Archive for essays

Judy Blume and Sex.

Posted in Lisa, Non-Fiction with tags , , on February 17, 2008 by Lisa

In the past week I’ve finished two books that are similar enough that I’m going to review them together. Both of books of essays, written by women, about being women. Both are about growing up, although different aspects of growing up.

The first one I finished (but the second one I started) was Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume. 24 essays by various authors on what they learned from Judy Blume’s book and how those lessons helped them to feel normal during adolescence.  Authors include Meg Cabot, Megan Crane, Julie Kenner, Beth Kendrick, Cara Lockwood and Alison Pace. It seems every young girl read Judy Blume at some point and I know I did too. I was really looking forward to discovering that my favorite authors had the same junior high experiences that I did, but quickly discovered that I don’t really remember Judy Blume all that well. My clearest memory is from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret– “I must, I must, I must increase my bust!”  Nevertheless, this was a fun little book about junior high and high school- if such a thing exists.

The second book of essays was Sex and Sensibility: 28 True Romances from the Lives of Single Women.  I’ve never really been single so this seemed like it would be a fun look at how the other half lived. The single half, that is. I started this one months and months ago, but because of it’s location in my home, I only read it a few pages at a time. Most of the essays were pretty entertaining, if completely different from anything in my experience.  Authors on this one included Jennifer Weiner, Laurie Notaro (this one nearly killed the whole thing for me, Notaro really annoys me), Pam Houston, and Lily Burana. I was a bit surprised at the amount of honesty some well-know authors were willing to put out there- the essays are about sex, after all.

I have a lot more books of essays in my TBR pile.  Essays are great for the pregnant-mother-of-a-toddler attention span.  I have Perfectly Plum, Toddler, Cracks in my Foundation, and quite a few of those annual Best Of essay books.  Of course, I also have a ton of everything else in there as well. I better get reading!

The Lives of a Cell – Notes of a Biology Watcher

Posted in Nancy, Non-Fiction with tags , , , , on January 20, 2008 by Lisa

Reviewed by Nancy, posted by Lisa


The Lives of a Cell – Notes of a Biology Watcher” by Lewis Thomas


During college, my creative writing professor frequently said this was the most well written book he’d ever read. I used to see quotes from this book on boxes of EmergenC, until they updated their packaging. Yet, I put off reading this until now. It seemed daunting. But Professor Hall was right; this was an extremely well written book. I guess that’s why it won the National Book Award. This book is a series of essays by Lewis Thomas, written/published in the early 70’s. The essays also appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. (I bet it blew their minds.)


Now, this was heavy reading. How heavy is it? It’s heavy enough that Wiley could use it against the Road Runner. But, it is interesting. Lewis seems to “humanize” science, all the while using elegant and poetic language. He compares ant colonies to watching the people in a medical meeting, an interesting look at the (then) future of pheromones, germs of astronauts, the earth as a membrane and much, much more.


No, this is not light reading, but if you love the mysteries of life and science, as well as poetic language, then this book is for you. Road Runners beware.