I've read two books in the last three weeks, both from the shelves of the library. Written In Stone is a wonderful look at the fossil record's support of evolution and makes the point that just because we find a set of bones that look like it might be related to a living creature, that does not mean that animal was the ancestor of that creature. At one time there were at least 4 different hominids (human-ish creatures) living in Africa, and while we have fossils of them, it's quite possible that we don't have a fossil of our exact ancestor. Perhaps more like a cousin or niece than a greatgreat....great-grandfather. Covers in depth the evolution of birds, mammals, whales, elephants, horses and of course, humans.
Another really interesting book I read on what appears to be an unrelated topic, The Big Lie. In this book Tanya Selvaratnam recites her heartbreaking story of how she tried desperately to become a mother in her late 30s and early 40s only to find that she had cancer and would lose her husband over the ordeal. This book is not all that unrelated to Written In Stone, it even has a chapter on Evolution, as in why does motherhood become so elusive after 30 (when 90% of your eggs are gone)? A touching story combined with a plethora of statistics and information on IVF and other fertility treatments as well as an in-depth look at women's issues in general. A very enjoyable, if heartrending book.
To continue a theme, I guess, I found this book on the Booknook shelves under Business. Beijing Jeep by Jim Mann documents the roller coaster ride from unbridled exuberance about getting a piece of China's vast industrial and consumer potential to a full blown, wheels falling off the coaster plummeting to earth and praying not to die that happened after the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre when thousands of businessmen and their families stood in long lines at the airport waiting to get out of Communist China in fear of their lives. Been there, done that. If you haven't, you need to read this book to see what it's like doing business in a third world country. The main topic, attempting to build Jeeps in China reminds me a lot of Henry Ford's dream of building cars in Russia that was documented in crystal clear detail the the book The Forsaken by Tim Tzouliadis (947.0041 TZOULIA). At least most AMC workers got out of China alive after Tiananmen Square, this was not the case for the Ford workers in The Forsaken. If you have not done business overseas, you should read this book to see what you have in store for you. For all the problems US businesses face in the States, you have no idea how bad it can get until you take it overseas. Save yourself millions of dollars by spending just $1 at the Booknook now!
This is a really interesting book, made from the secret tape recordings of Zhao Ziyang who was the Premier of China from 1980 to 1987 and the Secretary General of the Chinese Communist Party from 1987 to 1989. He was deposed, politically purged and placed under house arrest, due in part because of his sympathies for the students who took part in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. From the back of the dust jacket: "I was trying to persuade them to end the hunger strike... I felt that it was a waste for these young students to end their lives like this. [The students could not] imagine the treatment in store for them."
The tapes were smuggled out of China and in 2009, 4 years after Zhao's death, the book was publish in the US.
I myself was in China, both Beijing and Shanghai in 1994 helping China's version of NASA test electronic hardware that would end up in rockets and missiles, the very missiles China has loaded with nuclear warheads and pointed at the US. In fact, when I was in Taiwan just a year later, China launched missiles over that island nation to try to "influence" the elections. I remember the news announcer on the radio making fun of it: "And now for today's missile repo... I mean traffic report." Not really a joking matter however.
I've read many books on China, but this one should prove to be very interesting. I will leave it for you to read, but don't wait! Someone else my get it before you! In the Biographies section for just a buck!
I hesitate to even type the title of this book, but I assume you can read the title on the photo, so that should suffice. Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin have collaborated on a whole series with this title about healthy eating. This book is about eating healthy while "knocked up." This series is in your face funny, advocates veganism and has a huge following, so it must be good. Amazon has a couple of bad reviews for this book but most are very positive with many people raving about the humor and no-holds-barred attitude.
In the Booknook for just a buck!
Although not in the Booknook, this book is available upstairs in the nonfiction section in the 612s. Dr. Swaab gives us an in-depth look at how the brain actually works, neurotransmitter by neurotransmitter, cortex by cortex. You will learn a whole lot of brain biology if you read this book, which I found easy to read and very enjoyable. I will admit that Dr. Swaab has a very definite leftward tilt, which you may find distracting, but I didn't. He might also destroy some long held beliefs when he tells you that your DNA and your intrauterine environment are all that impact you and make you who you are. Dr. Swaab is of the opinion that no parental interaction, good or bad will have much effect. Neither will schooling, friends, spouses, anything. You are who you are, but NOT how God made you. God does not enter into Dr. Swaab's equation. He explains why NDEs (Near Death Experiences) are all due to the brain shutting down during death, and he can prove it. Death is just the end, there is no soul, in the Pineal Gland (as René Descartes believed) or anywhere else. And Alzheimer's is just premature brain aging, and it takes a mighty toll. The brain actually shrinks and neurons shrivel up and die, leaving you as helpless as an infant. Free Will? Forget it, he's not even sure you have Free Won't! IQ->Nature, Sexual Orientation->Nature, Criminality->Nature, in Dr. Swaab's mind, everything is driven by DNA and hormones you are exposed to in the womb. He even explains how schizophrenics, diagnosed in their teens, may have entered this world via a difficult birth which was often blamed for their condition, but the difficult birth is actually the first symptom of the malady, not the cause. Babies are born when the neurotransmitter oxytocin tells the baby that the uterus has been "tapped out", and there is no more nourishment to be had from Mom from inside the womb. Mom gets the same signal and oxytocin flows in her brain too, allowing her to go into labor, and then after birth, to bond with the child. (Oxytocin is what bonds husbands and wives too) Schizophrenics suffer a difficult birth because of a malfunction in their DNA, hence their brain, and the birth does not work as it should. Women who opt for a Cesarean birth do not get the same depth of bonding as a vaginal birth, because the oxytocin does not flow the same way. The same is true for mothers who opt for an epidural, which blocks the signals to her brain and impedes the production of oxytocin, dulling the bond that mother and child are meant to share. A fascinating read and well worth the time.
Volunteers crazy about books.