list keeps expanding at a rate faster than books added to my “read” list. Most recently, I read The Martian by Andy Weir (thanks Lexie for the recommendation) and it was AWESOME. For reference, I started it yesterday afternoon and finished it this morning. But before that, I spent two weeks on Cats’ Paws and Catapults by Steven Vogel, which Katrina recommended a while back (read: Beach Week 2012).

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Books and a video

While in AUS and NZ, I had quite a bit of time to read. Here’s what kept me occupied and laughing. (When I like an author, I get a bit obsessed.)

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
  • Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams
  • Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  • The Lost World (Jurassic Park Book 2by Michael Crichton
  • Sphere by Michael Crichton
  • The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
  • The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
  • Timeline by Michael Crichton
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Continue reading “Books and a video”

“Once air hits the brain, it ain’t ever the same”

Last week, Dr. Hanel consulted a patient on how to treat the patient’s aneurysms. He could opt for no surgery and monitor his aneurysms (not unreasonable given their size and location), have open surgery to clip the aneurysms, or have a neurointerventional radiology procedure aka coiling (minimally invasive, through the groin procedure). The patient said he definitely didn’t want to do the clipping procedure and Dr. Hanel replied, ‘Yes, I told you that option for full disclosure. You know as they say, once the air hits the brain, it ain’t ever the same.”

Continue reading ““Once air hits the brain, it ain’t ever the same””

2014 Book List

Meant to post this before the end of 2014, but better late than never! A chronological list of the books I read last year and occasionally some brief notes on what I thought. I highly recommend the bolded books. Happy reading! Looking forward to more great reads this year!

  • (F) The Ocean at the End of the Lane, 4 stars
  • (F) Stardust, 5 stars
  • (F) The Interpreter of Maladies, 5 stars
    • poignant description of human nature, not always happy but a lot of Truth buried in Lahiri’s stories
  • (F) Unaccustomed Earth, 3 stars
    • stories seemed hackneyed after reading so many of them as Lahiri relies on many of the same themes
  • (NF) The Emperor of Maladies, 4 stars
    • slow at some parts but an Mukherjee is an engaging writer
  • (NF) Man’s Search for Meaning, 4.5 stars
  • (NF) Why Does the World Exist?, 2 stars
  • (F) Love in a Time of Cholera, 3.5 stars
    • Insightful piece into Marquez’s ideas of what constitutes love and what keeps a marriage together. Marquez created a striking illustration of how marriage during middle- to old-age is based more upon habit/routine and stability rather than on love or passion.
  • (NF & F) The Opposite Of Loneliness, 3 stars for F, 4 stars for NF
  • (F) The Goldfinch, 1 star
    • Interesting premise but the book was in serious need of a good editor. Tartt’s lack of consistency in her character descriptions was the most annoying part of the book. Hard for me to take seriously the “depth” of her characters because she kept changing things about them. Extraneous details with choppy logic flow, especially at the end when she tries to draw a point about good/bad/gray lines of life. The “aha” moment was didactic rather than enlightening.
  • (NF) Eat Pray Love, 3 stars
    • Gilbert’s prevailing humor made what could be dense topics into light, funny anecdotes.
  • (F) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, 4 stars
  • (F) Re-visited: Howl’s Moving Castle, 5 stars
    • Love the approach to doors and the different places to which they can lead
  • (F) The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy), 1 star
    • Only read this in order to finish the series. I do not recommend the series. Harkness is inconsistent and wordy. Additionally, there are major plot holes as well as spotty character/plot development.
  • (NF) Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, 5 stars
    • It’s hard to believe what we, as humans, are capable of doing, both the good and the bad
  • (F) The Dinner, 4 stars
    • Captivating plot that made for an easy read
  • (F) 100 Years of Solitude, 4 stars
    • Beautiful prose, but hard to keep track of characters
  • (NF) Blood and Guts, 4 stars
    • Gory but great read and retells the surgeries with great details
  • (NF) The Examined Life, 3 stars
    • Kind of disjointed; the stories were short and Grosz tried them together in themes of “love” or “change” etc, but it didn’t work for me.
  • (NF) Being Mortal, 4 stars
  • (F) The Rosie Project, 3 stars
    • Cliché ending
  • (F) Keep the Apidistra Flying, 2 stars
    • Very negative, but then again, it’s Orwell