5 Books On My TBR Shelf I’m Excited About (Week 8)

I’ve accepted that my TBR shelf is out of control, so let’s talk about what I’m excited to read!

E11. The Emperor of All Maladies 
by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Publish Date: November 16, 2010
# of Pages: 571
Goodreads Rating: 4.29

Description (from Goodreads): Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.”

The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.

Why am I excited to read this book?: Cancer sucks and runs rampant in my family.  I can’t help but wanting to learn more about it. The more you know . . .


e22. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Publish Date: March 14, 2006
# of Pages: 552
Goodreads Rating: 4.36

Description (from Goodreads): A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award.

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Why am I excited to read this book?: This book falls into the category of “how the heck haven’t I read this yet?” With all the rave reviews, I’m sure this is a book I’ll love.


e33. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Publish Date: September 24, 1998
# of Pages: 546
Goodreads Rating: 4.03

Description (from Goodreads): The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

Why am I excited to read this book?: I’ve had several friends read (and love) this book. It certainly sounds intriguing!!!


e44. Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design by Michael Shermer
Publish Date: August 8, 2006
# of Pages: 224
Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Description (from Goodreads): Science is on the defensive. Half of Americans reject the theory of evolution and “Intelligent Design” campaigns are gaining ground. Classroom by classroom, creationism is overthrowing biology.

In Why Darwin Matters, bestselling author Michael Shermer explains how the newest brand of creationism appeals to our predisposition to look for a designer behind life’s complexity. Shermer decodes the scientific evidence to show that evolution is not “just a theory” and illustrates how it achieves the design of life through the bottom-up process of natural selection. Shermer, once an evangelical Christian and a creationist, argues that Intelligent Design proponents are invoking a combination of bad science, political antipathy, and flawed theology. He refutes their pseudoscientific arguments and then demonstrates why conservatives and people of faith can and should embrace evolution. He then appraises the evolutionary questions that truly need to be settled, building a powerful argument for science itself.

Cutting the politics away from the facts, Why Darwin Matters is an incisive examination of what is at stake in the debate over evolution.

Why am I excited to read this book?: I enjoy reading books about religion. Whether it’s for religion, against religion, or strictly information, I love it all. I think it’s a very interesting topic.


e55. World War Z by Max Brooks
Publish Date:  September 12, 2006
# of Pages: 342
Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Description (from Goodreads): The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. “World War Z” is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Why am I excited to read this book?: I haven’t read a ton of zombie books, but I always seem to enjoy them when I do.


Let’s Talk!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

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