Month: May 2009

While I was on hiatus, two awards came to this blog!
Jessica from The Curious Reader gave me the Lemonade Award, which is to be passed on to 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude (with the usual blog-award rules). I followed this award back to Missy’s Book Nook, and I\’m passing it on to:

Devourer of Books
The Book Lady’s Blog
It\’s All About Books
Pages Turned
Book Addiction
Ex Libris
Jenny’s Books
Books on the Brain
The Octogon

Caspette from the Narrative Causality gave me the Heartfelt Award, which goes to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside. (I feel really silly admitting this, but I don’t know how to upload a gif image to my blog, so the award isn’t shown here. If someone can tell me how to do that, I’ll edit to add it! It\’s really cute). It originated at The Book Resort. My Heartfelt Award nominees are:

Bookfoolery and Babble
Stephanie’s Written Word
Books ‘n Border Collies
Chain Reading
What KT Reads
Maggie Reads
Reading Reflections
Melody’s Reading Corner
A Striped Armchair

A Doctor\’s Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole
by Jerri Nielsen

Whew! It feels like I\’ve been reading this book for a long time. And it\’s not a very lengthy book, I\’ve just had lots of distractions this week. Way back in december I was intrigued by this book from reading two reviews on Hooser\’s Blook. I\’m glad I finally got around to it. Ice Bound is the incredible story of a woman who worked at a South Pole research station for a season, serving as the only physician there for some forty people. Struggling through the aftermath of a bitter divorce, Nielsen saw a season \”on the Ice\” as a grand adventure, a challenge in her career, and a place to get away from everything. For eight months of the year, Antarctica is totally isolated, and totally dark. No light except from the moon, stars, and aurora borealis. Subzero temperatures- a hundred degrees below zero!- make it impossible for planes to land. No new supplies can be brought in, so they have to make do or do without- sometimes in ingenious ways. Something I didn\’t know about Antarctica is that the atmosphere is very thin there- so people often suffer from things like altitude sickness, and the long, dark winters cause mental strain as well. It takes a certain kind of person to live there- and to find such a hostile environment beautiful. (Maybe that\’s why I kept thinking of Annapurna as I was reading). Members of the station- from research scientists to mechanics and cooks- came to form a close community that Nielsen often described as being tribal. When a few months into winter she discovered a lump in her breast that could be terminal cancer, she found out just how solid her friends were, as she literally had to place her life in their hands- training her companions to help perform biopsies and administer chemotherapy, until at the end of winter a rescue plane could get through. A great survival story, full of fascinating information about what it\’s like to live in the coldest place on earth.

I read this book as part of the Non-Fiction Five Challenge.

Rating: 4/5 …….. 362 pages, 2001

More opinions at:
Rice on Ice

The name was drawn this morning. The winner of this booklet of bookmarks is Mari of MariReads. Congrats, Mari! Send your postal address to jeanenevarez AT gmail DOT com and I\’ll mail them off to you!

On other news, I feel I\’ve really neglected this blog lately. What with the kitten, new garden, and other things, I\’ve been rather busy and disorganized. I\’m trying to get back to more reading and blogging, which I really enjoy, but probably at a slower pace. So for a while I might just be posting as I finish books (and I\’m only halfway through Ice Bound, which is excellent!) and not doing very many memes or other extra kind of posts… Please don\’t feel neglected if I fail to comment as often on your blog, or respond personally to remarks left on mine. I\’m still here, and will be back to full blogging strength when things at home lighten up!

I\’ve been so out of it I missed posting for wondrous words on wednesday- so here are my finds, on a friday. Hope no one minds.

These new words are from Dolphin Chronicles:

Proprioceptive– \”A dolphin might have a hard time conveying an accurate acoustic image he\’d echolocated on if the other party didn\’t also have access to his proprioceptive information…\”
Definition: the ability to sense the body\’s location, position and orientation

Antiphonal– \”They often whistle in antiphonal fashion- when one whistles, another calls in response.\”
Definition: occurring or responding in turns

Vicissitude– \”She\’d suffered through the various vicissitudes of the project, all the waiting and all the uncertainties.\”
Definition: a change or variation

Prophylactic– \”Forrest prescribed a prophylactic regimen of antibiotics for both Echo and Misha…\”
Definition: acting to defend against or protect something

Anthropogenic– \”Excluding the mad slasher, anthropogenic causes include fishing nets, pollution, and boats.\”
Definition: caused by humans

Seriatim– \”Not all at once- they don\’t necessarily need to broadcast along the whole length of the bay- but seriatim.\”
Definition: one after another, in a series

These words are from Ice Bound:

Antipodal– \”Other points of departure for the huge continent include Cape Town, South Africa; Punta Arenas, Chile; and a few other antipodal ports.\”
Definition: situated on opposite sides of the Earth

Austral– \”But it was late in the austral summer, and almost everybody was already in place at the three US bases.\”
Definition: relating to or of the southern region of the globe

Ablate– \”I had to surgically ablate the dead skin, cut below it to loosen and stretch it and repair the wound…\”
Definition: to remove an organ or body structure

Sastrugi-\”We were airborne, skimming the tops of sastrugi.\”
Definition: a long wavelike ridge of snow formed by wind

A little deviation from my normal blogging to introduce our new kitten! Adopted from the local humane society this last weekend- and our house has been very busy since. Having a small kitten reminds me a lot of having a baby in the house- but she\’s so cute and delightful. We call her Numa. It\’s hard for me to get a good photo of her because she\’s very quick- and blends in with our awful gray carpet. I\’ve hardly had time to read, or blog- sorry if I don\’t respond to or leave as many comments as usual…

Next item: a giveaway! I was going to do a book this week, but then while gathering books at the local thrift shop found this little treasure. It\’s a small volume of removable bookmarks with bookish quotes on them. They\’re for putting in books you lend out- each one has two tags on the top, one to remind a borrower whose book it is, and the other to keep so you remember who you lent it to. Personally, I rarely loan out my books, but I thought someone else might like to have this. Sorry, two of the bookmarks have been used- but all the rest are free! To someone who leaves their name in the comments here- the winner will be drawn next tuesday, 5/26.

by Carol Howard

Last night I finished this book. It\’s about an amazing project- two \”teenage\” male dolphins were caught from the wild near Florida, taken to California for some research- mostly on echolocation- and then released back into their home waters. Then for a year, follow-up studies were conducted to see how the dolphins readjusted to life in the wild, and for many years thereafter they were sighted on occasion. The two years the dolphins spent in captivity were full ones, and the author makes it clear how intense working with dolphins can be. She\’s honest about the dirty aspects of the job- handling raw fish all day, cleaning algae out of the pools- and the frustrations. Dolphin Chronicles describes all stages of the project- how the capture and transport to California was carried out, how the dolphins adjusted to life in captivity, how they were trained and their responses to humans, how the echolocation studies were done, some trials when one of the dolphins became ill, the difficulties involved in their release, the follow-up efforts, and conclusions summarizing what they learned about dolphins. Along the way there\’s lots of discussion about dolphin communication, and looking at how -via what we understand of their senses- they probably perceive things. While reading about the work with the dolphins was very interesting, the few final chapters about their behavior in the wild and their physiology and mental capacities really grabbed my attention. Did you know that dolphins don\’t dream? The two hemispheres of a dolphin\’s brain are so separate they each get their own blood supply- and when he rests, only half his brain goes to sleep at a time. They can\’t breathe without being conscious, so they don\’t have unconscious sleep like us. I\’ve only read one or two books about dolphins before, so this one was full of new info for me about these fascinating animals.

I almost forgot to mention this is the second book I\’ve read for the 2009 TBR Challenge. (The first one was Adventures of a Zoologist).

Rating: 3/5                304 pages

from Booking Through Thursday:

Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

Of course I\’m a book glutton! I simply can\’t resist. The last time I remember having actually read everything on my shelves was back in high school. Usually I have more books on hand than I can catch up to and still acquire more, somehow. Currently (if my Library Thing tags are up to date) I have about 125 books sitting in the bedroom that haven\’t been read yet. The only way I make any inroads on the piles is due to the fact that if a book just isn\’t interesting me, I have no qualms about clearing it off my shelf. So out of those 125, I probably won\’t like -and won\’t finish- maybe a third of them. And just yesterday I was thinking it\’s about time to go to that thrift store nearby where I can get thirty books for four dollars…. wouldn\’t you?

Here\’s the new words I found in my reading during the week:

From Adventures of a Zoologist:

Noncom– \”… we watched through the windows as noncoms fried steaks on a grill among the snowdrifts.\”
Definition: a subordinate officer appointed from enlisted personnel

Otolith– \”Students at Evergreen State College, on Puget Sound, are finding out what seals eat by examining fish otoliths in seal scats recovered from the beach.\”
Definition: a calcerous particle found in the inner ear; in bony fishes it forms a hard shape distinctive to each species

From Dolphin Chronicles:

Purview– \”Even in a boat it\’s difficult to track dolphins at sea for any length of time, and then we generally see only the surface of their lives- most of their activity takes place under water, beyond our purview.\”
Definition: range of vision, comprehension, or experience

Necropsy– \”They were about to perform a necropsy on Arrow, Jane said, and would let us know the results.\”
Definition: what an autopsy is called when performed on animals

Sobriquet– \”So what better sobriquet than Mikhal Baryshnikov\’s nickname?\”
Definition: an affectionate or humorous nickname (one of the dolphins was named Misha)

Gelid– \”A true athlete- triathlete, actually- with the smoothly muscled physique of a competitive swimmer, she swam regularly in the gelid waters of Monterey Bay.\”
Definition: very cold, icy

Umbrage– \”After some initial umbrage at the appellation, we decided to claim the title as our own: we were the dolphinettes, and proud of it.\”
U: feeling of anger, taking offense
Appellation: a name or title (see above usage)

For more wondrous words, visit the host of this meme at Bermudaonion\’s Weblog.

by Eric Schlosser

This is one of those books I find fascinating and disgusting at the same time. Schlosser digs out all kinds of facts and horror stories about what goes on in the making of fast food- everything from how the beef is processed to what goes on behind the scenes in fast food restaurants, and how -of course- corporate decisions are not in the best interest of consumers who end up putting the stuff into their stomachs. It\’s not just about burger joints either, but all kinds of processed foods, and how they have become so pervasive in American supermarkets. While the data information, stats and numbers could be a bit tedious for me, there\’s plenty of personal and collected anecdotes in here too. Fast Food Nation is a book that will make you think twice about getting a meal on the go- at least it did for me. Knowing at surface value that this kind of stuff isn\’t healthy for you is one thing, having specific nitty gritty dirty details about why is quite another.

Rating: 3/5                     270 pages, 2001

More opinions at:
Passion for the Page
Betty\’s Books


All books reviewed on this site are owned by me, or borrowed from the public library. Exceptions are a very occasional review copy sent to me by a publisher or author, as noted. Receiving a book does not influence my opinion or evaluation of it


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