Top Shelf in May: LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren

 

BookPeople

This review comes from BookPeople Inventory Manager Jan Day

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Shaking off the dregs of winter, we’ve finally shed our coats and exposed our naked limbs to the sun, shining more on our upturned faces. Sunshine is never more welcome than in springtime. (We haven’t been crushed by those three-digit heat waves that will inevitably arrive within a few weeks.) We share this with plants. Plants and humans both open up during the spring.

Lab Girl, a memoir of green life by three-time Fulbright scholar recipient Hope Jahren, begins in the cold winter of Minnesota where Jahren grew up playing in the lab of her earth scientist father. The cold was not limited to the elements, however; Jahren describes the lack of emotion shown within Scandinavian families which eventually led her to building an unusual familial-professional relationship with Bill, a disaffected loner who became her full-time research partner and (sometimes literal)…

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Wicked Wit: The New & Noteworthy Book Club Discusses Margaret Atwood’s The Stone Mattress

October’s book club pick. Demi and I are getting really good at our selections.

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Margaret Atwood writes, “Calling a piece of short fiction a ‘tale’ removes it at least slightly from the realm of mundane works and days, as it evokes the world of the folk tale, the wonder tale, and the long-ago teller of tales.” Tales, as we are familiar with them, also evoke the idea of youth, innocence, and darkness–rites of passage into adulthood. Atwood turns this on its head by writing about adults who are facing endings rather than beginnings.

This collection begins with three linked stories about a love triangle among bohemian artists in the 1960s, told from the present day. Each member of the triangle has gone on to pass the decades separately. In “Alphinland,” Constance (C.W.) Starr, a widowed author of an enormously famous fantasy series, navigates the mundane task of preparing her home for a snow storm, all the while listening to the disembodied voice of her…

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Scrumdiddlyumptious! – Celebrating Roald Dahl

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dahl books spines

Roald Dahl’s arguably most widely known book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is fifty years old this year. Since its publication, countless children and parents have delighted in the humor, adventure, and imagination of the story. Many have waited breathlessly with Charlie Bucket to see a Golden Ticket inside the wrapper of his chocolate bar.

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If one hasn’t read the book, it is almost impossible to have not seen either of the film adaptations that bring the mysterious and fantastical factory to life in brilliant Technicolor, trademark songs, and memorable visuals (Violet Beauregarde turning into a blueberry is my personal favorite). More than any of Dahl’s other works, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has permeated popular culture and even spawned a candy line named after the candy maker, Willy Wonka. In addition to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dahl’s books almost always feature a hero that the reader…

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