Saturday, July 30, 2011

These are a few of my favorite books--books I love and that had a real impact on my life

I picked up this "not intended to be a meme" from Bobbi Newman at Librarian by Day. These are all books that made a difference for me, that changed how I looked at the world, and have added to my appreciation of it. I hope you'll find something new and enjoyable to read here, and leave comments about your own favorites.

Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell. This wonderful book about the life of a horse in 19th century England was my first introduction to the idea of truly getting inside the animal's viewpoint. I must have read other books earlier that had "talking animals," but they didn't have the same impact.

Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit. Five children find a Sand Fairy, and get one wish granted every day. They have incredible, delightful adventures, but also learn that getting exactly what you asked for can be more trouble than it's worth! When I was a shy child whose family moved frequently, this book was an enormous comfort to me. I can't imagine that there could be a child in the world whose life wouldn't be enriched by it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Cost of Medical Paperwork

Created by: Medical Transcription

We don't need to be this inefficient. We are the greatest nation on Earth; we can do better for our people. Also for our businesses, for whom these costs are a huge drain that their competitors in other countries don't have to bear.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Amish Nanny: The Women of Lancaster County, by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould--A Review

Harvest House Publishers, ISBN 9780736938617, July 2011

Ada Rupp is a young Amish woman who has learned, in the past year, that she is adopted--the mother who raised her is the sister of the mother who gave birth to her, her "aunt" who left Lancaster County, PA for Switzerland shortly after she was born. Ada also has a sister, Alexandra, two years older, who was adopted by another, English (that's those of us who are not Plain Folk) family in Oregon. That's a lot of upheaval for anyone, but in addition, Ada also learned during the visit of her sister Lexie, that the illness that has limited her all her life can be managed quite effectively. She now has the prospect of fulfilling her dreams, of becoming a teacher and in time marrying and being a wife and mother. Ada has interviewed for the post of teacher in one of the community's one-room schools, and has been told she can count on getting the position. With all this happiness, her always-protective mother gives her permission to travel to Oregon to attend her newly-discovered sister Lexie's wedding.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Sun's Heartbeat: And Other Stories from the Life of the Star that Powers Our Planet, by Bob Berman--A Review

Little, Brown, and Company, ISBN 9780316091015, July 2011

This is a highly readable account of the science of our nearest and most important star, and the stories behind how we have learned all that we know about it. Berman starts with such basics as how we tracked the Sun's movement through our sky and how it governs our agricultural year, to figuring out that it was Earth, not the Sun, that moved, to the latest very startling and disquieting observations of changes in the Sun and how those changes affect us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Get Thee to a Cooling Center!--But We Won't Let Your Equally Vulnerable Pets In

Or even understand the question when you call to ask, until you have explained it five or six times.

The cooling centers have been open for a few days. The warnings are getting stronger and stronger--and on Thursday and Friday, the temperature will be hovering around 100, and the dewpoint around 80%. These are severely unhealthy conditions for humans, and not really any better for pets.

But if there's a municipal cooling center that thinks that's any concern of theirs, I haven't found it yet. Definitely not in either Boston or Lawrence, though. Mass211 doesn't know of any, and doesn't think it's their job to have that information, either. I called the MSPCA--they're concerned with animal welfare, right?--and they thought it was "a great question," but had nothing to suggest except that I call around. Gee, thanks.

Help Brody find a new home

Brody is a charming, goodnatured, and playful West Highland White Terrier, who has had a bad run of luck, especially the last few years. Enlarge the image to read his full story. There are more pictures and a couple of videos at this link: 

Brody stayed loyally by the side of a previous owner, an older gentleman, when the man died, until they were found. He came into Westie rescue, and was adopted out to a couple. They subequently adopted a three-year-old Scottie, and when the two dogs did not get along, they decided to surrender the older dog--Brody.

Brody is a healthy, friendly, wonderful dog, and he deserves better. He's in the care of the Rescue Program of the West Highland White Terrier Club of New England, but he's staying in a kennel and finding it stressful. Take a look at his pictures and videos, and contact Lisa Pacheco for more information.

Not sure about adopting a rescue dog? Take a look at The Adopted Dog Bible from Petfinder, or Second-Hand Dog by Carol Lea Benjamin for information, resources, and guidance.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Count Down to Love, by Julie N. Ford--A Review

Cedar Fort/Bonneville Books, ISBN 9781599555164, July 2011

Kelly Grace Pickens is in love and about to be married--or so she thinks. Her fiance Trevor, who is also her manager for struggling singing career, doesn't show up for the wedding. On the same day, she learns that she's not getting the touring gig she and Trevor had been counting on. She's emotionally devastated and publicly humiliated, and she soon learns that she's also homeless and destitute. Trevor hasn't actually been paying the mortgage on her condo as he had claimed. She's also left holding the bill for the very expensive wedding that didn't happen.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Treason at Lisson Grove: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel, by Anne Perry--A Review

Treason at Lisson Grove: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt NovelTreason at Lisson Grove: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel, Ballantine Books, ISBN 9780345510587, April 2011

Thomas and another Special Branch agent, Gower, are on their way to a meeting with an informant who has vital information about a violent plot by political radicals, but when they come into view of the man, he unexpectedly runs. They pursue, splitting up in order not to lose him in the crowded and maze-like London streets, and catch up with him just in time to see him murdered by another radical, Wrexham. They pursue the killer, and could catch him, but Gower argues it's better to follow him back to whoever he's reporting to, and Thomas agrees. They wind up in St. Malo, France, having had no chance to call or wire Special Branch headquarters at Lisson Grove until after they are across the Channel.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, by Alexander McCall Smith--A Review

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency NovelThe Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, Pantheon, ISBN 9780307378392, March 2011

This is our latest visit with the ladies of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and their family and friends. After many months, epic bride price negotiations with Grace's greedy uncle, and the trauma of Phuti's loss of a foot in a previous book, Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are at last making the final preparations for their wedding day. And Grace is starting to realize how her life will change, when she is married to this man whom she loves and who loves her--and who is wealthy enough that money will never again be a reason not to do something they really want to do.

Meanwhile, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentice, Charlie, has run away, fleeing pressure to marry a girlfriend who has given birth to twins. Mma Ramotswe has a client concerned about two of his cows being killed--a client who is not all that he appears to be, nor is the case of the dead cows. And both Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi keep seeing Mma Ramotswe's old, tiny, white van, sold for scrap and parts months ago. Can cars have ghosts?

These are rich, wonderful, engaging characters, familiar friends that it's fun to spend time with. They continue to grow--but not too fast! They keep coming back to us in gentle, engaging stories, and this one is no exception.


I borrowed this book from my local library.

The Quest for the Cure: The Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines, by Brent R. Stockwell--A Review

The Quest for the Cure: The Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines   The Quest for the Cure: The Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines, Columbia University Press, ISBN 9780231152129, June 2011

The great advances in medicine over the last century have been to a large degree advances in the creation of new and more effective drugs to combat diseases that were previously untreatable. Stockwell tells the story of these advances, how they were achieved, and why--a fact not widely recognized by the general public--the rate of new drug discovery has slowed dramatically, raising the spectre  in the medical and pharmaceutical industries of an end to new drugs.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine, by Marion Nestle--A Review

University of California Press, ISBN 9780520205899, 2008

In mid-March 2007, American pet owners heard the alarming news that several popular brands of cat food were apparently contaminated, and causing acute kidney failure in cats. Then the frightening reports began to include dogs, and then more and more brands, flavors, and types of dog and cat food. Fear, frustration, and anger spread as the FDA held press conferences every Friday afternoon assuring the public that the pet foods remaining on the shelves were safe and wholesome, and Friday evenings after the close of the news cycle, new recalls were announced.