Archive for August, 2012

Having trouble keeping whose who straight in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”? The book’s official website has a listed all the people in the book; broken down by Henrietta’s immediate family, extended family; along with the medical community. It’s a PDF file named “Cast of Characters,”  you can find here : http://rebeccaskloot.com/the-immortal-life/teaching/


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On page 33 of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” the author describes the treatment that Henrietta received for cervical cancer. In the early 1950s, as the book stats, John “Hopkins had been using radium to treat cervical cancer since the early 1900s” and that “The morning of Henrietta’s first treatment, a taxi driver picked up a doctors bag filled with thick glass tubes of radium from a clinic across town. The tubes where tucked into individual slots inside small canvas pouches hand-sewn by a local Balitmore woman. The puoches were called Brack plauqes, after the Hopkins doctor who invented them and oversaw Henrietta’s radium treatment,” (page 32). As radium treatment, Henrietta had a tube filled with radium sewn inside her body.

A Google search of “Radium Tube Inserts 1950s” brought up this website; http://www.orau.org/ptp/collection/brachytherapy which has information and images about radium tube treatment from that time.

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Have you ever felt so strongly about a book or author, that you wanted to run away from your own life for a little bit and into their world? Find out what happens when a teenage boy ran away from home to his favorite author’s house by taking a listen to the radio program This American Life and their episode entitled “Show Me The Way.” You can listen to it here.

Radio program This American Life airs a true tale of a fan running away to an author’s home

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Alex made cupcakes for the discussion of Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

On Monday, August 6 at 11:00 am Booked for the Day discussed the novel “Room: A Novel” by Emma Donoghue. Given the subject matter – the book is told from the perspective of five-year-old Jack whose mother Ma is the victim of a kidnapping and has been in “Room” for the eight years – it was hard for anyone to say they “liked” the book, or would flat out recommend it to others. Everyone agreed it was certainly not a typical beach-read/vacation book. However, most everyone agreed that it was well written; some even noted that they were thinking about the book even when were not reading it. Other also admitted though that had the book not been something they were reading for book club to discuss, that they were not sure they would have finished the novel.

Many agreed that it was hard to get used to Jack’s narrative and perspective. Some found it frustrating that he had such a great vocabulary most of the time, but did not at other times. It was pointed out though that most of the times where Jack’s grammar was not well, that it was internal thoughts – which Ma could not correct for him.

There was much discussion of some of the well-known kidnapping and captivity cases that have been in the news. In particular the case of Natascha Kampusch in Austria, and Jaycee Lee Duggard in California. To learn more about author Emma Donoghue’s writing of “Room” be sure to check out the book’s website.

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We will be discussing “Room” by Emma Donoghue tomorrow, Monday August 6 in the meeting room of the library. Hope to see you there!

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