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The Book-Addled Brain

Hello!  Welcome to my little corner of the universe.  Join me as I make my way through my infinite reading list one page at a time.

Currently reading

A Clash of Kings
George R.R. Martin
Progress: 187/1009 pages
Edith Hamilton
Progress: 85/497 pages
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Progress: 46 %
Les Miserables
Victor Hugo
Progress: 718/1463 pages

Ricki's quotes

"Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't."— Bill Nye

Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time by Rachel Bertsche

Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time - Rachel Bertsche

Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a Time by Rachel Bertsche is a very engaging, entertaining memoir of one woman's attempt to model her life after a select handful of celebrities. The author chooses to diet and exercise like Jennifer Aniston, cook like Gwyneth Paltrow, dress like Sarah Jessica Parker, work like Tina Fey, meditate like Julia Roberts, nurture a supportive, healthy marriage like Jennifer Garner, enjoy pregnancy like Jessica Alba, and be the queen of having it all like Beyoncé, in the hope that if you act like a celebrity, perhaps you'll begin to feel like a celebrity (though on a budget and minus the paparazzi). There seems to be a fine line between a healthy admiration of a celebrity as a role model and an unhealthy celebrity worship/obsession, and Bertsche toes the line in a witty, entertaining fashion. The author's experiment is very reminiscent of my favorite human guinea pig, AJ Jacobs. I look forward to reading more from Bertsche in the future, but for now I'm off to explore the world of Goop!

Disclaimer: This book has been provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick

The Early Science Fiction of Philip K. Dick - Philip K. Dick

This is a great collection of the early works Philip K. Dick, patron saint of American sci-fi.  Dick's short stories stand the test of time and are just as interesting and enjoyable in today's modern age of technology as I imagine they were when first written.  If you call yourself a fan of science fiction and you're not reading Philip K. Dick, you're doing it wrong.

Disclaimer: This book has been provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tom Gauld's cartoon for the Guardian Review

Reblogged from Maven Books

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach

I've always assumed that when I donate my body to science, my cadaver would be used for medical research.  I had no idea that I could possibly become (1) a cadaver in a med school anatomy class, (2) a human crash test dummy, (3) a faux murder victim for crime scene investigation research, (4) freeze-dried compost, (5) a plastinated specimen for the Bodyworlds exhibit, (6) a member of the Harvard Brain Bank, or (7) alas, the skull of poor Yorick on a Shakespearean stage.  Some may find the subject matter morbid, but I find it all utterly fascinating.  The author writes that the contributions made by the dead are nothing short of heroic, and I agree.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is the comedic genius behind the "Michael Scott burns his foot on a George Foreman grill while making breakfast in bed" episode of The Office.  It's one of my favorite episodes, so that alone bumps up my rating with an extra half star.  This was an amusing, quick read.  The book has a very casual tone, like Kaling is chatting with her friends.  She's a funny, talented person, and reading this makes me want to hang out with her.  If she had a blog, I'd read it.

Donate Life

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”   ---J.R.R. Tolkien



April is National Donate Life Month, and today specifically is Blue and Green Day, a day to honor and celebrate organ donation, a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  On March 29, 2012, my dad received the wonderful gift of a new set of healthy lungs, and though he ultimately lost his battle six months later, we will forever be thankful to his anonymous donor and his/her family for their generous gift of life.  My dad was a father, husband, brother, son, Paw Paw, beloved teacher, coach, and friend, and we treasure each and every extra moment we were able to spend with him.


So I urge you all to please consider becoming an organ donor and make your wishes known to your family and friends.  You never know when you'll be given the chance to give the gift of life to someone desperately in need.   



American Afterlife by Kate Sweeney

American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning - Kate  Sweeney

American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning - Kate Sweeney 


This is an absolutely fascinating and utterly engrossing exploration of American mourning customs and how they've changed through the centuries.  I for one am very grateful that we no longer make mementos of hair (just imagine wearing jewelry made of hair or hanging a hair wreath above your mantel!) or wear black crape for an extended period to help us grieve.  After reading American Afterlife, I will certainly look upon a cemetery, whether a pastoral rural graveyard or a more modern, manicured memorial park, with new insight and appreciation.

Nothing by Jeremy Webb

Nothing: From Zero to Oblivion Science at the Frontiers of Nothingness - Jeremy Webb, New Scientist

Nothing: Surprising Insights Everywhere from Zero to Oblivion - New Scientist 


Nothing explores a broad spectrum of "nothingness" from the big cosmic bang that marked the beginning of the universe to the development of zero as a mathematical concept (zero didn't exist as a number until fairly recently...this boggles my mind!).  The only thing missing is the chapter on Seinfeld, the quintessential show about nothing.

It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if you are interested in science or enjoy obscure micro histories, then you might enjoy this book.

"A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic."

Carl Sagan

Reblogged from Ned Hayes Writing

New Book Club Pick

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch: A Novel - Donna Tartt 


I'm not quite a third of the way through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but my library loan expires tomorrow and I'm fourth in line to get it again, so it looks like I'll be starting The Goldfinch soon.  I've heard lots of rave reviews for this one, and the people in book club who have already started it are saying good things, so bring it on!

Source: http://wordpainting.tumblr.com/post/50417965812/reading-is-a-force-itself-so-just-read

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian - Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir has Hollywood summer blockbuster written all over it.  It features a fascinating extraterrestrial setting and one of the most engaging main characters I've encountered in a good while.  Astronaut Mark Watney is brilliant, funny, extremely clever, calm and cool in the face of danger...he's MacGyver on Mars.  When a dust storm disrupts the first Martian mission and forces his crew to leave him behind on the surface of Mars, he must find a way to survive against seemingly impossible odds.  The Martian is chock-full of science, space, suspense, and survival, and I loved every word. 



Disclaimer: This book has been provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/303852306081445205
Reblogged from Starry Reads
Reblogged from Karen's books

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

This one got off to a slow start and as a result felt a tad bit too long, but the final 1/3 of the book was amazing.  If Rowling had cut out the uninteresting Quidditch World Cup, the plight of house elves, and the Yule Ball and focused mainly on the Triwizard Tournament, this would have been a 5 star book all around.