31 July 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 5*

I could write a book about this book. I'll try not to.

I've been thinking lately that it has been a while since I read a gripping but informative non fiction book. And here's the one that fit the bill. I'll ask that you at least read my full review before determining whether or not you think you are interested in reading this book. Trust me, it is powerful, and moving.

I bet you've never heard of Henrietta Lacks, right?

Henrietta Lacks was a young woman, the mother of five children, who grew up poor on a Southern tobacco farm. Born on 1 August 1920, she died on 4 October 1951. At the age of 31 she was diagnosed with a particularly virulent form of cervical cancer. At the time of her surgery, her doctor, of course, took cells to examine them.

Henrietta's doctor, Jones, performed a study with TeLinde, hoping to distinguish differences between two types of cervical cancer. TeLinde wanted to grow living samples from normal cervical tissue for further study. He contacted George Gey. George Gey, his wife, and his colleagues hoped to grow the first-ever immortal cells in their lab. They did.

Those cells were given the cell-line name of HeLa; the first two initials of each of her names.

The problem? Henrietta wasn't asked if her cells could be used for research. It was twenty years after her death that her family found out about the use of her cells in science. The situation which arose is now one of hot debate. Tissues do not fall under the same laws as our actual bodies. There are no actual laws preventing the use of our tissues once they have been willingly removed and left behind. Most hospitals don't sufficiently give notice to their clients that their tissues can, and will likely be used in such a way. "In 2006, some seven hundred new mothers found out that doctors had taken their placentas without consent to test for abnormalities that might help the hospital defend itself against future lawsuits over birth defects." Now, wouldn't you rest easier if you'd been one of those people who want to take your baby's placenta home to plant beneath a tree? I think I would. Really.

What happens to cells or other unneeded or unwanted parts of your body which you leave behind in a lab or hospital? Are they being used for research? Are they being used nobly? Are they being used for evil? Are resarchers or large for-profit companies making millions of dollars from them? These are the questions that were raised by Henrietta's family. The questions remain unanswered.

Another problem was later realized. Henrietta's cells were unusual in that they grew so easily. After much time it was finally determined that her cells grew with such wild abandon because of her cancer and other health issues. Her cells are still unusual for their ability to continue growing with such ease. From that it was discovered that cancer cells contain a protein called telomerase which prevents them from aging and dying in the manner of normal, healthy human cells. And so, her cell line is still alive today.

Over the years her family finally came to grips with the fact that the cells were taken without permission having been given. They also, reluctantly, have come to realize they are not going to benefit financially even though the amount of cells now existing, directly from the initial samples, would weigh 50 million metric tons. Yes, you read that correctly.

The good that arose from the unethical use of her cells, however, is essentially unfathomable.

In fact, the Pap Smear test was developed because of knowledge based on the use of her cells in the lab. The first HeLa factory was originated precisely for the ability to research a cure for polio.

The cells were used to prove that the vaccine would be safe and effective and wasn't offered to children until after that. HeLa cells were used for neutralization tests as proof that vaccinated children were, indeed, immune to polio after injection of the vaccine. Previously, monkey cells had been used. That was an expensive proposition. Being able to use an "immortal" cell-line saved millions of dollars.

The evil in medical research has been around since the first stirrings of curiousity. Graves have been robbed, people infected with disease on purpose so that researchers could learn from it; slaves were taken in the night, Jews from Nazi camps were used as live subjects. People being tricked into joining research studies without being given full disclosure is something that is still ocurring. I could go on, but I won't. With today's technology, the threat of bioterrorism is scary.

Further good that has arisen from use of Henrietta's cells is the mapping of the human genome. Two genes for breast cancer have been discovered. However, the company that discovered them has patented the information. Many other companies who were doing research along the same avenue then gave it up as they couldn't fight the legal issues that would have arisen. Are we perhaps now losing information because business has entered into the world of research? Once again, the good and bad go hand in hand. "There is some evidence to support (this) claim. One survey found that 53 percent of laboratories had stopped offereing or developing at least one genetic test because of patent enforcement, and 67 percent fel tpatents interfered with medical research."

"In 1999 The Rand Corporation (estimated) that more than 307 million tissue samples from more than 178 million people were stored in the US alone. ... "This number, the report said, was increasing by more than 20 million samples each year. The samples come from routine medical procedures, tests, operations, clinical trials, and research donations. They sit in lab freezers, on shelves, or in industrial vats of liquid notrogen. They're stored at military facilities, the FBI, and the National Institutes of Health. They're in biotech company labs and most hospitals. Biobanks store appendixes, ovaries, skin, sphincters, testicles, fat, even foreskins from most circumcisions. They also house blood samples taken from most infants born in the United States since the late sixties, when states started mandating the screening of all newborns for genetic diseases."

And what of that? What is being done with the information the government is taking from our children at birth. Can the information be used against them or us in the future? Could we be denied insurance, or worse, even medical care, if it is known that we are due to be even sicker in the future, from diseases we don't even know that we have?

"Lori Andrews, director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, wants something more drastic: she has called for people to get policymakers' attention by becoming "conscientious objectors in the DNA draft" and refusing to give tissue samples."

In opposition, '"David Korn, vice provost for research at Harvard University, argues that giving patients control over their tissues is shortsighted. "Sure," he says, "consent feels nice. Letting people decide what's going to happen with their tissue seems like the right thing to do. But consent diminishes the value of tissue." To illustrate this, Korn points to the Spanish flu pandemic. In the 1990s, scientists used stored tissue samples from a soldier who died in 1918 to recreate the virus's genome and study why it was so deadly, with hopes of uncovering information about the current avian flu." This intriguing line of thought continues on page 304 in the book. I urge you to read the book for yourself.

But I will include one more thoughtful portion here: "Science is not the highest value in society," Andrews says, pointing instead to things like autonomy and personal freedom. "Think about it," she says. "I decide who gets my money after I die. It woudln't harm me if I died and you gave all my money to someone else. But there's somethign psychologically beneficial to me as a living person to know I can give my money to whoever I want. No one can say, 'She shouldn't be allowed to do that with her money because that might not be most beneficial to society' But replace the word with money in that sentence with tissue, and you've got precisely the logic many people use to argue against giving donors any control over their tissues.



Five Reasosn http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-01/five-reasons-henrietta-lacks-most-important-woman-medical-history

As an aside I will add that I when I was very young my dad came home from work each day and sat down to watch the early news report on television. I vividly remember hearing the word cancer and President Nixon being involved with the story. It has stuck with me through the years. I even remembered the general story correctly. Skloot notes on page 169: "Just three weeks after Henrietta's name was first published, Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act into law and launched the War on Cancer, designating $1.5 billion for cancer research over the next three years. In a move many believe was intended to distract attention from the Vietnmam War, Nixon announced that scientists would cure cancer within five years, just in time for the United States Biecntennial." Hmmm...he stole President Kennedy's tactic from the space race. Too bad it didn't work the way he projected. Bummer, that.

So far, I've probably made the book sound sort of boring. But it isn't! The author has creatively intertwined all the science with a tale of heartbreak, forgiveness, love, and legacy. She tells us about Henrietta Lacks and many details of the lives of her descendants. Deborah, one of Henrietta's five children, took the place of matriarch in the family and kept them all as together as was possible. I will quote two of the most moving portions of the book now, to end my review:

Deborah: "When he (Lurz) asked if she was okay, her eyes welled with tears and she said, "Like I'm always telling my brothers, if you gonna go into history, you can't do it with a hate attitude. You got to remember, times was different."

Over more than a decade, the long-held atheism of the author of this book, Rebecca Skloot, was even challenged. She was handed a Bible to read aloud from for the first time in her life after a powerful moment between Henrietta's daughter, Deborah, and Deborah's cousin, Gary. The passage follows:"'Those who believe in me will live, even though they die; and those who live and believe in me will never die."

"Gary flipped to another passage for me to read: "Someone will ask, 'How can the dead be raised to life? What kind of body will they have?' You fool! When you plant a seed in the ground it does not sprout to life unless it dies. And what you plant is a bare seed...not the full-bodied plant that will later grow up. God provides that seed with the body he wishes; he gives each seed its own proper body."

"'Henrietta was chosen,' Gary whispered.

28 July 2010

I found this really funny blog today.

It's run by two librarians on a quest to weed-out, and make note of, the worst library books they can find on their library's shelves!


27 July 2010

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Living forever sounds great, doesn't it? In this beautifully prosaic book Ms. Babbitt explores, through story, the possibility that it might not be such a great thing.

Winnie Foster feels trapped by her overprotective mother. Her life is forever changed when she stumbles upon Jesse Tuck drinking water from a spring beneath a giant oak tree. Jesse prevents Winnie from drinking from the spring; he knows that the water is the key to eternal life on earth. Not knowing what to do next Jesse takes Winnie back to his family's cabin where she learns enough to determine for herself whether eternal life on earth might really not be the blessing most would think.

Tuck Everlasting

This book has been made into a film by Disney. I'll admit that I enjoyed the film although it was several years ago. I saw the film before having the chance to read the book. Of course, I am certain the book is better than the film. It is a rare film that ends up being better than the book from which it is derived.

Tuck Everlasting is the most beautifully written book I think I have ever read. Babbitt's words evoke stunning imagery not easily matched.

Tuck Everlasting

My favorite quote:

"Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live." 

Love in the Library by Jimmy Buffet

Now, I know my blog is a book-review blog and I aim to keep it on focus.
But I have to tell you of my favorite song which happens to be book-related.

Love in the Library

By: Jimmy Buffett, Mac McAnally


On the corner of Government and Bay Avenue

The old doomsday fanatic wore a crown of kudzu

Sirens were wailing in the Gulf Coastal heat

And it seemed like the whole world was in forced retreat

Paid no attention, revolved through the door

Past the newspaper racks on the worn marble floor

Near Civil War history my heart skipped a beat

She was standing in fiction stretched high on bare feet


Love in the library

Quiet and cool

Love in the library

There are no rules

Surrounded by stories

Surreal and sublime

I fell in love in the library

Once upon a time

I was the pirate, she was the queen

Sir Francis and Elizabeth, the best there's ever been

Then she strolled past my table and stopped at the stairs

Then sent me a smile as she reached for Flaubert


Love in the library

Quiet and cool

Love in the library

There are no rules

Surrounded by stories

Surreal and sublime

I fell in love in the library

Once upon a time

She gathered her books, walked while she read

Words never spoken, but so much was said

You can read all you want into this rendezvous

But it's safer than most things that lovers can do

Well stories have endings, fantasies fade

And the guard by the door starts drawing the shade

So write your own ending and hope it comes true

For the lovers and strangers on Bay Avenue


Love in the library

Quiet and cool

Love in the library

There are no rules

Surrounded by stories

Surreal and sublime

I fell in love in the library

Once upon a time

Surrounded by stories

Surreal and sublime

I fell in love in the library

Once upon a time


26 July 2010

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

An Abundance of Katherines
Colin has been dumped. Again. This is the NINETEENTH time he has been dumped. Not only that...it's the nineteenth time he has been dumped by a "Katherine".

Colin's best friend is Hassan. Hassan is always straight with Colin; he tells it like it is. Hassan believes that the only way for Colin to move forward is for him to actually move and so he suggests that they go on an unplanned roadtrip. They wander the open road until they spot a sign which reads :


Colin doubts the veracity of such a statement but Hassan sees the sign as an opportunity (and a chance to stop heading south since the farther south they go, the hotter it becomes.) And so they pull off in seardch of directions to the site.

Soon, Colin and Hassan settle down...in Gutshot, Tennessee, of all places. They are offered food and a place to stay in return for thier assistance in chronicling the town's past. Their employer is Hollis, current owner of the largest factory in town; it's a textile mill...the makes, of all things, tampon strings.

As the two begin to settle Colin's mind begins to develop the idea that there must be a way to mathematically represent the success and failure trajectory of relationships. If only he can develop a viable mathematical theory, he might be able to predict the outcome of future relationships and save himself all sorts of heartache.

Along the way, Colin becomes good friends with Lindsey Lee Wells, daughter of his new employer. Lindsay instructs Colin in the way to tell a good story (one of my favorite passages in the book):

"And you need a good, strong moral. Or a theme or whatever. And the other things is romance and adventure. You've got to put some of those in. If it's a story about peeing into a lion cage, give yourself a girlfriend who notices how gigantic your winky is and then saves you from the lion at the last second by tackling you, because she's desperate to save that gorgeous, ginormous wkiny." Colin blushed, but Lindsey kept going. "In the beginning, you need to pee; in the middle, you do; in the end, through romance and adventure, your winky is saved from the jaws of a hungry lion by the pluck of a young girl motivated by her abiding love for giant winkies. And the moral of the story is that a heroic girlfriend, combined with a giant winky, will save you from even the most desperate sitautions."

Lindsey and Colin work together closely and come up with the answers to the theorem he was developing. Lindsey and Colin end up learning what things really make a person matter. They find that longing also adds to you as much as it detracts from you; it helps to make you the person you become. Eventually Colin realizes that "stories don't just make us matter to each other--maybe they're also the only way to the infinite mattering he'd been after for so long." He also realizes that we all have stories. We change each other by the telling of our stories; by the intertwining of our stories, even in the tiniest ways. Realizing this allowed Colin the first opportunity he'd ever had to know that he could reinvent himself. He didn't have to continue living life the same way he'd always done. He knew that his theorem, and others, could help to predict outcomes but he also realized that theorems don't control people's lives; people have the ultimate control over their lives.

And this...is really just the beginning for Colin.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

I really enjoyed this book even though it is nothing like what I generally enjoy reading, at least with regard to subject matter.

The premise of the book greatly involves departed spirtis, seemingly with no where to go. If I release my hold on reality though, I can enjoy a good story simply for the sake of a good story! And this is one.

Julia and Valentina Poole are twins who live in Chicago. They resist change. The twins recieve notice in the mail that their aunt, of whose existense they were unaware, has died and left them her flat in London. There is a stipulation though; they must live in it for a year before they may sell it.

(The only cemetery we visited while living in England was the one within walking distance from our home. Reading this book made me realize that I would now enjoy visiting Highgate Cemetery.)

While I can't say I was happy with the end of the book I can certainly understand why the author wrote the ending the way that she did. The author also wrote Time Traveler's Wife, which was recently made into a film. I love The Time Traveler's Wife, book and film.

I think that this book, too, could be made into a film and would certainly go to see it if it is. I very much enjoy Ms. Niffenegger's writing voice. Her ability to twist a plot just right really grabs me. I didn't figure out the twist in the plot until just before she revealed it which is a very exciting place to be as a reader. I guess that's what I most appreciate about her writing. If you're like me, step aside from reality for a bit and give the book a chance. I enjoyed it and I am glad I read the book!

21 July 2010

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Don't you love it when a book just seems to fall into your lap? I only picked it up because the cover caught my eye as I walked past a book store table aimed at youth.

I Am The Messenger (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

The cover was quirky; eye catching. Then I noticed the author is Markus Zusak, the writer of one of my favourite books, The Book Theif. That did it. I had to buy the book.

The LOST television series recently ended and so that was on my mind as I read the book. I have to say that this book is written in a manner that reminds me of LOST. Yeah, it's that intriguing. It has nothing to do with the subject matter, just the general feel of the story. If you enjoyed LOST, chances are you will enjoy this book.
The book is marketed to young adults but all along I felt as if it were an adult-read. I guess I feel that if the writing is excellent enough that designating a book as a juvenile read often prevents its notice by adults who would equally enjoy it. What a shame. And so the proverbially judged book cover sucked me in this time.

Ed Kennedy is the main character. He leads a life of mediocrity. Same stuff every day. Boring. He really amounts to not much.
His life changes when he reacts to a bank robbery and is suddenly thrust into the spotlight as a hero. Soon, though, the spotlight fades and his heroics are forgotten. But then he receives something odd in the mail. An ace of diamonds. What does it mean and where will it take Ed Kennedy? Read the book and find out.

(Granted, I should have been able to figure much of this story out. I think I was so lost in the excitement of the story that I never quite ruined it for myself by seeing where the story was headed.)
My favourite quotes from this book:

'I'd rather chase the sun than wait for it.'

'I hold her close now around her hips and she holds me back. She places her hands around my neck and rests her head on my shoulder. I can smell the sex on her, and my only hope is that she can smell the love on me.'

Sometimes when reading a book I get the idea that I should play 'casting supervisor' with the book, pretending I am casting it for a movie. Sometimes it works out really great, as it did this time!

Here is my cast:

Ed Kennedy - Ben Stiller (but I think Adam Sandler would also work well.)

Marv - Owen Wilson

Ritchie - Seth Rogen

Audrey - Drew Barrymore

Cemetery Security - Ted Levine

Milla - Betty White

Mr. Tatupu - Rob Schneider
Read  our son's review of the book here:
click here > Aaron's Review of I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Uncommon Reader: A Novella

What a neat little book about reading! I spotted this on a table of specials at a bookstore in England.
A quick glance through it and I knew I had to read it.

At the beginning of the book the Queen and her annoying little barking Corgis have set out for a walk and happen upon the City of Westminster traveling library by mistake. She had never seen the traveling library on-site before. She decided to step inside and apologize for her dogs' rudeness and ended up borrowing a book simply out of kindness to the driver/librarian.

The queen ends up falling in love with the act of reading and appoints for herself an amanuensis. (amanuensis: to run errands, exchange her library books, look up awkward words for her and find her quotations...the true meaning of the word is manual laborer; someone to do things by hand. Now the word is often used to mean a secretary or scribe.)

Eventually the queen finds herself reading while traveling and not minding the actual travel anymore. However, she finds all her engagements as bothers now because her book is pulled from her, and hidden, so that she must focus on the event at hand. What a bother. She often has 2 or 3 books going at once. Those around her, excepting her amanuensis, are increasingly annoyed by the amount of time she is spending reading and hence this incredible sentence in the book:

"Thus it was that the dawn of sensibility was mistaken for the onset of sinility."

Reading continues to transform her. Eventually she feels that all the authors she has read have had "a voice" but that she, even as Queen, truly has no voice; no freedom. That brings on the surprising little twist at the end of the book! I was very happy with the way the author chose to end (or begin, depends on how one looks at it) his story. If you love to read I believe you'll enjoy this quick little treasure.

I found that I wanted to highlight sections of this book as I read it. I am going to give a few of those examples here:

"Pass the time?" said the Queen. "Books are not about passing the time. They're about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting to pass, Sir Kevin, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time one could go to New Zealand." (Sir Kevin is from New Zealand and is embarrassed by the fact.)

"The appeal of reading , she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. ... All readers were equal, and this took her back to the beginning of her life. As a girl, one of her greatest thrills had been on VE night, when she and her sister had slipped out of the gates and mingled unrecognized with the crowds. There was something of that, she felt, to reading. It was anonymous; it was shared; it was common. And she who had led a life apart now found that she craved it. Here in thses pages and between these covers she could go unrecognized." (I find myself wishing to know if, indeed Queen Elizabeth and her sister were allowed to mingle with the celebrating crowds on VE night...I read in another book recently that they actually experienced the same rations as the commoners. Then I read another quotation which said they experienced no sacrifices. I find that very interesting.)

"These doubts and self-questionings, though, were just the beginning. Once she got into her stride it ceased to seem strange to her that she wanted to read, and books, to which she had taken so cautionsly, gradually came to be her element."

"Had she been asked if reading had enriched her life she would have had to say yes, undoubtedly, though adding with equal certainty that it had at the same time drained her life of purpose. Once she had been a self-assured single-minded woman knowing where her duty lay and intent on doing it for as long as she was able. Now all too often she was in two minds. Reading was not doing, that had always been the trouble. And old though she was she was still a doer."

"Above literature? said the Queen,. "Who is above literature? You might as well say one was above humanity."

Are you surrounded by people who read?

Every where I look these days I see people reading. With the prevalance of video games and mindless tv and movies (and good ones) it really feels to me as if there are a lot of people who still read. In fact, our library is chock full of people every time I visit. And at the pool this summer I see other people reading or they come up to me to ask about the title I have at hand. Books are a great ice-breaker. And I love to talk about the books I read.

Our library always has a summer reading program. They offer incentives to children and adults who read. I have been known to go a step further. Twice I have developed a reading incentive program for our family!

The first time the theme was "Outerspace". I designed celestial bodies, decorated them, and cut them out. Each of the kids and I designed our own rocket ship and emblazoned our name upon it. I affixed the planets on the wall of our dining room. The goal was to move your rocket ship along the row of planets toward the bright and shining sun! Goofy? Yes. But fun. The rocket ships moved along the trajectory for a certain number of pages read. The winner was the person whose rocketship first reached the sun.

Our second reading incentive program was designed around the theme of "Pizza". Each person was given a pizza crust cut-out to place on the kitchen wall. I designed all kinds of crazy topping. Each type of topping was worth a certain  number of pages read. The winner was the person with the most toppings on his pizza at the end of the contest!

What were the incentives? You know, I don't even recall. That just proves that the real fun is in the contest and not in the winning of it. The incentive could be anything you dream up though. My best friend and I are talking about having another contest, this time, among the members of both of our families. Some of the ideas for incentives that we've come up with for the winner of the contest are:

Winner gets to pick a restaurant where we'll all go to celebrate our contest and accomplishments.
Winner gets to pick an outing  for both families to share (ie: bowling, cinema, sleepover party...)
$5 or $10 gift card to a store of their choice.

Really, the possibilites are endless. The point is to get everyone reading for fun and to share the experience together. Reading brings people together.

Being an example...

My dad is a reader, and he'll read anything. He is a very well-rounded person. When I was a child he and my mom would rarely visit the grocery store without buying me a book, usually Little Golden Books. We ended up with quite a collection of them. I remember them reading to us when we were very young.

As time marched on my dad continued to set a good example of reading. He frequently took us to our local library in Greenfield, IN. Somehow, though, I managed not to fall under the spell of reading. My next older sister did though. I thought reading was boring and I wondered why she would choose to read.

Unfortunately that was the status quo for many years. I was in the midst of my high school years when I looked around our trigonometry class. We'd been given an assignment and I had finished it and was bored out of my gourd. That's when I noticed two other girls happily lost in reading novels they'd brought with them to class. Hmmm... Anything beats boredom, right? And so I investigated the titles they were reading the next time I went to the mall.

That was the first recreational reading I ever did. Sad, huh? But true. And I want to talk about it. I really think that while my parents certainly provided us with reading material and my dad set an example of reading for pleasure and information, that just wasn't enough for me. Now, my parents had their hands full. I was the oldest of six children and they ran a daycare as well as my dad working in the "real world". What do I think might have helped me?

Oh, I know the answer to that. I think it would have made an amazing difference for me if someone, anyone, had ever asked me about my interests (meaning a teacher). I was a real wallflower; and a "good girl". I always did as I was supposed to, never got into trouble; always turned in my assignments. I put little effort into my school work and managed to get decent enough grades for the lack of effort. I stayed beneath the radar. I was never particularly noticed by my teachers. By middle school I was certain I was completely invisible to most of them. I still believe that. I just didn't stand out. Still, if any one of them had ever asked me if I liked to read I'd have said no. But if they had attempted to engage me...hmmmm...what if?

And so I try very hard not to just set an example of reading around our children. That was especially true when I homeschooled them. I attempted to engage them. I encouraged them to read for pleasure. I tried to get them thinking about subjects that interest them. I've done okay. My results are not stellar, but everyone isn't as sold on reading as a past-time as I am. And so I continue to keep great books in our house. I make them accessible. I offer to take them to the library and they know I just can't say "no" if they ask me to buy a book! I also read to them as much as possible. With the busyness of school schedules and a home to maintain it isn't easy but I try to make the effort. It actually tends to happen more during the school year than during summer. We find it a peaceful addition to our bedtime routine. I try to read some titles to individual children and not to all of them at once just to make it more special and memorable. Also, I realize that while a title might be great for one child, it might not interest another.

I want our kids to enjoy reading. I feel that if a person enjoys reading they will read more frequently. People who read more frequently are going to be exposed to more and are going to strengthen their reading skills. I know I still try to strengthen mine. I also love to discuss great books. It is a wonderful way to interact witpeople and I enjoy that with our kids as much as with adults. I am happy to read juvenile titles too; they can be a lot of fun!

Today it is interesting to note that my dad reads more than ever. Of my five younger siblings, I would say that four of them read frequently and the other one probably wishes she could. My mother-in-law is a reader and we discuss books often. My husband's sister found herself rereading books as an adult which she was given as assigned reading in high school. That happened at the same time that her high school-aged kids were reading the books and invited discussions of the books and of her newly-found desire to read the titles...for pleasure even.

So, why did I choose the name for my site?

Online I often use the screen name TogetherForGood. I derived it from my favourite passage in the King James Bible:
Romans 8:28-30

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

From that I further derived the domain name for my blog which is http://www.boundtogetherforgood.blogspot.com/.
"Boundtogether" comes from the fact that books have bindings.
Finally, my blog's title is "Not Now...I'm Reading".   I really only chose this in jest. I do read a lot. But I also make an effort not to allow it to interfere in my relationships. A person who can not relate to other people is going to be lost and lonely, even if they can escape into good books. Being alone to do things such as reading at times, however, is not the same as being lonely. And for that I am glad! Actually, I am not bothered by much as I read. I am sure it is in part because I am a mom.
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