Elentarri's Book Blog

Book reviews and other interesting goodies.

The Age of Genomes: Tales from the front Lines of Genetic Medicine by Steven Lipkin and Jon Luoma

The Age of Genomes: Tales from the Front Lines of Genetic Medicine - Steven M. Lipkin, Jon Luoma

This book is a collection of "tales from the front lines of genetic medicine".  The author discusses what is possible and not possible with current genetic technology.  He also discusses some of the ethical issues of this technology.  This book is set out in a conversational tone describing case studies, with limited science or technical discussion.  In short, interesting if you haven't read much on genetics, nothing new if you have.




~Junk DNA by Nessa Carey

~The Epigentics Revolution by Nessa Carey

~ Mutants:  On Genetic Variety and the Human Body by Armand Marie Leroi


Ancient Geography: The Discovery of the World in Classical Greece and Rome by Duane W. Roller

Ancient Geography: The Discovery of the World in Classical Greece and Rome (Library of Classical Studies) - Duane W. Roller

This book provides a summary and brief analysis of what the Classical Greeks and Romans knew or thought about the world around them in terms of geography and exploratory journeys.  The book basically does what it says on the cover, so there isn't much to comment  on.  This book would make a useful addition for someone researching geography during the Classical Greek & Roman age.  For the non-researcher this book may eventually get a bit tedious, even though it is interesting in parts.





*  The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek by Barry Cunliffe.

*  Europe Before Rome:  A Site-By-Wite Tour of the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages by T. Douglas Price.

*  In Search of the Immortals:  Discovering the World's Mummy Cultures by Howard Reid.

*  The Voyage of the Argo:  The Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes

*  The Vinland Sagas




The End of Food: The Coming Crisis in the World Food Industry by Paul Roberts

The End Of Food - Paul Roberts

An interesting, and some-what worrying look at the emergence, ultimate costs and short-term benefits of large-scale food production over the world and the coming crisis in the world food industry.  A bit USA-centric.  This isn't a "fun' book to read, but it is informative and fairly well-written.






~  Food in History by Reay Tannahill

~  Against the Grain:  How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization by Richard Manning.~  Dirt:  The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery.


~ Excitotoxins: The Tast that Kills by Russell L. Blaylock.

~ The Killers Within:  The Deadly Rise of Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Michael Shnayerson & Mark J. Plotkin.

~ Our Stolen Future:  Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence and Survival?  A Scientific Detective Story. by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski & John Peterson Myers.

~ Salt:  A World History by Mark Kurlansky.

~ Banana:  The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel.~  Tomatoland:  How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Out Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook.

~ The Untold History of the Potato by John Reader.


~  Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?:  The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization by Andrew Lawler.

~ Domesticated:  Evolution in a Man-Made World by Richard C. Francis.


~  Papyrus:  The Plant that Changed the World:  From Ancient Egypt to Today's Water Wars by John Gaudet.

~  Water:  the Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization by Steven Solomon.


~  U.N. Agenda 21:  Environmental Piracy by Ileana Johnson Paugh



Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World by Nick Lane

Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World (Popular Science) - Nick Lane

This is an extremely interesting and well written book about oxygen - how oxygen spurred the evolution of life, the functioning of oxygen in biological systems, aging, how oxygen relates to everyday life (besides breathing), amongst others. The nice thing about this book is that the author assumes his readers are intelligent and so doesn't simplify his writing or the concepts so much that it practically turns into gibberish.



The author's view of junk DNA is a bit dated - the book was published in 2002 and research on junk DNA has advanced since then. Some other information might also be dated, but that is simply how science and science writing work.  If you are intelligent enough to read this book, you should also be intelligent enough not to swallow everything you read - hook, line and sinker.



* The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History by David Beerling

* Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine by Randolph M. Nesse, George C. Williams

* Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future by Peter D. Ward


Collection of Short Urban Fantasy and SF Short Stories by C.H. Aalberry

The Origami Dragon And Other Tales - C. H. Aalberry

This is one of the better collection of short stories I have read in a long time. These urban fantasy and science fiction stories are original, enjoyable and beautifully written.


Emergency Cupid by R. L. Naquin

Dallas Fire & Rescue: Emergency Cupid  - R.L. Naquin

Cute short story.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride And Prejudice - Jane Austen

A bland, tedious, "romance" (couldn't find the romance) novel with a collection of one-dimensional, shallow, irritating characters. 

PS:  The 2005 movie version is better than the book.

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries From a Secret World - Peter Wohlleben

And interesting look at how trees live and function.  Each short chapter covers one or another aspect of tree life, such as water transport, bug-life, roots, growth etc.  I found the writing style too "chatty" with not enough nitty-gritty science.

Piano Notes: The Hidden World of the Pianist by Charles Rosen

Piano Notes: The Hidden World of the Pianist - Charles Rosen

An interesting, semi-autobiographical collection of musings on piano playing and the world of the pianist from Charles Rosen.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day - Seanan McGuire

A beautifully written short novel with an original concept involving ghosts and witches.  Can't really say much more without giving away the plot.

The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon

The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems - Matt Simon

An interesting and amusingly written book that highlights some of the strange survival mechanisms that animals have evolved.  There is nothing technical in this book.  Each chapter takes a look at a specific animal. 

For a more in-depth look at some of these survival mechanisms, I recommend the book "Venomous" by Christie Wilcox.

The Making of Middle-Earth: A New Look Inside the World of J.R.R. Tolkien by Christopher A. Snyder

The Making of Middle-earth: A New Look Inside the World of J. R. R. Tolkien - Christopher A. Snyder

An interesting look at the inspiration behind The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  The book is also well constructed with thick pages and numerous colour illustrations.


Rating:  3 stars (because this damn website is not working and won't put in the stars!!!)

Confronting the Classics - Mary Beard

Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations - Mary Beard

An interesting and eventually tedious, look at what we know, what we don't know and what we think we know about ancient Greek and Roman history. The book is set out in short essay format. Some knowledge of Greek and Roman history is recommended otherwise you will get completely lost. 

The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World by Abigail Tucker

The Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World - Abigail Tucker

The house cats makes its home everywhere. In this rather entertaining book, Abigail Tucker takes a look at how the house cat became one of the most dominant carnivores on the planet, and what the relationship is between cats and humans. This book is rather light on the science, but it was still interesting.


Meet Me In Atlantis by Mark Adams

Meet Me in Atlantis: My Quest to Find the 2,500-Year-Old Sunken City - Mark Adams An interesting look at all the various hypotheses regarding the location of Atlantis. An interesting detective story.

TEMPEST - Anthology edited by Mercedes Lackey

Tempest (Valdemar) - Mercedes Lackey

A mixed-bag of entertaining short stories set in the universe created by Mercedes Lackey. Something fluffy to pass the time.