Tag Archives: cancer

Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle

This is the fourth and final of L’Engle’s Crosswick Journals. I skipped the third one (The Irrational Season) because it focuses on L’Engle’s relationship to Christianity, and I’m just not interested in that topic, even if it is L’Engle writing.

Published: 1988

Genre: nonfiction memoir

Length: 232 pages

Setting: Crosswicks in 1987, NYC in the 1960s Continue reading

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The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

I’ve heard good things about this book, but have been reluctant to read it because I knew it was about a kid dying of cancer. I’m still a bit sensitive to a plot revolving around dying of cancer, having been diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. However, I convinced Mr. Curiosity to read it (after he loved Eleanor and Park). As soon as he finished, he plopped the book in my lap and told me he’d found my next book. I try to respect his suggestions and read it on his recommendation.

Published: 2012

Genre: YA fiction

Length: 313 pages

Setting: generic U.S. city, present day Continue reading

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Zebrafish by Sharon Emerson

I must have seen this book reviewed somewhere recently, and liked the premise enough to immediately put the book on hold at the library.

Artist: Renee Kurilla

Published: 2010

Genre: children’s realistic fiction graphic novel

Length: 120 pages

Setting: a generic University town, present day Continue reading

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The Cancer Chronicles by George Johnson

I’m adding a new category to my book reviews. I always love the little paragraph about the particular font chosen for a book you find in some books. I don’t know that I can see the characteristics that are described, but it’s fun nonetheless. I’ve decided to start sharing the font used if the information is provided in a book. Anyways, on to the book review!

Subtitle: Unlocking Medicine’s Deepest Mystery

Published: 2013

Genre: nonfiction science

Length: 204 pages of story, 284 pages with index and notes

Font: Adobe Garamond

Interest: The author was interviews on a Quirks and Quarks podcast. I perk up my ears any time cancer is discussed and the book sounded interesting, so I put it on my reading list.

Summary: George’s wife, Nancy, was diagnosed with and died of uterine cancer. That sent him on a journey to better understand the biology of cancer and its treatment. He starts out with fossil evidence of cancer in animals and humans, and looks at what causes cancer. Beyond a few major causes, like tobacco and obesity, we usually don’t know that cause of cancer. From there, he discusses cancer before modern medicine and what we understand about cancer today, in terms of both its causes and its physiology. Finally, he discusses the details of chemo and radiation. Throughout the scientific evidence he’s presenting, he also weaves the story of his wife’s cancer.

Final thoughts: This was a thought-provoking book that I had to take notes on, like the following:

How much easier cancer would be if it were obviously driven by chemical contaminants. Instead there is a muddle of many little influences. High among hem is entropy – the natural tendency of the world toward disorder. Of the multiple mutations it takes to start a cancer there is no way to know which was caused by what. Or, in the case of spontaneous mutations – copying errors – if there was any cause at all. p. 108

With every division [of our cells] there are imperfections. That is the nature of living in a universe dominated by entropy… If we lived long enough, Weinberg observes, we all would eventually get cancer. That doesn’t mean that we can’t reduce the odds, even if only modestly, that we will get cancer before something else kills us. But genetic errors are inevitable and necessary for us to evolve. p. 186

Nothing too earth-shattering, although it did removed all traces of guilt that I did something wrong to cause my breast cancer. I also found some of his tangents, like looking for tumors in dinosaur bones or going to cancer conferences, to be quite fascinating. By including his wife’s story throughout the book, it did keep the book grounded in humanity. There were a couple of times I had to take a short break from the book because it was talking about dying of cancer (which happens a lot, I know, but I don’t want to think about).

Title comes from: It’s descriptive of the subject.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 19/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and a C in the Alphabet Soup Title Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or subtitle to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr

Crazy, Sexy Cancer TipsPublished: 2007

Genre: nonfiction self-help

Length: 203 pages

Interest: It was recommended by some of the ladies at the last Linked by Pink meeting I went to.

Summary: The book is a combination memoir of Carr’s life with cancer and a collection of tips for living with and beyond cancer. There are tips for being diagnosed with cancer, how to deal with getting doctors and treatment, as well as diet and fashion tips. There are also stories from other cancer survivors interspersed with Carr’s story.

Final thoughts: This really is an irreverent book about living with cancer (the author’s cancer is untreatable but stable). I enjoyed the tone of the book and need to go back and write down some of the tips so I don’t forget them. The only place it got a little weird was in the diet section. Carr advocated a mostly raw food diet with regular colonic cleanses. I started to ignore her advice when she began talking about water molecules that have been treated to make them smaller. I’m sorry, but that level of non-science means I have to figure the entire chapter is just a bunch of woo. Oh well. The other chapters are still worth reading!

Title comes from: It tells you what the book is about in the irreverent tone of the book.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 72/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge, a C in A-Z Reading Challenge, starting my author challenge (1/26), and 13/14 in the Nerdy Nonfiction Challenge for self-help (a seventh category).

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