Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Finds - February 19, 2010

 
This meme is hosted by MizB at Should be reading.
  
 
 

Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2010: From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution--and her cells' strange survival--left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories?

 
(Saw this one on Savidge Reads Blog)
(amazon)

In the house of the mosque, the family of Aqa Jaan has lived for eight centuries. Now it is occupied by three cousins: Aqa Jaan, a merchant and head of the city's bazaar; Alsaberi, the imam of the mosque and Aqa Shoja, the mosque's muezzin. The house itself teems with life, as each of their families grows up with their own triumphs and tragedies. Sadiq is waiting for a suitor to knock at the door to ask for her hand, while her two grandmothers sweep the floors each morning dreaming of travelling to Mecca. Meanwhile Shahbal longs only to get hold of a television to watch the first moon landing. All these daily dramas are played out under the watchful eyes of the storks that nest on the minarets above. But this family will experience upheaval unknown to previous generations. For in Iran, political unrest is brewing. The shah is losing his hold on power; the ayatollah incites rebellion from his exile in France; and one day the ayatollah returns. The consequences will be felt in every corner of Aqa Jaan's family.

Good To a Fault; Marina Endicott
(amazon)

Canadian writer Endicott's second novel (and stateside debut) is an enjoyable and affirming meditation on altruism, goodness, and loneliness. The quiet, circumscribed world of divorcée Clara Purdy gets shaken up when she gets in a car accident with the Gage family, who are homeless and have been living in their car. In the aftermath, the mother, Lorraine Gage, is diagnosed with cancer, and Clara takes the family into her home while Lorraine undergoes treatment. The father absconds almost immediately, and Lorraine's mother, Mrs. Pell, proves to be deeply unpleasant. Clara, however, continues to visit Lorraine in the hospital, tend to the three children, and eventually takes in Lorraine's alcoholic brother as well. Her willingness to go to such lengths for strangers is a perpetual curiosity to those around her, and just as the Gage family solidifies around her and she begins a new relationship, Lorraine's health takes a surprising turn and Clara must decide again, what is the right thing to do. Endicott's rich writing struggles to find its groove at first, but the balance of prose, plot, and purpose soon evens out into a touching story.

Did you find some of your own that you'd like to share with the rest of us? Please say YES!

22 comments:

  1. Your finds are enough for two, Diane! And they do sound quite intriguing. My only "finds" are some short stories--I am collecting their links, gathering them in one place. :)

    Happy Friday!

    (P.S. I do have some reviews on Amazon, but probably not enough to qualify for Amazon Vine at this point in time.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow... I like all the 3 you have enlisted here!
    Oh My, what am I gonna do with so many finds :(

    ReplyDelete
  3. I added The House of the Mosque to my wishlist as well. It sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great finds! I just bought Henrietta Lacks last week and can't wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just bought Henrietta Lacks for my Kindle. I read too many "best book I've read in a long time" and "read in one sitting" reviews. I've been reading a lot of non-fiction this year, but I'm enjoying it, even as it slows my reading down!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks sounds amazing. I'd never heard of her before, but not that I have, I'm totally adding this to my TBR pile. Great picks all around this week!

    My Friday Finds are over at bookwanderer!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks got added to my list this week, too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looks like you found some good ones this week. I have an award for you at The Crowded Leaf.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Henrietta Lacks book looks fantastic! I'll be checking that one out for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey there,

    I stumbled across your blog and I saw that you're a dedicated follower of literature, so I wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I'm currently setting off an a journey you may be interested in. My goal is to read all of the Pulitzer winning novels in one year and write a memoir about my experiences. I would love it if you checked it out and gave me some feedback as I journey along!

    You can follow me at www.thepulitzerblog.blogspot.com

    Cheers,
    Drew

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really want to read that Henrietta Lacks book. It sounds great!!!

    -Amy
    Life by Candlelight

    ReplyDelete
  12. I bought GOod to a Fault on a business trip to Toronto last year - I can't wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You featured some great ones there. I'm really intrigued by the last one!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I came across The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks somewhere recently, and it looks like an interesting read! Good finds!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Diane, I have added you to the BBA -I wonder how it is that you are not on the list! I read your site all the time and my main source is the BBA :)

    HA... I'm going crazy.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Mari,

    I have no idea, but I never noticed the site before today...LOL

    Thanks so much

    ReplyDelete
  17. The House of the Mosque looks really good. Thanks for introducing it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I also read the house by the Mosque review on Savidge Reads which I found very appealing. However since the possibility of getting it is very remote regretfully the review will have to suffice.

    I have The Amber Room next on my reading list - I have seen good reviews on this book and though there are heaps of books available I am going for this first.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Those all look great but I am really intrigued by the House of the Mosque! I'll have to go check it out!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have heard really good things about this book and have put it on my wish list. Are you thinking about reviewing this one? I would be really interested in hearing what you think of it if you do!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oops! I was referring to the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks! I read your paragraph on it and jumped over to respond before seeing the other two books! I have had The House of the Mosque on my list for quite some time as well. It looks like a wonderful read.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Drew...I checked out your blog, and your project is certainly ambitious.

    Heather,

    Thanks for all the comments today...wow catch up day huh? LOL

    I try to review every book I read hear, but I have a feeling it'll be a while before I get the Henrietta Lacks book from the library...30 before me I think.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.