Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Sixth Extinction

This isn't my usual read. Non-fiction about the end of the world. 

I listened to it as an audiobook because my daughter needed to read it for her ecology class. 

The subject matter is fascinating. The focus is how we as humans are capable of destroying species of life throughout the globe while simultaneously being the only species capable of saving those that are endangered through our own recklessness. 

Ms. Kolbert takes us across the globe to examine amphibians, acidic oceans, and bats among so many others to show how humans impact is real and sadly, in many cases, our efforts to save those endangered are past saving. 

Ms. Kolbert, while giving proper names, doesn't get fussy with the scientific jargon which allows the average reader easy access to understanding what's happening to our earth. And how are the only ones who can slow down the process of ruination of our home planet. 


A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino.

Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Lobotomist's Wife

Unsurprisingly, I read this for book club, otherwise I wouldn't have heard of this book, much less picked it up to read. Thank goodness for book club or I would've missed out on an excellent story. 

I do enjoy historical fiction, and this one even has a romantic thread, though this isn't a true romance. 

Ms. Woodruff does an excellent job of putting us in Ruth's shoes. I sympathized with her, cheered her on, and worried when her life took an unexpected dark turn. 

And I kept fact checking. Ms. Woodruff kept true to the historical details, while also bringing this story to life in her own way. Dr. Apter isn't the name of the man who champtioned lobotomy use in the US but is a deeply fashioned proxy to the original. 

Ms. Woodruff also described the process of the procedure without being gory, rather choosing to show the consequences of the thankfully shelved practice. 

I recommend this to anyone who wants a good look into the world of medicine regarding mental health during the post WWII period. 

An enthralling historical novel of a compassionate and relentless woman, a cutting-edge breakthrough in psychiatry, and a nightmare in the making.

Since her brother took his life after WWI, Ruth Emeraldine has had one goal: to help those suffering from mental illness. Then she falls in love with charismatic Robert Apter—a brilliant doctor championing a radical new treatment, the lobotomy. Ruth believes in it as a miracle treatment and in Robert as its genius pioneer. But as her husband spirals into deluded megalomania, Ruth can’t ignore her growing suspicions. Robert is operating on patients recklessly, often with horrific results. And a vulnerable young mother, Margaret Baxter, is poised to be his next victim.

Margaret can barely get out of bed, let alone care for her infant. When Dr. Apter diagnoses her with the baby blues and proposes a lobotomy, she believes the procedure is her only hope. Only Ruth can save her—and scores of others—from the harrowing consequences of Robert’s ambitions.

Inspired by a shocking chapter in medical history, The Lobotomist’s Wife is a galvanizing novel of a woman fighting against the most grievous odds, of ego, and of the best intentions gone horribly awry.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Grape Seed Falls

So much fun to watch how this series unfolds, meet all the characters, see how they interconnect, and of course watch cowboys fall in love with their counterparts as they overcome both internal and external struggles. 


Seven cowboys, from billionaires to brothers, and the women who tame their hearts and make romance happen in Texas Hill Country... The complete Grape Seed Falls Romance collection in one boxed set!

Book 1: Choosing the Cowboy: Maggie Duffin is all set to inherit her father's farm supply store in Amarillo, Texas. With only girls in her family, and Heidi now married and living at Three Rivers Ranch, she feels a sense of duty and family loyalty. Which is honorable—if it wasn't for her boyfriend, cowboy Chase Carver. So he sets out on a quest to find his own ranch. But with financial trouble and personal issues around every corner, both Maggie and Chase will have to rely on their faith to find their happily-ever-after.

Book 2: Craving the Cowboy: A ranch owner in Texas Hill Country, a horse trainer, and a romance for the ages...

Book 3: Charming the Cowboy: A cowboy billionaire bachelor, the woman who's been crushing on him, and a fateful accident at his boarding stable...

Book 4: Courting the Cowboy: A restaurant heiress, a dating app, and the cowboy just down the street she's sworn off...

Book 5: Claiming the Cowboy: A cowboy with a chip on his shoulder, a farrier who's got no roots, and their second chance at making a life together...

Book 6: Catching the Cowboy: A cowboy who can't get off the ranch to meet anyone, a stylist who hasn't been on a second date in a year, and the relationship that starts when they're stranded in a cabin together...

Book 7: Cheering the Cowboy: A cowboy with anger management issues, the woman whose ranch he "stole," and their chance to get everything they want for Christmas...including each other.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Remarkably Bright Creatures

This was a book club pick. Good thing too or I wouldn't likely have read it. Not because it isn't well written. It's simply not my go-to genre. 

I admit I was skeptical when I read the premise. An octopus solves the mystery of a long lost son and restores joy to the night cleaning lady in an aquarium?

But it works. Really it does. In fact, the octopus might even be my favorite character. 

There are several threads to follow but as the book matures, the threads weave tighter forming a beautiful picture of the characters' lives and how they blend together and form attachments. An excellent tapestry with heartfelt humor. 


After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late. 

Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.