September 26, 2013

Cain's Blood

Cain's Blood
by Geoffrey Girard
publisher Touchstone
published September 2013
source:  publisher

Reflections:   I almost didn't graduate from college because I made a D in biology.  Even so, I know about Mendel,   the father of genetics.   Girard opens his book Cain's Blood telling us about Mendel's work, moving on to the more recent science of genetics, study of DNAs and cloning.   I would have liked biology better if Girard had been my professor.

Girard makes three chilling statements even before his story begins:
  • Scientists isolated DNA factors.   Once isolated, analyzed each factor to understand how it really worked.  Once understood, explored how to modify.
  • The scientist who led the team that cloned Dolly the Sheep, said in reference to cloning humans, "It would be naive to think it possible to prevent."
  • Cloning humans,  by the way, is still completely legal in the United States.  Everyone just assumes it's not.
What a super background for such a suspenseful novel.   Fiction:  the U.S. Department of Defense  cloned serial killers to develop a new bio-weapon.   Yes, fiction ... but it could happen.   What if serial killers were cloned in order to study nature vs. nurture?   What if some of these teenage clones left the compound on a rampage?  A former special ops soldier is asked to track them in Cain's Blood.

S H I V E R 

That is what I did when I read Cain's Blood.   You will too.   To be honest,  parts of this book held too much horror for me, even though I enjoy reading about serial killers.  Still shuddering.

September 23, 2013

Burial Rites

Burial Rites
by Hannah Kent
published September 2013
publisher Little, Brown and Company
source:  publisher

The day after I returned home from Iceland and other countries,  I received Burial Rites.   Since the story is set in Iceland, I immediately opened this book.

The author, Hannah Kent, is a young Australian woman who traveled to Iceland as a teenage exchange-student.   She tells the true story of Agnes, a real person -- the last person executed in Iceland.

There is no jail in northern Iceland to keep Agnes before her execution, so a family is ordered to have her stay with them.    The wife Margret, says to Agnes, "I have been forced to keep you here and you ... You are forced to be kept. "

Such writing!  Descriptive.  Elegant.   You smell the body stenches,  you shiver in the cold,  you peek into the minds of the characters.   It was difficult at first to get used to the Icelandic names, however once you know the characters, you forget that difficulty.

It is so difficult to know what label to give this book:  biography, fiction, mystery.  It is neither and all.   Therefore, I added a new label:  historical fiction.

September 19, 2013

The Sensory Child Gets Organized

The Sensory Child Gets Organized
by Carolyn Dalgliesh
published September 2013
source:  Touchstone, the publisher

Some people (aka OCD) are very organized.  Some like me (messy hoarder) are not. 

Some people have a sensory processing disorder.  Statistics from the publisher:

 ·      1 in 20 kids have Sensory Processing Disorder.
·       8.6% of kids are diagnosed with AD/HD.
·       Anxiety Disorders are diagnosed in as many as 1 in 8 children.
·       Currently, 1 in 88 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
·       As many of 50% of kids with a diagnosis also live with a co-existing condition
·       Most kids receive a sensory or special-needs diagnosis between ages 3 to 10 years.
·       Many kids will not be eligible for special services and parents need help supporting day-to-day life at home.

I was eager to read the book, but ended up skimming it because (1) I'm the least organized person here  (2) I've retired from the classroom.    I have seen Dalgliesh's organizational hints in other teachers' classrooms, most specifically labeling items. 

Dalgliesh's blog has several more articles well worth reading.   Her book is recommended for parents who need organizational systems to help their children cope in the home.   Some items can be purchased at your local big-box stores.